Sheffield United’s visit to Everton for a Carling Cup second-round clash provides the Goodison faithful with a timely reminder of the dangers of Premier League complacency.
The Blades have plummeted down two divisions since these teams last met four years ago and, having been managed by five different managers over the course of the last year, any sense of direction at the club has been lost.
Everton’s failure to bring in fresh faces over the summer has led to concerns being voiced that they could follow a similar route.
Indeed, defeat to Premier League new-boys QPR at the weekend added further misery to the club in a week where it saw its future transfers hindered by the capping of its overdraft at £25 million.
Toffees boss David Moyes will be looking for a much-needed morale boost before a tough October which sees them face Manchester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and rivals Liverpool.
With this in mind, it is likely that he will field a relatively strong side, so three-way football betting odds of 21/50 for Everton to win appear to represent a sensible punt.
The Toffees’ 2010-11 Carling Cup campaign was brought to an abrupt end by Brentford, so they are fully aware of the perils of underestimating League One sides in this competition.
Nevertheless, with Marouane Fellaini and Mikel Arteta poised to play a greater part in this match than at the weekend, quality supply for the front men will be guaranteed. Odds of 31/20 on three or more Everton goals are therefore particularly enticing.
Having said that, Sheffield United have enjoyed a positive start to life in League One, winning their first three games and letting in only three in the process.
With outsider three-way odds of 13/2 for the Blades to progress to round three, new bwin punters who opt to use their £25 free bet on this will win £187.50 if they pull off the upset.
And with key players such as Richard Cresswell – scorer of three of his side’s eight goals in four games – in their squad, it would not come as a surprise if they managed to hit the net during the match, with bwin offering odds of 31/20 on this outcome.
Perspective is, of course, important. Sheffield United are undoubtedly League One heavyweights, but as a team they lack experience against Premier League sides.
Everton have certainly had a frustrating start to the season, with their opening game against Tottenham being delayed in the wake of the London riots and then that shock reverse to QPR.
However, they still possess an array of quality top-flight players, and it is this experience that will see them progress through to round three tonight.
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