Everton host top of the table Leicester City on Saturday afternoon, in what promises to be a hugely entertaining Premier League clash. Last season the sides twice drew 2-2 and with both sides among the goals this year and boasting the Premier Leagues most deadly strikers a high scoring affair is anticipated.
Everton have played exciting, thrilling football in recent games, but have failed to get the wins those performances have deserved and as a result have slipped down the Premier League table. Despite the three draws in three games Roberto Martinez’ team remain only six points off a Champions League place and three points off Spurs in fifth.
Everton vs Leicester City – Past Matches:
Everton’s Premier League record against Leicester is rather surprisingly fairly even, especially when you consider Leicester have spent much of their recent history yo-yoing between divisions. In 18 meetings since 1992, Everton have won 4, drawn 13 and lost just once. At Goodison Park the Toffee’s are undefeated against Saturday’s opponents, with the foxes failing to win in their last 9 visits to Goodison, although 7 of those ties have ended in a draw.
Where to Watch:
The match is completely sold out and with Leicester taking the full allocation it promises to be a good atmosphere inside Goodison for a traditional 3pm Saturday kickoff. A few tickets are available via the clubs resale partner Stubhub.
If you are based in the UK and aren’t fortunate enough to have a ticket then you will have to make do with a highlights package, or an internet stream. For those international Blues the match will be available through a number of official Premier League rights holders.
Everton are edging closer to having a full fit squad for the Christmas period. James McCarthy is training again and is in contention for a starting place against Leicester, although Martinez may hold him back with a busy Christmas schedule on the horizon.
“James McCarthy has started running on the pitch. We will assess him today and tomorrow then make a final decision if he can be involved in the squad against Leicester. He’s not too far away. If it’s not Leicester, it will be one of the games around Boxing Day.” Roberto Martinez
If McCarthy does return, it could mean Tom Cleverley moves to the left in place of Arouna Kone, who has unfairly received criticism from some quarters in recent weeks. If Martinez does decided to leave the Ivorian out of the side he will need to ensure Romelu Lukaku receives the support he needs in attack. Alternatively Martinez may decide to recall Steven Naismith who hasn’t started a game since the home defeat to Manchester United in October.
Elsewhere Phil Jagielka is back running again, but his return will be closer to the New Year. Long term absentee Steven Pienaar is also back in training, although he will need to build up his sharpness before he is in contention for a return to the team.
Roberto’s Press Conference:
Predicted Line Up:
Howard, Coleman, Baines, Stones, Funes Mori, Barry, Cleverley, Barkley, Deulofeu, Kone, Lukaku
St Domingos: Everton 2-1 Leicester City (Lukaku to keep his scoring run going with a late winner)
And the rest of the web…
Mark Lawrenson (BBC): Everton 1-1 Leicester City
Paul Merson (Sky Sports): Everton 2-1 Leicester City
Everton will be thinking “why aren’t we where Leicester are?” Paul Merson