The Premier League’s Monday Night showdown will see 18th face 19th, as Leicester City host Everton in what will be a massive scrap for survival in England’s top-flight.
The Foxes avoided a defeat against Leeds United, another relegation battlers, in their last fixture courtesy of a late strike from Jamie Vardy. As far as Everton are concerned, the less said the better about a performance that was a complete capitulation at their own perch. Newcastle United thrashed the Toffees 4-1, leaving them winless in their last six league games, and two points from safety with five games to go.
Both sides will head into the game with a responsibility to react and avoid the dreaded relegation fate at the cost of their opposition’s future.
Last 5 games
Leicester City: 18th
Draw: 1-1 vs Leeds
Win: 2-1 vs Wolverhampton
Loss: 1-3 vs Manchester City
Loss: 0-1 vs Bournemouth
Loss: 1-2 vs Aston Villa
Loss: 1-4 vs Newcastle United
Draw: 0-0 vs Crystal Palace
Loss: 1-3 vs Fulham
Loss: 0-2 vs Manchester United
Draw: 1-1 vs Tottenham Hotspur
Head to Head
The last time the two sides met, both had different managers at the helm. Frank Lampard set up the home side against Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester in November. At the time, the Foxes had picked up some form and collected three points more by beating Everton 2-0. Youri Tielemans opened the scoring before Harvey Barnes sent the crowd at Goodison Park minutes early by winning it on the break in the 86th minute.
Leicester won the November affair, but when more meetings between the two are looked at, Everton comes on the top. In their last six clashes, Everton have won three times and drawn twice.
Kelechi Iheanacho could miss the rest of the season after a muscle injury sustained during assisting Vardy for the equaliser against Leeds. The veteran striker will certainly take Iheanacho’s starting spot after his prolific cameo appearance at Elland Road. Doubt remains over Jonny Evans and Ricardo Pereira’s availability, though it won’t surprise many if they make it on the bench. Versatile full-back James Justin remains unavailable.
Seamus Coleman is expected to return after recovering from a thigh injury. It remains to be seen if James Garner is given another opportunity on the back of another midfielder’s poor showings against Newcastle.
Leicester City: 4-2-3-1
Iversen (GK), Castagne, Faes, Soyuncu, Kristiansen, Tielemans, Soumare, Tete, Maddison, Barnes, Vardy
Pickford (GK), Coleman, Keane, Tarkowski, Mykolenko, Gueye,Doucoure, Onana, Iwobi, Calvert-Lewin, McNeil
Players to Watch
With just two assists in the last nine games, Maddison hasn’t been able to make much of a difference in preventing Leicester’s free-fall. But he’s still Dean Smith’s most creative outlet and will hope to rekindle his old fruitful partnership with Vardy. Interestingly, he assisted both of his side’s goals in their 2-0 win over Everton in the reverse fixture.
The Englishman made only his second appearance for Everton in two months against Newcastle and was certainly not as lively as Alexander Isak, but there’s no doubt Everton are a better side with him on the pitch. He took more touches in the opposition box in his two appearances since his return from injury than any other Everton man. Sean Dyche, in particular, will look to make the best use of his set-play methods to find a goal or two through the big number nine.
Where Will The Game Be Decided?
Everton’s away form is miserable, to say the least. They are winless in their last 12 league games on the road. As such, a lot will depend on how they defend in the early stages. If they can remain in the tie until the last half an hour, Dyche’s men will have a real chance to return to Merseyside with something. Everton doesn’t score many goals away from home, but Leicester’s shaky backline has given one or two easy opportunities to the opposition on a consistent basis this campaign.
Leicester’s best bet is to get the crowd going through an aggressive approach right from the kick-off and expect the duo of Maddison and Vardy to combine effectively. If they are in the right mood, Everton won’t be able to hold their ground for long.
In their last game, Godfrey was a frustrated figure in the backline and never managed to keep hold of Isak. Harvey Barnes of Leicester is not an easy forward to defend either and the battle between him and Coleman (if he returns) would be something to look forward to on Monday night. If Godfrey starts, it’s going to be another long day for him.
The last time Leicester completed the league double over Everton was in the 2015-16 title-winning season. Expecting them to repeat the feat this season to secure their Premier League status. Leicester City 2-1 Everton.
The kickoff is at 19:00 GMT Monday at the King Power Stadium.
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