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Key matchups to watch for: Leicester City vs Everton

Another under pressure manager visits the KP

Leicester City v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

Leicester City have never won six consecutive Premier League games, but have a great chance ahead with a struggling Everton visiting. Here are some areas the game could be decided.

1. Jamie Vardy vs Field Position

The Foxes have had a lot of joy from pressing and winning the ball high up the pitch. As impressive as the likes of Vardy and Perez have been at getting to defenders, they might struggle a little against Everton’s fairly direct style.

The Toffees clear their lines quickly and as a result only Manchester City and Liverpool have played less of the season in their own defensive third (and more of the season in their opposition’s third).

Last week, Brighton’s attempts to play higher up the pitch dragged their back line forwards and created all kinds of space for Vardy to make trouble in. You’d have to assume Everton wont make the same mistake. The Toffees are very strong aerially and wont be beaten by long balls if they do stay deep.

The space has to turn up somewhere though. If the forwards are playing high and the defence stays deep, Maddison and Tielemans should have as much space as they like to create from. And of course to fire off a long ball the second they think Everton have strayed too far forward.

2. Richarlison and Digne vs Pereira

Richarlison has played all across the front line this season, but started on the left in three of their last four games. The Brazilian leads the team in goals and is second in assists, so will obviously be a key defensive focus for Pereira.

The Portuguese RB could find himself pulling double duty (or calling for a lot of help), with the Toffees’ assist leader Lucas Digne also pushing up the left. The defender whips in as many crosses as anyone, and is in the league’s top 5 for key passes.

Fortunately Ricardo has been in great defensive form over the recent run. Everton have struggled to find consistent form up front, but are pretty good in the air, so hopefully he can cut out a lot of those crosses before they make it into the box.

In possession, Ricardo has been a little quiet lately and that could continue as Richarlison is one of Everton’s more active defensive contributors. Talent like Pereira’s wont stay down forever, though, and he has the ability to change a game with a single run.

3. Maddison’s free kicks

Few teams in the Premier League have committed as many fouls as Everton. Combined with James Maddison’s talent for winning free kicks, the Foxes should get a few dead ball opportunities in dangerous areas.

The Toffees also lead the league in goals conceded from set pieces - almost as many as they have from open play. Obviously that’s somewhat related to how many they give away, but still shows a weakness (Wolves have fouled more but conceded less than half).

There’s not really much more to this one. We’ll probably have a decent number of corners and attacking free kicks, Maddison has been delivering excellent set pieces for the last season and a half, and now Chilwell is chipping in as well.

Leicester are 5th in goals from set pieces and penalties, and if I were a betting man I’d be expecting another one on Sunday.