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Premier League Match Report: Everton 1 - 1 Leicester City

The cruelest three words in football: “Stoppage time equaliser”

Everton v Leicester City - Premier League - Goodison Park Photo by Tim Goode/PA Images via Getty Images

Leicester City had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday afternoon. An early Harvey Barnes strike gave the Foxes the edge at the break and for most of the second half. Richarlison’s deflected strike in injury time gave the Toffees a share of the spoils.

Tell me you’re not commentating on the Leicester match without telling me you’re not commentating on the Leicester match.

Contrary to my expectations, manager Brendan Rodgers went with his Europa Conference League squad for today’s match: Kasper Schmeichel (C), Ricardo Pereira, Wesley Fofana, Jonny Evans, Timothy Castagne, Youri Tielemans, Nampalys Mendy, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Kelechi Iheanacho.

Things started decently for the Foxes, and by “decently,” I mean “incredibly well.” An early attack down the right saw Leicester take the lead before the five-minute mark. Ricardo took the ball deep into the Blues’ territory and found Maddison’s run into the box. His low cross evaded Iheanacho but found Barnes, who slotted home from close range.

Like as not, this will get blocked so enjoy it while you can.

The next ten minutes saw City boss possession and camp out in their opponents’ half. The best chance from this spell fell to Madders. His snapshot from the Seniorman’s pullback was on target, but directly into the arms of keeper Jordan Pickford.

Everton were restricted to counterattacks in the early going with Alex Iwobi providing the pace and Leicester-nemesis Richarlison bringing the off-target finishing. Schmeichel didn’t have a save to make for the entire forty-five minutes as the City back line kept the Toffees at arm’s length.

The hosts were pressing for an equaliser as the half wound down with the best chance coming from former Fox Demarai Gray. A neatly-worked corner routine saw Gray get to cut inside from the right and curl his shot just wide of the post with Schmeichel not getting anywhere near it. That was the last action of the half as Leicester carried a slim lead into the tunnel.

The second half started at a snail’s pace, with Goodison Park in a bit of a slumber. Both sides were a little on the sloppy side, but because both sides couldn’t get out of first gear, nothing came of the mistakes.

It took a good ten minutes for the clubs to get going. Richarlison missed a golden opportunity to score from close range from an Anthony Gordon cross. At the other end, Madders had a go from the right side the area that Pickford did will to turn over the bar. From a corner, Fofana rose highest but glanced his effort just wide.

Everton v Leicester City - Premier League
Back atcha, big man.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

Just before 70’, Rodgers took off Barnes for Ademola Lookman. This marked another uptick in the pace of the match as things started to get frantic. Richarlison and Mina picked up yellows for the hosts and Patson Daka came on for Iheanacho for the Foxes. The ball was flying up and down the pitch as Everton tried to find an equaliser and Leicester attempted to punish them for the audacity of trying to do so.

With his last throw of the dice, Rodgers sent Daniel Amartey on for Mendy to see out the match. It was always going to be a barnstorming finish, but it have to be such a disappointing one? In injury time, Dele Alli sent in a low cross from the right side. Substitute Hector Rondon let it run to Richarlison, whose shot deflected off the sliding Ricardo and gave Schmeichel no chance at the save. After leading for almost 90 minutes, the Foxes left Merseyside with only a paltry point to their credit.

Everton v Leicester City - Premier League
It was as ridiculous as this image suggests...
Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Maybe it’s because we’ve all seen it happen so many times, but there was a sense of inevitability about the Everton equaliser. It wasn’t that dramatic or even especially upsetting since we knew it was coming. I love Leicester City but I’m not going to expect this team to hold a lead for almost 90 minutes.

Rodgers tweaked the shape a little today, playing a 4-2-3-1 instead of the 4-3-3 we’ve been seeing of late. It worked until it didn’t if that makes any sense. If the goal was to get Tielemans more involved, it wasn’t a success. Madders and KDH were probably our best players, but I wonder if playing Maddison centrally and Dewsbury-Hall on the right wouldn’t have been more effective.

The draw gives us 41 points from 31 matches, which keeps us 9th on the table but well out of the reckoning for 7th. We next face Aston Villa at home in a rare Saturday match and then take on Roma at the King Power in the first leg of our historic Europa League semi-final.