Everton v Olympique Lyonnaise

Everton have another more than welcome stop gap in Premier League action after scrambling a disappointing last gasp draw in Brighton.

Unfortunately for the Blues, the break is to accommodate the UEFA Europa League, where their form has been equally grim.

Deep wounds from that 3-0 defeat to Italian side Atalanta in game one of the tournament have yet to heal for Ronald Koeman’s side.

And a late equaliser at Goodison for Cypriot minnows Apollon Limassol last time out only made things worse.

So, with exit staring Everton in the face, the meeting with French side Lyon has turned into a must-win game if the Blues have any hope of qualifying for the next round.

Lyon are the hosts of this season’s final, so they will be hoping to make the cut and have home advantage on their side come May 16.

But with only the two points from two fixtures for OL, the group is wide open. A massive bonus for the so far struggling Blues.

Lyon are currently sitting sixth place in Ligue 1, picking up 16 points from nine games. But they will be disappointed to not be bettering or at least matching their fourth-place finish last term.

Their most recent set of points came against Champions Monaco, a dramatic 3-2 victory that involved a 95th minute winner from Nabil Fekir.

The win on Friday evening will work wonders for Lyon in terms of confidence going into the L4 bout, a first victory for Les Gones in over a month in any competition.

Plus, the two extra recovery days over their Merseyside opponents will go a long way, too.

Ones to watch –

Dominican Republic international Mariano has found his feet after leaving footballing giants Real Madrid for France this summer.

The Spanish born striker boasts an impressive seven goals in nine league outings for Lyon and with the way Everton’s defence has played this campaign, he will fancy himself to better an already top-notch scoring record.

Influential captain and France attacking midfielder Fekir is in the goal scoring form of his career, already halfway towards matching last year’s total of 14 goals, having played 38 fewer games.

And after the two he bagged against Monaco he will fancy himself against a lame Blues backline.

But enough about that lot.

Everyone came through unscathed against a less than inspiring 1-1 draw at the Amex.

So, Ronald Koeman has the same options (minus Oumar Niasse, of course) at his disposal as he did at the weekend.

Here’s hoping the Dutchman uses what he has got in a correct manner. We can all dream, can’t we?

Thursday marks the beginning of a tough set of fixtures, and if the Blues stand a chance of picking anything up from them, then momentum is key.

And there is no better time than the present to start building just that.

Up the Toffees.

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