Leicester City took on a struggling Everton at the King Power in Claude Puel’s debut as manager. The match featured an impressive first half from the Foxes where they took an early, decisive 2-0 lead.
Though the second half was a bit more of a struggle, there were still plenty of positives to note:
Demarai Gray: Cristiano 2.0 had the standout performance of the match. He played a pivotal role in both of the goals for the Foxes, and even contributed defensively throughout the sloppy second half (no really, he did). It was perhaps his most impressive performance as a member of Leicester City and included one of his best highlights. His thundering 18th minute run - culminating in Jamie Vardy’s opening goal - was the perfect preview of what he could become if he reaches his full potential. Gray also picked up a goal of his own, though it had more to do with a poor clearance by the Toffees than anything he did.
Demarai Gray's game by numbers vs. Everton:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) October 29, 2017
1 chance created
Efficient performance. pic.twitter.com/4L9SXeUF2z
Claude Puel: The hiring of our new manager was met with mixed reviews. Some pointed to his eighth place finish and cup final appearance with Southampton as reasons why he would succeed in Leicester. Others, however, focused on the Saints’ drab attack during his tenure, and his dismissal at the end of the season as reasons why he would be a failure. His debut with the Foxes provided glimpses that could prove either side correct. In the second half we struggled to string passes together, but this was outweighed by an exciting first half performance that allowed the Foxes to shift the focus to defense.
Puel took a positive approach to the match, starting both Demarai Gray and Riyad Mahrez; something previous managers have mostly avoided. If he continues to push boundaries and try to fit creative presences in the side, the “dull” label will be forgotten soon enough.
Wes Morgan: The captain has been questioned at times this season. Some have doubted that he has enough left in his legs to continue to lead Leicester’s back line. Though it is fair to worry about his age, Morgan has responded with relatively steady performances throughout the season and with a standout one against Everton. The statistics won't shock you (five clearances, three blocks) but he contributed more than just that. His presence was immense, constantly thwarting Everton’s attacks by being in the right place.
Christian Fuchs: The Austrian may have shown some signs of his age. Overall, it wasn’t a particularly bad performance but he did struggle enough to land him in this spot. Fuchs was torched by Aaron Lennon in the first half and probably should have been called for a foul in the box that could have changed the entire game. Thankfully for us he got away with it and recovered with a steady second half. Still, there were enough red flags to question whether or not he will be able to deal with pacy wingers for much longer.
Shinji Okazaki: I know, I know, this is blasphemous. Trust me, here at Fosse Posse we are all avid members of the Church of Shinji. I am also aware of the fact that he was a substitute pretty late on. However, Shinji had just four touches to his name and has set such a high bar for himself this season that making as little of an impact as he did, even with little time do so, is enough to drop his stock just a bit.