The debacle in France three weeks ago which saw Everton painfully crash out of the Europa League at the hands of Lyon is still fresh in the minds of Evertonians.
An early exit in the group stages means a blushing Everton must play two of the most irrelevant fixtures in the club’s history, starting with Atalanta at Goodison.
It was the opening game of the group on Italian soil which set the tone for such a disastrous European campaign, with the Toffees going down 3-0 at the Mapei Stadium.
Atalanta haven’t won a game in any competition since late October, and with two draws and two losses in their last four outings they are not in their best form.
At the weekend La Dea were downed by a Mauro Icardi double at the San Siro, leaving them 12th in Serie A.
Who are the visitors’ dangermen?
After their showing in the first meeting it is more of a case who isn’t, with even 31-year-old defender Andrea Masiello posing threats to the Blues, and eventually firing past Maarten Stekelenburg to make it 1-0.
Another scorer that day, who ran Everton ragged, was influential captain Alejandro Gomez, the 5ft5 Argentine’s speed, trickery and excellent eye for a goal proved to be a massive factor in the Italians’ win back in September.
Atalanta have no injury concerns for the clash, coming into it full strength trying to secure top spot in Group E.
There is no Oumar Niasse for Everton in this one, with the suspended Morgan Schneiderlin joining him on the side-lines, and other than the usual absentees, there are no fresh injury concerns for the Blues.
So, it is a case of playing for a bit of pride and not going out on an embarrassing one point.
This one could be a massive chance for three players who have hardly had a sniff under David Unsworth…
Sandro Ramirez, Davy Klaassen and Nikola Vlasic – if selected, of course – will be desperate to impress and get their stagnated season back up and running.
And Everton, will be looking to build some momentum as they look ahead to the stuff that matters, pushing up the Premier League ladder.
Up the Toffees.