Injury-depleted Everton will be looking for a chance to get back up on their feet after consecutive Premier League defeats as they prepare for a trip to Italy where they will face Serie A outfit Atalanta at the beginning of the new Europa League season.
Can Atalanta repeat last season’s heroics?
They were one of the biggest surprise packages in last season’s edition of Serie A, having finished in fourth place behind the likes of Napoli, AS Roma and champions Juventus, but Atalanta now face a real test of their qualities as they step on the European stage for the first time since 1990/91. Led by the experienced tactician Gian Piero Gasperini, La Dea have been transformed into an exciting side which plays greatly effective football. Atalanta boast a rather youthful squad and have a string of highly-talented players within their ranks, some of which were sold during the summer however. It remains to be seen whether Andrea Conti, Franck Kessie and Alessandro Bastoni as some of the most prominent first-team members from last season will be missed. The club did great to replace their star players with quality signings such as Marten de Roon, Josip Ilicic, Timothy Castagne and Jose Luis Palomino among others. La Dea, however, did not have the best of starts to the new season as they suffered back-to-back defeats to AS Roma and Napoli, before getting back up on their feet with a 2-1 win over Sassuolo last time out. They will lack no motivation against Everton on Thursday and have to be taken seriously.
Gian Piero Gasperini will have no major selection issues for the Everton clash as he’s only without midfielder Leonardo Spinazzola who is suffering from an ankle injury.
What’s happened to Everton?
After a summer of great excitement in the transfer window, things are not going according to plan at Everton. The Toffees boosted their ranks with Sunderland goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, Burnley defender Michael Keane, Ajax midfielder Davy Klassen, Malaga forward Sandro Ramirez, Swansea attacking midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson and brought back the club legend Wayne Rooney from Manchester United is what definitely accounts for a successful business record. They did end up losing their top scorer Romelu Lukaku to Manchester United and from what can be currently seen the Belgian’s absence in attack is where the biggest problem lies. Everton scored paltry two goals in four Premier League matches at the start of the new season, whereas their European exploits haven’t exactly been as effective as desired and expected. Having failed to score a single goal against Chelsea and Tottenham, respectively, the Toffees will be looking to break the duck and restore the scoring form which would come as a huge encouragement ahead of new challenges this season. Wayne Rooney is definitely expected to help in that regard and move away from the drink driving scandal he got involved recently.
Ronald Koeman has a long list of absentees for the Atalanta match with Ross Barkley, Yannick Bolasie, Seamus Coleman and Ramiro Mori all ruled out through injury. James McCarthy is nearing full fitness but the trip to Italy might be coming a bit too early for the Everton midfielder.
Under the normal circumstances Everton would be considered clear-cut favourites to beat Atalanta, but the Italians are definitely no pushovers in this match. What is more, with a discouraging start to the season the Toffees will have to be taken with a pinch of salt and the best advice we can give you for this match is to consider betting on goals.
Top pick: Under 2.5 goals 1.68 (13/9) @Unibet
Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score – No 2.00 (1/1) @BetVictor
Alternative pick 2: Draw 3.30 (23/10) @Bet365