Toffees face sticky start in Italy

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The Europa League group stages kick off on Thursday with 24 games, some of which will be brilliant and some of which will be hard work.

Everton were rubbish at the weekend as they lost 3-0 at home to Tottenham and could face another tough night against Italian outfit Atalanta. La Dea have shown themselves to be capable operators in recent seasons and remain strong, despite losing some key players over the summer.

A home win at 27/20 certainly appeals and the same outcome should also come from the other match featuring an English team. Playing on a Thursday night is something Arsene Wenger probably never saw himself doing and he appears happy to give this tournament somewhat of a short shrift.

Cologne will provide a few headaches for Arsenal but, despite the boss’ reluctance, the Gunners should make a winning start at 4/11 and look one of a number of home teams capable of getting results.

Marseille (4/11), Real Sociedad (2/7) and Villarreal (4/17) should not have any problems, while Rijeka’s 5/4 looks excellent against often underwhelming AEK Athens, as does the 7/5 for Copenhagen to beat Lokomotiv Moscow.

Hertha Berlin against Athletic Bilbao could be the standout game with both having plenty of cause for optimism and more importantly for us guys, plenty of value. At 33/20, Hertha certainly tempts but Athletic have seen it all before and, at 7/4, appear hard to ignore.

The price of the night might be the 6/5 for Nice to win at Zulte Waregem, with Les Aiglons heading into the game on the back of a 4-0 win over Monaco, while having smashed AC Milan at the weekend, Lazio should have too much for Vitesse Arnhem at 5/6.

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