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Key battles to watch for: Leicester City vs Everton

Untangling a close contest

Everton v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Leicester City have finally got themselves on a good run - three wins on the spin if you include the Carabao Cup. The two league wins, however, were against arguably the worst teams they’ll face this year. On Saturday they’ll face a better test against Everton, who won 3-0 last time out.

We’ve broken down some of the key areas and individual match ups that could decide the outcome.

1. Amartey/Pereira vs Richarlison

Last week I mentioned that few teams were forced out wide as frequently as Newcastle. While Everton have brought nearly as few of their attacks down the centre, their width seems much more intentional, channeling the ball through they wingers, most notably Richarlison.

The pricey Brazilian fell off a little since a straight red card against Bournemouth, failing to notch a goal or assist in September. Still, he’s clearly a big threat out on the left, where he’ll come up against a weak spot in the Foxes’ line up.

Amartey has really surprised with solid play at RB since replacing the up and down Pereira, and I’d expect him to get the start. This will be his biggest challenge for a while though.

2. Wilfred Ndidi vs Idrissa Gueye

Few players cover ground and tackle quite like Wilfred Ndidi. Few except Gueye, who leads the league in tackles so far this year (and finished 2nd behind Wilf last year). While the two might not be in direct competition all game, as they look to supply the ball to James Maddison and Gylfi Siggurdson respectively, expect their contest to have a big impact.

Both sides prefer to play high up the pitch, with the ball, and have a talented 10, who can cause defences real trouble. Whichever midfielder does the better job of keeping the opposition playmaker in check will give his team a huge advantage.

In particular, watch out for the foul count. No player has been fouled more than Maddison this year, and both players can whip in a mean free kick or corner. Speaking of which...

3. Maddison’s Delivery vs Everton

While the Toffees 11 goals conceded leave them somewhere in the middle of the pack, the four they’ve surrendered from set pieces ties them for worst in the league. Set piece specialist Yerry Mina is expected to remain out, and this is clearly an area of weakness we can exploit.

Not that scoring from them has been a strength for us, at least until recently. The potential is certainly there though. Maddison’s delivery (and direct shots) are a sight to behold, unlike anything we’ve really seen here for years. Harry Maguire made a name for himself on the world stage this summer with his prowess attacking from corners. If those two can start to click then watch out.