Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku scored as Everton bounced back from that narrow defeat to Liverpool by defeating the defending English champions Leicester City in their own backyard.
Leicester City was forced to make some changes to their starting eleven against Everton. Jamie Vardy received a three-match ban by the English Football Association after that harsh challenge in the previous match against Stoke City. Algerian international Islam Slimani replaced Jamie Vardy in the starting eleven and his compatriot Riyad Mahrez started the match on the bench.
Leicester City | S-XI: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Wasilewski, Chilwell, Gray, King, Amartey, Albrighton, Okazaki, Slimani.Substitutes: Zieler, Hernandez, Drinkwater, Musa, Ulloa, Mendy, Mahrez.
Everton’s Dutch manager Ronald Koeman made a few changes to his starting eleven ahead of the start of the match against Leicester City. Ross Barkley was benched and replaced by Kevin Mirallas. Phil Jagielka was replaced by Mason Holgate.
Everton | S-XI: Joel, Baines, Funes Mori, Williams, Holgate, Coleman, Barry, Gana, Mirallas, Lennon, Lukaku. Substitutes: Hewelt, Jagielka, Deulofeu, Barkley, Cleverley, Valencia, Davies.
The intensity of the first half was quite poor as both Leicester City and Everton were defensively disciplined. Ronald Koeman’s Everton dominated the possession but did not look dangerous at all when attacking Leicester City’s goal. Leicester City played more direct and got few close chances to put Joel, the Everton goalkeeper, to test. The first half ended Leicester City 0, Everton 0.
Everton came out from the dressing room looking more sharper and stronger. They were looking more dangerous in the attacks while remaining defensively disciplined. Kevin Mirallas got in a one-on-one situation with Kasper Schmeichel, Leicester City’s goalkeeper, and scored, giving his Everton the lead in the 51st minute. Leicester City tried hard to comeback but Everton kept frustrating the English champions by being defensively compact. Romelu Lukaku showed an amazing fighting spirit as he challenged a Leicester City defender and dispossessing him, leading Romelu Lukaku to score and increase the visitors’ lead to two-nil just three minutes before the final whistle. The second half and the match ended Leicester City 0, Everton 2.
It was not the best match to watch for the neutral fans but the second half the intensity of the match got higher. Leicester City was defensively disciplined and more direct when attacking. Everton had more of the possession and the precision was great in their finishing. Thus, Everton got a convincing victory. Leicester City moves two places down to a 16th place with 17 points in the league table. Everton moves up to a seventh place with 26 points and are just seven points José Mourinho’s Manchester United.
Leicester City will host West Ham United at the Leicester City Stadium on New Year’s Eve December 31 and Everton will face Hull City away from home on December 30.
Leicester City: Schmeichel – 3, Simpson – 3, Morgan – 3, Wasilewski – 3, Chilwell – 3.5, Gray – 3, King – 3, Amartey – 3, Albrighton – 3, Okazaki – 2.5, Slimani – 2. | Substitutes: Drinkwater – 3, Mahrez – 3, Ulloa – 3.
Everton: Joel – 3.5, Baines – 3, Funes Mori – 3, Williams – 3.5, Holgate – 3, Coleman – 3, Barry – 3, Gana – 3, Mirallas – 4, Lennon – 3, Lukaku – 4.5. | Substitutes: Davies – 3.5, Barkley – 3.5, Cleverley – 3.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Romelu Lukaku (Everton)