Lyon v Everton
Thursday November 02, 18:00
Live on BT Sport 2
Lyon on the charge after astute summer signings
Lyon are masters of smart recruitment, developing youngsters and picking up players with potential that haven't quite made their mark at other clubs. Bertrand Traore, who scored the winner at Goodison Park against Everton on Matchday Three, is a good example. Chelsea couldn't find room for him in their squad, despite his sparkling loan spell at Ajax, so OL swooped in. President Jean-Michel Aulas is one of the shrewdest operators in the business, and one of the toughest negotiators.
Despite the loss of star players Alexandre Lacazette, Corentin Tolisso and Maxime Gonalons over the summer, Lyon are in decent shape. They have put together a seven-match unbeaten run in all competitions, and they have won their last four matches, scoring 12 goals in the process. They are second in this section behind group leaders Atalanta, but another win against Everton would put them well on their way to the last 32.
Skipper Nabil Fekir continues to shine. He scored both goals in the weekend's 2-0 win over Metz in Ligue 1, and now has five goals in his last four appearances. Memphis Depay is also looking sharp, having bagged a lovely hat-trick at Troyes recently. With former Real Madrid striker Mariano Diaz available after missing the game at Goodison, Lyon have the potential to field an explosive attacking line-up.
Everton in limbo as they drift towards disaster
There was plenty of pre-season optimism amongst Everton fans, who believed that extensive summer spending could help coach Ronald Koeman build on last season's impressive seventh-placed finish. However, the loss of regular goalscorer Romelu Lukaku wasn't adequately addressed, and Koeman has admitted that his failure to persuade Arsenal's Olivier Giroud to join his cause proved costly.
Koeman made that statement about Giroud as an ex-Everton manager, having been sacked after a dreadful start to the campaign. Caretaker boss David Unsworth clearly cares deeply about the club (he played hundreds of games for them after coming through the youth system), but he has overseen defeats to Chelsea and Leicester. Unsworth has managed to get his players operating at a higher tempo, but senior players continue to make unforgivable errors, especially in defence.
James McCarthy is thought to be back on the injured list after picking up a knock, while an infection has sidelined centre-back Michael Keane.
Lyon likely to deepen Everton's gloom
Everton have lost five of their last six matches in all competitions, and they are showing few signs of improvement under Unsworth. Lyon are on a roll, scoring plenty of goals and playing with confidence. OL won't lack motivation - the reverse fixture on Merseyside was a bad-tempered affair, and Lyon know a victory will move them a lot closer to qualification.
Lyon are 1.52 favourites here, and rightly so.
Everton's leaky defence could be in trouble again
Everton have shipped at least two goals in each of their last four games, and in their last 13 outings, they've let in an eye-watering 28 goals. All three of their Europa League games have featured three goals or more, and Over 2.5 Goals is trading at 1.64.
I'm happy to use the Betfair Sportsbook here and go for a Lyon/Over 2.5 Goals double at 6/5.
Back Lyon/Over 2.5 Goal