Both side’s proclivity for attack make this fixture the stand-out of the weekend. I preview the tie of the weekend.
Despite Everton’s attractive football, they have failed to produce results: drawing 8 of their 16 games. In contrast, Leicester have been able to make their quick, direct and appealing style of play generate results: 10 wins, as opposed to the Toffee’s 5.
This is the middle-game in Leicester’s run of challenging fixtures; having drawn against United, embarrassed Swansea and beaten last year’s champions, many view the next three fixtures against Everton, Liverpool and Manchester City as defining points in the Foxes’ season. If they can emerge from such a treacherous set of games still sniffing around the top of the table, then they will surely have to be considered genuine title contenders.
This twitter use is certainly looking forward to the game
Riyad Mahrez has been in scintillating form this season, netting 11 times and turning provider for 7. The Algerian embodies the prevailing philosophy at the King Power Stadium: attack.
Quick-footed and unpredictable, Mahrez will prove a tough test for Everton’s left-back; likely to be Leighton Baines, he will have to quickly shake off the rust that comes with a long lay-off.
Romelu Lukaku has gone from strength to strength this season, spearheading the Everton attack. Scoring 12 goals, and assisting 4, the Belgian has been directly involved in 55% of Everton’s goals in the Premier League.
Suffice to say, the 22 year-old is crucial for the Toffees; if he is in the mood, then he can inflict some serious damage on Leicester’s considerably poor defence. (They have conceded the most goals within the top 13 teams in the table).
Stat Attack: courtesy of Squawka.
Everton vs Leicester
Chances created: 150 vs 170
Pass Accuracy: 83% vs 72%
Possession: 52% vs 46
Speaking after Leicester’s 2-1 triumph over Chelsea, Ranieri described his team’s astonishing first-half of the season as “magic[al]”, later saying that he “didn’t want to wake up”.
Martinez was quick to praise Ranieri’s men, believing that “Leicester deserve to be top of the league”.
Head to Head (Last 5 meetings)
Four of the five last encounters between the two clubs has resulted in a draw, with Everton winning the remaining game. In fact, Everton last lost to the Foxes in 1998…
|13 Apr 2002||Everton v Leicester City||D||2-2||Premier League|
|20 Dec 2003||Everton v Leicester City||W||3-2||Premier League|
|20 Mar 2004||Leicester City v Everton||D||1-1||Premier League|
|16 Aug 2014||Leicester City v Everton||D||2-2||Premier League|
|22 Feb 2015||Everton v Leicester City||D||2-2||Premier League|
Stats courtesy of 11v11.
How will the game pan out?
Expect an open, free-flowing game. Both teams will look to use their the flanks, with Mahrez and Deulofeu respectively, to get balls into the box; more so Leicester, as Everton tend to employ an intricate system of attack that revolves around breaching the defence with through balls.
In light of the above stats, one would expect Everton to have the lion’s share of the ball, suiting a Leicester side which thrives on the counter-attack.
With each team’s drive for attack, I’d contend that this game will see a fair amount of goals. Indeed, we have two teams who are within the top three for goals scored so fare: Leicester first and Everton join third.
Predicted result: 2-3.