Weblog: The football punter

Lyon to test Everton defensively

Europa League
BT Sport 2, 8.05pm Thursday

Everton started the season with four consecutive wins to nil but that ruthless run is already a distant memory for Ronald Koeman's men.

The Toffees have won just two of their subsequent 11 matches - an EFL Cup victory over second-tier Sunderland and a late comeback win at home to struggling Bournemouth.

They flopped as hot favourites in their last two games at Goodison Park, drawing 2-2 with Apollon Limassol in the Europa League and losing 1-0 to Burnley in the Premier League, while they needed a late penalty from Wayne Rooney to secure a point at Brighton last weekend.

Everton were hammered 3-0 by Atalanta in their first Europa League group game and things may not improve against a classy Lyon side whose stadium hosts the competition's final in May.

Lyon would dearly love to get that far but they are also under pressure after a pair of frustrating 1-1 draws with Limassol and Atalanta.

The French raiders beat Monaco 3-2 in Ligue 1 last Friday and, despite the likely absence of joint-top scorer Mariano Diaz, they can contribute to another high-scoring game.

Lyon's first nine league results this term include three 3-3 draws, a 4-0 win over Strasbourg, and the five-goal thriller against Monaco, so over 2.5 goals looks a solid bet.

Both teams are bidding for a first win in Group E and, while Lyon's defence is far from secure, the visitors can trouble an Everton rearguard who conceded three times at home to Tottenham and four at Manchester United last month.

Over 2.5 goals

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Match in Focus

18:00 TODAY BT2

Cologne v Arsenal

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • Cologne are bottom of the Bundesliga with two points
Expert verdict
Arsene Wenger has sent out his reserve players throughout this Europa League campaign and that's unlikely to change now Arsenal have secured their spot in the last 32. Cologne are having a shocking season so even a makeshift Gunners outfit could come out on top and Alex Iwobi, fresh from a double for Nigeria against Argentina, can notch first.