Touch of Martinez magic can cast Everton spell on Wolfsburg
Belief in Roberto Martinez around Everton is over-subscribed. It was a sensational start to life at Goodison Park for the former Wigan Athletic manager. The Toffees pushed Arsenal all the way for a fourth place finish, falling short with just a few games remaining to finish in fifth.
Martinez had vowed to get top four for chairman Bill Kenwright, publicly, in a press conference, though for the record never set a time-frame in which to achieve it. There is no doubt falling short of immediately getting there has been forgiven.
To entertain the likes of former Bundesliga winners Wolfsburg and recent French champions Lille on a Thursday evening, will be an occasion the manager will relish, and those are just for starters. Everton’s first group game is against the German side at Goodison, and the are 11/10 with Coral to win.
There is no doubt that the Spanish manager will take the competition seriously; he will share Atletico Madrid’s philosophy, that this a tournament worth paying the utmost respect to.
Having recruited well in pre-season, Everton now have a squad capable of moving to the next level. Securing the services of Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku on a permanent basis will prove pivotal following an encouraging campaign on loan, and he is just starting to get into his groove. He is 5/1 to open the scoring against Wolfsburg, and add to his first goal for the campaign against West Brom last time out.
Many were wondering just why Martinez snapped up Samuel Eto’o on a free transfer, but his experience in Europe will be invaluable for the Merseyside outfit. Having won the Champions League twice with Barcelona, then again with Inter Milan under Jose Mourinho, the former Cameroon international still knows where the goal is, despite being 33 years old, and is 5/1 to net last.
Wolfsburg, 2/1 to win, meanwhile, are no fools. Croatia forward Ivica Olic has a vast amount of experience, and will be a handful for Everton’s rearguard. He is 13/2 to net first at Goodison Park, while former Chelsea player Kevin de Bruyne is 10/3 to score anytime.
Brazil international Luiz Gustavo will be the man holding the visitors’ midfield together, attempting to stifle the likes of Steven Naismith and Kevin Mirallas; while ex-Arsenal striker Niklas Bendtner could partner Olic in attack. He is 2/1 to mark his albeit very brief return to England with a goal anytime.