The Blues travel to Slovakia in the 2nd leg of the Europa league 3rd qualifying round. The loser of this is out of the competition.
Everton faced Ružomberok last Thursday night, in what turned out to be, a tough encounter. Combine Everton’s relatively short preseason owing to a few players not being match fit and the oppositions dogged defensive effort, it came as a shock to some that Everton could only manage a 1-0 victory in their home leg of the tie.
The first goal on Thursday evening is crucial to both teams. If Ružomberok can muster up the first of the evening then Everton have it all to do, with 4,000 Slovakian’s on their back and nerves kicking in, it won’t be an easy task to accomplish.
Ružomberok have provided enough evidence in the first leg to show their main threat comes from set pieces and potentially a counter attack through their left winger (Wearing shirt no.7) Péter Gál-Andrezly. The Slovaks also made a point of man marking Wayne Rooney out of the game, covering him with both centre backs and a holding midfielder, although this became harder when Sandro Ramirez came on as a second half sub for the Toffees.
Everton must look to find themselves an early goal, the first 10 minutes is crucial. Allow the home team to settle into their rhythm and it might not be a pleasant ending to the evening come 9:30pm GMT. It is important Everton counter Ružomberok’s defensive setup with an extra attacker to partner Rooney. Sandro Ramirez had a big effect on the game last Thursday when he entered the fray as a sub, a start for the Spaniard is a must.