The opportunity to compete for continental honours is a luxury most clubs, aside from those belonging to the top tier’s elect, will scarcely sample.
For some, such as Swansea last year and Newcastle before them, when the chance does come around, European competition proves a distraction, while for others, like Aston Villa in 2009/10, the prospect of playing in Macedonia and Kazakhstan overwhelms, resulting in early-stage catastrophe.
Given Everton are forever loitering outside the Premier League’s top four like a gaggle of unruly teens patrolling an off license, they should be better suited than most to dealing with these passport-required excursions.
But their dismal track record in the Europa League suggests the contrary, which undermines their 21/10 favouritism ahead of Wolfsburg’s visit this evening.
By contrast, few arguments can be made regarding the Bundesliga-based outfit’s 5/2 for victory.
The Toffees were condemned to the continent’s consolation competition after famously making a hash of their Champions League play-off with Villarreal in 2004/05 and were ejected in the first round by Dinamo Bucharest after a 5-1 first-leg disaster class.
They could only draw 1-1 with Metalist Kharkiv in the first round of their 2007/08 foray, while they were knocked out over two legs by Standard Liege a year later.
Roberto Martinez’s cosmopolitan way of playing the game may well mean they’re better prepared to tackle foes from abroad this time around, but the Merseysiders’ league form in the early exchanges is far from encouraging.
Imperious is the worst way to describe an opening quartet of fixtures that have yielded just one win against a hapless West Brom side.
Goals have been guaranteed in these early outings, though, with Everton notching at least twice in all four instances.
Wolfsburg are without a win from their first three league matches, but they haven’t failed to find the net either, even breaching the near-impermeable Bayern Munchen backline in this short spell.
Combining Everton’s European misdemeanours and the pair’s tendency to fill the onion bag, backing the visitors in tandem with both teams to score pays out a beefy 6/1 and can’t be ignored.