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Europa League: Young Boys vs Everton

Young Boys vs Everton

Everton will hope to recapture their form in Europe when they resume their Europa League campaign with a round of 32 first-leg encounter with Young Boys at Stade de Suisse in Bern on Thursday.

They are way off-pace from their initial domestic plans of a top-four finish as they currently sit in the bottom-half of the Premier League table with almost 20 points separating them from Champions League places. The Toffees are also struggling for league form, with just one win in six games.

Their frustrating domestic campaign is in stark contrast to their Europa League form. They lost just once in the group stages en route to winning Group H ahead of the likes of Wolfsburg, FC Krasnodar and Lille.

Roberto Martinez will no doubt be throwing everything Everton have into this competition as it represents the Toffees’ biggest chance of both finishing the season with silverware and qualifying for Champions League.

Young Boys can relate to Everton’s contrasting fortunes as they are also struggling for consistency having won just twice in their last six games in all competitions. Like Everton, they had an impressive run in the group stages winning seven of their 10 group games before finishing as runners-up behind Napoli.

The Swiss Super League outfit also boast a strong home record in Europe thanks to seven wins in their last seven matches at the Stade de Suisse. They have also scored 13 goals and conceded once on home turf in Europe this season.

Uli Forte could set his side up in a 4-2-3-1 formation with top goalscorer Guillaume Hoarau leading the attack. Yuya Kubo could start in a deeper role as an attacking midfielder alongside Florent Hadergjonaj and Renato Steffen.

Milan Gajic and Sekou Sanogo Junior may be the holding midfielders in that formation.

Bryan Oviedo should continue to deputise at left-back in the absence of Baines while Gareth Barry may start in central midfield alongside Muhamed Besic as the two holding midfielders in a similar 4-2-3-1 formation for the Toffees.

In forward positions, Ross Barkley could start in the number 10 role with Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith flanking the England international in forming the three attacking midfielders behind Romelu Lukaku.

Everton have markedly improved their defensive performance in recent games, including their 1-0 defeat by Chelsea when they probably deserved to leave Stamford Bridge with something from the game.

They may need a similarly solid defensive performance with numbers behind the ball when defending. Everton also have a couple of decent technicians in possession so they may attempt to lower the tempo of the game through ball retention in certain periods of the game.

Tags: Everton | soccer | UEFA Europa League | Young Boys

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