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Everton vs Dynamo Kiev: Europa League Last 16 Preview

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Roberto Martinez faces a tough decision whether to take the competition seriously at Goodison Park...

Gareth Copley/Getty Images

When and Where: March 12,  20.00 GMT, Goodison Park

Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo

Everton face Dynamo Kiev in the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday night. Manager Roberto Martinez will face a tough decision on whether to play a full strength side after admitting the team are in a relegation fight in the Premier League.

Team News:

Five players are expected to miss the match through injury. Leighton Baines is unlikely to be risked, and with Bryan Oviedo still on the sidelines this means Luke Garbutt will get to continue impressing at left back. Tony Hibbert, Steven Pienaar, and Aiden McGeady also won't make it back in time for the match. Perhaps more worryingly is that John Stones is being monitored after suffering from a virus. On a brighter note, Leon Osman may get more time on the pitch following his substitute appearance on the weekend and Christian Atsu may make the squad.

The Opposition:

There is some good news here, with three key players suspended for the Ukrainian club. Top scorer Andriy Yarmolenko as well as Younes Belhanda and Sergei Rybalka will all miss the match. This game will be all about taking advantage of this before the away leg next week, with Dynamo known for their great home record.

What To Watch For:

The biggest thing to look out for is how strong the starting XI is. With Martinez admitting the trouble we're in in the league it will be interesting to see if he continues to take this competition as seriously ahead of a big home match against Newcastle United on Sunday. Arouna Kone, Antolin Alcaraz, and Christian Atsu could all feature if he chooses to rest players.

With Kiev struggling to beat mid table Ligue 1 side Guingamp in the last 32, if we continue our Europa League form we should be able to get a healthy lead before the away leg. However, the Blues do need to be careful to not be too attacking. Our best performances this season have come when we have played on the counter and this may be a better way to approach the fixture.

Lastly this could be yet another chance for certain players to find some form. Romelu Lukaku, Ross Barkley, and others have all looked off the pace in the last couple of matches, and this could be a good time for them to exorcise some demons. However, we've looked great all through Europe and it has made no difference domestically, so who knows if it will the time.

The Final Word:

If the Toffees want to get through to the quarter finals and really start dreaming about winning the competition then we probably need to take a lead to the away leg. Not conceding would also be nice, but with our defence that's about as likely as Lionel Messi deciding to end his career at Goodison park. So I'll call a 3-1 victory, and our baffling European form to continue.