Leicester City 8th (4-0-3) vs Everton 11th (2-3-2)
Live from the King Power Stadium on Saturday at 10 AM ET on NBC Sports Gold
Leicester find themselves once again in the comforts of home right before the next international break. They’ve had some great home form this season, with their only loss to Liverpool, and should feel confident against a side who haven’t won on the road yet.
Everton had a bit of a wonky match against Fulham last Saturday. They bossed possession at 52%, took 19 shots of which 6 were on target, and forced Fulham to zero shots on target. Despite all that, it took a missed penalty kick from Gylfi Sigurdsson to really spurn them on. His penalty fired over the bar and within four minutes he avenged his miss when he beat Marcus Bettinelli. He grabbed a second late in the match, but only after Cenk Tosun came off the bench and scored Everton’s second in the 66th minute.
Everton’s quest for dominance has been ongoing and difficult, spending money on youth, talent, and management. It may even get the into trouble if the FA find them guilty of their pursuit for Marco Silva when he was managing at Watford which could end in a points deduction. Richarlison was his big signing of the summer, and while the goals came early for him, a straight red against Bournemouth saw him miss the next few games and his form hasn’t recovered since. If Leicester can stifle him, it would go a long way to earning three points on the day.
Looking at the stats, you’d think it was a dominating performance from Leicester and easy day at the park. If you watched the match, you’d know that wasn’t exactly the case. Newcastle threatened early, they were just nowhere near clinical enough to punish them. They did manage to ride that early pressure, settle into the game, and then earn a penalty for Jamie Vardy to smash into the twine.
Harry “Slabhead” Maguire scored his second goal of the season when he rose to meet James Maddison’s cross from a corner kick. Maybe the headline should be the fact that we’ve scored from a corner kick, which is a shock on it’s own, but it’s hard to find a whole lot of compliments about a corner flag that aren’t about it’s right angle.
I expect Claude Puel to once again rotate the squad because he still doesn’t know what his best starting eleven is. The real question marks are along the wings, which were exacerbated by the injury to Demarai Gray, so we can’t say with certainty whether Marc Albrighton, Rachid Ghezzal, Kelechi Iheanacho, or Ricardo get the start.
I expect a contest that will come down to which team wins their individual battles. Leicester must contain Everton’s midfield trio of Theo Walcott, Gylfi Sigurdsson, and Richarlison. If they can shut them down, it’ll leave whoever they start up top isolated and force those players to defend. James Maddison will need to boss the game in the midfield if Leicester are going to get the result. Ultimately, I think both sides shaky defenses get them in the end, and it finishes 2-2.