All the pre match information and data you need written by our NEW content writer Charlie Carmichael ….
Fixture– Everton FC vs Leicester City FC
Competition– Barclay’s Premier League
Location– Goodison Park
Time– Saturday, 3pm
Referee– John Moss
Match week 17 pits two of the three Premier League top scoring teams against one another. The sides also possess the two top goal scorers in the league in the form of Romelu Lukaku and Jamie Vardy and if last season’s 9 goals in the 2 corresponding fixtures is anything to go by, we’re in for an early Christmas cracker.
Martinez’s men come into this one undefeated since the start of November and will look to dictate play from the off. The Foxes similarly, are undefeated, but from the start of October (bar a cup exit on penalties to Hull) and will be more than happy to allow Everton possession whilst looking to break out on the counter.
The Toffee’s concern includes James McCarthy, who will face a late fitness test having sustained a hip injury which has subsequently kept him out for the past 3 matches. John Stones also took a nasty fall against Norwich last time out but played on and seems ready to start. Longer term problems are; Tony Hibbert, Bryan Oviedo, Stephan Pienaar and Phil Jagielka.
Leicester, for the first time this season actually have some selection dilemmas due to injuries and suspensions. Robert Huth collected his 5th yellow card of the season against Chelsea and therefore by ruling, will sit this one out. Danny Drinkwater strained his hamstring in the same game causing him to miss the trip as well. Other absentees include; Jeff Schlupp, Ritchie De Laet and Matty James.
Where the Match will be Won & Lost
Since his appointment in 2013, Martinez has brought his own brand of play to the Merseyside outfit. They are now far more possession orientated and will attempt to play down the channels before providing quality service to their focal point Lukaku. Stopping these deliveries will be vital if Leicester are to be successful in this game and therefore both Simpson and Fuchs will play an integral role.
Ranieri and his troops will opt for a more ‘cut-throat’ approach, exploiting space in behind their opposition and using the pace of Vardy to turn defence into attack in seconds. Everton will be wary of committing too many bodies to their attacks due to this and Barry will be vital for them in pre-empting plays and shielding the back 4.
Having missed the last 3 I expect Cleverly to start ahead of McCarthy leaving the major headache of the attacking 3. Cases can be made for both Naismith and Mirallas however with Deulofeu, Barkley and Kone on form, they will be hard to displace. (4-2-3-1)
Leicester decision arises from the centre-back positions and having paid over £5 million for Benalouane in the summer coupled with his limited playing opportunities, I expect him to start. With Drinkwater missing I can only see a like for like swap for King as we saw at Chelsea as opposed to Inler. (4-4-2)
Mahrez v Baines- For myself, like many others Riyad has been the leagues standout player this term. With Baines looking to push high and support his winger it could leave space in behind for Mahrez and if there’s one thing Leighton cannot afford to do, it’s give him time and space.
Morgan v Lukaku- Although as previously stated Everton threat presents its self from wide areas, it is undoubtable that some crosses will arrive into the area. It is therefore integral Wes conducts himself in the manner we saw when handling Diego Costa. Being physically more dominate than Lukaku and stronger aerially.
If recent history is anything to go by, then this fixture is sure to produce goals. With both sides undefeated in recent weeks and scoring for fun- I’ll go with a score draw.
2-2 (Lukaku x2 / Vardy & Mahrez)
PODCAST SHOW :
Join the 100%LCFC Radio show Podcast recorded on December 16th as the crew look back to the famous victory over Chelsea and look forward to the away trip to Everton. WHO do YOU think will win ?