Leicester face Everton in the Premier League on Monday night at the King Power Stadium. The sides sit 18th and 19th in the league table with just four matches to play after this. Dean Smith’s Foxes have improved in recent weeks and would move up to 16th spot with a draw here. The reverse fixture finished 2-0 to Leicester in November with Frank Lampard and Brendan Rodgers in charge.
Leicester have had a terrible time since the World Cup break. They’ve lost 12 of their last 18 matches to drop into the relegation zone. Eight goals scored and successive wins in February proved a false dawn as Rodgers was sacked after taking just one point from a possible 24 on offer over eight fixtures. The final straw was a 1-0 home loss to Bournemouth.
The arrival of Dean Smith came before facing Man City away and his side were 3-0 down after 25 minutes in a match which finished 3-1. A nine-match winless run was ended by a 2-1 home win against Wolves as an attacking 4-2-4 formation yielded 2.43 xG. Their last match brought a deserved 1-1 draw at Leeds in a relegation tussle. The Foxes put up 2.19 xG as their improvement continued.
Leicester Team News
Coach Dean Smith has a number of injury problems to deal with. Fullback James Justin and centre back Jannik Vestergaard are out for the season. Ricardo Pereira and Jonny Evans have been carrying muscle injuries and are not expected to return for this match.
Striker Kelechi Iheanacho was injured in the build-up to Jamie Vardy’s goal at Leeds and may not play again this season. James Maddison and Harvey Barnes returned for the last and could play in support of Vardy, who scored from the bench at Molineux. Patson Daka is another option to either start as the number nine or as a wide forward.
The Foxes will be hugely motivated, knowing this is arguably their biggest match in a few years. A defeat would be a nightmare but a draw would see them move out of the relegation zone.
They will attack and try to win the match initially but they could settle for a point as things progress or if Everton are on top.
Sean Dyche arrived in February to take over a Toffees side with nine losses in 12 league fixtures. He initially oversaw an improvement with three 1-0 home wins in his first four matches at Goodison, including against Arsenal. After a 1-0 home win against Brentford, they scored very late goals to rescue a 2-2 at Chelsea and a 1-1 home draw vs Tottenham.
The last four matches have been worrying. They lost 2-0 at Man Utd but their opponents missed six “big chances”. They allowed 21 shots in a 3-1 home loss to Fulham. In a 0-0 draw at Crystal Palace, they defended well but only put up 0.39 xG going forward. In midweek, they were thrashed 4-1 at home by Newcastle with 2.43 xG conceded. They’ve hit a bad run at just the wrong time.
Everton Team News
Mason Holgate returns from a one-match suspension to boost defensive options. Seamus Coleman has been carrying a thigh injury but he has an outside chance of being fit for this match, otherwise Ben Godfrey will at right back.
Ruben Vinagre, Andros Townsend and Dele Alli are all out for the season. Assuming Dominic Calvert-Lewin is fit to start again, the front six basically pick themselves. Demarai Gray will be left on the bench in favour of hard-runners in the form of Alex Iwobi and Dwight McNeil.
Sean Dyche’s side have struggled on the road since he took over. His six matches have seen three losses and three draws.
In this match, Everton would certainly take a draw to prevent Leicester from pulling away. A point takes them within one of Leeds and Nottingham Forest and they could play for a draw from the start here.
Leicester have lost 9 of their 16 home league matches
Leicester have won 2 of their last 6 home PL matches (WLLLLW)
Leicester have seen Both Teams to Score in 7 of their last 8 league matches
Everton have lost 3 of their last 4 matches
Everton have 3 points from 6 away matches under Sean Dyche (LLDDLD), failing to score in 4 matches
Everton have won their last 2 matches away at Leicester
This match is very difficult to predict. Leicester appear to be improving of late whilst Everton are allowing plenty of good chances to opponents whilst not creating much. A home win looks like the best bet.