Everton v Lille: Goodison factor can help the home side nick it

Everton's home record under Roberto Martinez is strong
Everton's home record under Roberto Martinez is strong
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Everton have made a solid start to the Europa League group stage, and Kevin Hatchard believes they can edge a tight encounter against Lille at Goodison Park...

"Everton's overall home record under Roberto Martinez is very strong, there will be a raucous crowd at Goodison, and Lille haven't won any of their last six matches."

Back Everton to win at 1.834/5

Everton v Lille
Thursday November 06, 20:05
Live on ITV4

Given their lack of European experience as a unit, Everton have done a fine job in the Europa League so far. They made a flying start with a 4-1 hammering of a shell-shocked Wolfsburg, and followed that result with creditable draws away to Krasnodar and Lille. Indeed, had the Toffees made the most of their chances in Russia and France, they could be in an even better position.

The group is incredibly tight at the halfway point, with Everton leading the way on five points, Wolfsburg on four, Lille on three and Krasnodar on two. A win against Lille at Goodison would give Roberto Martinez' men some much-needed breathing space, especially with a daunting trip to Wolfsburg on the horizon.

The Goodison Park factor was very much in evidence in that 4-1 win over Wolfsburg, and I expect another raucous atmosphere for this one. European home games have been a scarce commodity in the blue half of Merseyside in recent years, so everyone at the club from Martinez downwards will treat the match with the utmost seriousness.

Everton's home form has been patchy this term, with just two wins out of six, but there are a couple of caveats to consider. First is the quality of opposition, as both Arsenal and Chelsea have been to Goodison this term, and second is Everton's overall home record since Martinez took the reins. I've been trawling through the home results, and under the affable Spaniard Everton have racked up 18 home wins in 28 games, drawing five and losing five.

Lille have struggled to recapture the form of last season, and they have won just five of their 19 matches in all competitions this term. They are in the middle of a six-match winless run, and they haven't won away from home since mid-August. While Rene Girard's side are tough to break down (they have already kept eight clean sheets), they are weak in attack, and have scored more than once in a match just three times this term. On-loan Liverpool striker Divock Origi is their top scorer with a paltry four goals, and they have missed Salamon Kalou since the Ivorian's switch to Hertha Berlin.

Everton have problems in defence, with Antolin Alcaraz the latest injury victim. Sylvain Distin is likely to be recalled, despite a dip in form for the veteran, as that will free up Gareth Barry to play in midfield. Lille will look to dig in and frustrate, so Martinez could give the nod to rising star Ross Barkley, who is capable of creating vital space in opposing defences. Martinez has a number of exciting striking options, with Romelu Lukaku, Samuel Eto'o and Steven Naismith all capable of netting a winner in a tight tussle.

With Lille not scoring many goals but not conceding too many either, it is worth a dart at backing Under 2.5 Goals at 1.824/5, especially as eight of the French outfit's last ten games have featured fewer than three goals. I also like the look of backing No in the Both Teams To Score market at 1.8910/11, as it has paid out in 13 of Lille's 19 games, and three of Everton's last four.

It could well be a close game, but with Goodison rocking and matchwinners and their disposal, I'm confident the home side can nick it. 1.834/5 is a reasonable price for the home win.

Recommended Bets
Back Everton to win at 1.834/5
Back No in the Both Teams To Score market at 1.8910/11

2014/15 Europa League P/L (1pt per bet)

Points Staked: 30

Points Returned: 36.17

P/L: +6.17 points

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