After thumping Wolfsburg 4-1 in some style two weeks ago at Goodison Park, Everton have endured something of a Europa League hangover and Krasnodar will be in no mood to provide anything in the way of relief.
Defeats to Crystal Palace in the Premier League and Swansea City in the League Cup followed that win over the Wolves and while Phil Jagielka stopped the rot with a late equaliser against Liverpool in last weekend’s Merseyside Derby, they face a testing trip to Russia.
With a team boasting plenty in the way of talent – though not much of it Russian – here are three Krasnodar stars out to spoil Everton’s Thursday.
A familiar face to some, following a season-and-a-half at Wigan Athletic, Granqvist is Krasnodar’s most experienced defender and a Sweden international, who previously thrived in Holland and Italy with Groningen and Genoa respectfully before moving to Russia for €5 million last year.
Standing tall at 6ft 3 ½ in, he’s a commanding presence in the box for Krasnodar and unsurprisingly is rarely beaten in aerial duels. A good passer of the ball who is rarely dispossessed, the 29-year-old could be the man to frustrate the Toffees in the final third and maybe even pop up with a goal at the other end.
Here are some of Granqvist's goals for Groningen - could he do similar damage to Everton?
The scorer of Krasnodar’s opener in Lille two weeks ago, the versatile Colombian midfielder, who looks destined for bigger things, is likely to provide plenty of attacking threat from the wide positions and more than capable of playing on either flank for his Russian employers.
Signed after an impressive stint in Cyprus with Anorthosis Famagusta where he scored 19 goals in 75 games, the 26-year-old could stake his claim for a spot in Jose Pekerman’s next Los Cafeteros squad with another impressive display in the Europa League.
Check out Laborde finishing off a fine attacking move for Krasnodar
Krasnodar’s playmaker-in-chief and the undoubted diamond in the Russian side’s current squad, Pereyra arrived from Uruguayan giants Nacional, via a stint in Argentina with Lanus, in February 2013 and, while he took some time to adapt, has proven a hit at the club.
Best played in a central midfield or central attacking role, Pereyra’s eye for a pass coupled with his notable defensive contributions make him the focal point for much of Krasnodar’s play, while his shooting ability from range and dead-ball situations means he is undoubtedly one to watch.
Fresh from scoring in a 3-0 win over Arsenal Tula, the 24-year-old Uruguayan was also on target when Krasnodar dispatched Real Sociedad 3-0 in the play-off round of this competition.
Take a look at Fereyra's dead-ball ability with this goal in the aforementioned 3-0 win over Arsenal Tula
Who else should Everton be wary of when they visit Krasnodar?