Monday, August 21, 2017

Prediction: Ruzomberok vs Everton

Verdict: Both teams to score – no

Best Odds: 13/20

Bookmaker: William Hill

Premier League side Everton travel to Slovakia carrying a one-goal lead from the first leg of the Europa League qualifier against Ruzomberok. The tie is far from being over and Ronald Koeman’s men need to be on their toes and on top of their game in order to progress through.

Ruzomberok

Traditionally perceived as a Slovakian mid-table side, Ruzomberok are coming off from a successful season which saw them finish in third place. Currently the only Slovakian side in European competitions, Ruzomberok have been given a stern test to their strength and ambition with Premier League side Everton, but Norbert Hrncar’s men are set to welcome the English side with an active result. Having suffered a 1-0 defeat at Goodison, Ruzomberok are still very much in the game as an early goal from the hosts would disrupt the balance and leave the fixture pretty much open. The hosts will have around 5,000 people supporting them from their home stadium in Ruzomberok as the club opted against moving the return fixture to Zilina or Trnava where they would get a much bigger backing. Ruzomberok are well aware of Everton’s power but will nevertheless look to catch the Englishmen off guard. Getting a draw from the return leg would be a great result, but we’ve seen stranger things happen in life and Everton need to be careful nevertheless most of all given the fact that Ruzomberok bounced back from the first-leg defeat with a compelling 4-0 win over Senica.  

Team News

Ruzomberok have been dealt a huge blow by the departure of their key striker Jakub Mares who moved to Slovan Bratislava during summer.

The hosts have no selection issues, but an eye should be kept on an exciting centre-back talent Dominik Kruzilak.

Everton

The Toffees have been one of the most active Premier League sides in the summer transfer window boosting their squad with a number of high-profile signings that are expected to raise the quality of Ronald Koeman’s team. The return of Wayne Rooney sticks out as the most notable piece of business and former Manchester United forward’s experience and quality is undoubtedly of great value to up-and-coming Everton side. The Toffees will need a bit time to gel in nicely and the first leg against Ruzomberok showed that Everton’s legs are still heavy from the preseason. Koeman’s men struggled for much of their Europa League opener, but Leighton Baines’ long-range deflected strike earned Everton a vital win ahead of the return leg. Sandro Ramirez, Davy Klassen and Michael Keane all made competitive debuts for the club, showing glimpses of great promise to Everton fans. Leighton Baines was the standout performer and is expected to lead the way once again in Slovakia.

Team News

Wantaway midfielder Ross Barkley did not travel to Slovakia due to a groin injury, whereas Seamus Coleman is still nursing his broken leg.

Defender Ramiro Mori is another unavailable Everton player for the test in Ruzomberok.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Ruzomberok lost only 3 of their last 15 home matches
  • Everton won only 2 of their last 10 matches on the road
  • The Toffees have gone through the preseason unbeaten
  • Ruzomberok are coming off from a 4-0 domestic win
  • Everton brought seven new players during summer transfer window

Conclusion

Difference in quality between the two sides is too big to ignore and Everton are duly expected to make a point out of it in Ruzomberok. Ronald Koeman’s men are getting better with each preseason game and will be expected to push their game up a notch which will be more than enough to dispatch the Slovakian side. Away win is on the cards here but the goals could provide a better value bet.

Verdict: Both teams to score – no

Best Odds: 13/20

Bookmaker: William Hill

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