Having proved their worth in back to back matches against Man Utd and Chelsea, Leicester City arrive at Goodison Park hoping to remain top of the table ahead of the festive season. The Toffees extended their unbeaten run at Carrow Road and will now be looking to put a dent into the Foxes’ title hopes.
Last season was pretty disappointing for Everton as they ended the league campaign in the bottom half of the standings, but they have since showed considerable improvement. With Romelu Lukaku rediscovering his scoring touch and Ross Barkley finally showing some consistency, the Toffees have played some good football this term and should have probably taken few more points from first 16 fixtures. Nevertheless, in spite of the back to back stalemates against Crystal Palace and Norwich City, Roberto Martinez’s charges sit mere six points behind Champions League positions, and are unbeaten in last eight matches in all competitions. This is enough to suggest that the Toffees will be feeling confident ahead of the Saturday’s clash with Leicester City, and the opponents’ red-hot form should serve as an extra incentive for the hosts to try and show what they are capable of in the match with the current Premier League leaders. Having scored 11 goals in last three PL fixtures at Goodison, Everton clearly head into the high-profile clash in great spirits.
Tom Cleverley should continue to deputize for the injured James McCarthy, who is unlikely to recover in time for the crunch game against Leicester City.
At the same time, the likes of Steven Pienaar, Phil Jagielka, Bryan Oviedo, Tony Hibbert and Ty Browning remain in the infirmary.
It has now been revealed that one Leicester City fan had predicted that the Foxes would be top of the league at Christmas as he has a betting slip to prove it, but chances are nobody else could have imagined seeing Claudio Ranieri’s charges anywhere near the Premier League summit. Nevertheless, the reality is that the Foxes sit two points clear in first place, and they deserve all the praise that have been going their way of late. It is not to difficult to see that impressive performances of Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy are the main reason behind Leicester City soaring to unimagined heights, but it would not be fair to their teammates for the two players to take all the credit. And while some believed that the Foxes would break under pressure during the difficult fixture list, they have showed no signs of slowing down, outplaying Manchester United in a 1-1 draw before defeating holders Chelsea on Monday, thus effectively ending Jose Mourinho’s second spell at Stamford Bridge. Buoyed by the run of five wins in last six games, there is every chance Claudio Ranier’s men will attack Everton from the off.
The visitors do have some selection problems considering that Danny Drinkwater picked up a hamstring problem on Monday and he is unlikely to play.
This means that Andy King is almost certain to start alongside N’Golo Kante in the middle of the park and that should be the only change to the side that beat Chelsea.
Key Factors to Consider
- Both teams have scored in Everton’s last three league fixtures
- The Toffees netted 11 times in last 3 home games
- Everton and Leicester players occupy top 3 positions in goalscoring charts
- Vardy and Mahrez have scored three goals fewer than the entire Everton team
- Leicester City scored exactly three goals in each of last three away games in the league
- The Foxes scored in every single away game this season (23 goals in 10 games)
Everton have been averaging almost two goals per game this season, which is thoroughly impressive for their standards, with Lukaku, Barkley and Kone in very good form at the moment. Meanwhile, Leicester City boast the best attacking record in the elite division, and it would take a massive effort for the Foxes to end the impressive run on the road.
Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 8/15
Bookmaker: William Hill
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