Atalanta vs Everton Match Preview: Team News, Current Form, Previous Meetings & More
Everton face a tough group E opener as their main Europa League campaign gets underway on Thursday.
The Toffees travel to Italy to take on surprise Serie A package Atalanta as they bid to get off to the best possible start in their European adventures.
With the Blues not winning for four matches in all competitions, an away victory would be keenly welcomed. Here's all you need to know ahead of the crunch clash:
This is the first time that Everton and Atalanta will lock horns in any competition.
The Blues last came up against Italian opposition during their Europa League run in 2007/08 when Fiorentina cruelly knocked them out after a tense penalty shootout at Goodison Park.
David Moyes' men came from 2-0 down in the first leg to take the last-16 clash to extra-time and penalties, but the Toffees suffered heartbreak as I Viola ran out 4-2 victors from 12 yards.
Campaigns So Far
Atalanta head into their fourth fixture of the season with one win and two defeats from their previous three run outs.
The Bergamo-based outfit suffered 1-0 and 3-1 losses to Italian title contenders Roma and Napoli respectively, before they picked up their first win of the campaign last time out with a slender 2-1 victory over Sassuolo.
Everton have already played eight games this term with four wins, two draws and two defeats picked up along the way.
With no victory in the past four outings, however, the Blues will be desperate to return to winning ways ahead of a crunch clash with Manchester United on Sunday.
Atalanta have an almost fully fit squad to choose from as they welcome Everton to, strangely, Mapei stadium.
La Dea are playing their home matches 120 miles away from their usual home at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d'Italia as it undergoes redevelopment to be fit for purpose for European matches.
Manager Gian Piero Gasperini is without the services of winger Leonardo Spinazzola as the left-sided midfielder recovers from an unknown injury, but has every other star available to him.
Everton boss Koeman, meanwhile, is still unable to call upon long-term injured personnel Yannick Bolasie, Ramiro Funes Mori and Ross Barkley, while Seamus Coleman has only just begun ball work as he battles back from a broken leg.
James McCarthy may not feature either due to a niggling hamstring strain, but Ademola Lookman and Oumar Niasse could come into contention after starring for the Under-23s side over the weekend.
Predicted Atalanta Lineup: Berisha; Toloi, Masiello, Caldera; Castagne, Crisante, de Roon, Gosens; Ilicic, Gomez, Cornelius.
Predicted Everton Lineup: Pickford; Holgate, Keane, Jagielka, Williams, Baines; Gueye, Sigurdsson, Schneiderlin; Rooney, Calvert-Lewin.
Confidence will not be high among either set of players due to their recent results, but both managers will be hammering home the need to secure a win at all costs.
Everton's greater fitness levels could prove to be the difference in the latter stages of the contest, but Atalanta will be buoyed by a vociferous home crowd in their first European venture since the 1990/91 campaign.
There's no separating these two in our opinion, and Koeman will arguably be the happier of the two gaffers if his side leave with a share of the points.
Prediction: Atalanta 1-1 Everton