Everton edged past Leicester City with a 2-1 win as the Foxes continue to drop points and are in real danger of dropping out of the Champions League positions.
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Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton scored twice early through Richarlison and a Gyfli Sigurdsson penalty kick and even though Kelechi Icheanacho pulled one back for Leicester right at the start of the second half, they couldn’t find an equalizer.
Everton are unbeaten since the restart and move up to 11th on 44 points, while Leicester could slip to fourth and have Man United, Chelsea and Wolves breathing down their necks.
1. Leicester in freefall: They’ve won one of their last eight Premier League games and have been knocked out of both cup competitions, as well as just four wins in their last 16 in the PL. They won eight-straight through October and November and looked nailed on to finish in the top four, as at one point they had a 15-point gap over the fifth-place team. Leicester are really falling away and are now just three points above Man United and Wolves who are hunting them down. Brendan Rodgers’ side were woeful in the first half and although they improved in the second, it wasn’t enough. They have lost their balance in midfield and spark in attack.
2. Everton smart defensively: The big improvement has been defensively and Ancelotti has sharpened up the Toffees. They look more streetwise and have a settled back four which is getting the job done. Going forward they have attacking weapons to hurt teams, so as long as they don’t make defensive mistakes they will win a lot of games. It may not be the most exciting style to watch but boy is it getting results. Everton have lost three of Ancelotti’s 14 games in charge and those were away at Chelsea, Arsenal and Man City. They look solid.
3. Vardy hardly had a kick: Vardy played in a cross to Perez in stoppage time and that was about all he did. Vardy, 33, has run out of steam after his amazing start to the season and has only scored in two of his last 16 outings for the Foxes. That is a big reason why they are in freefall and Vardy just isn’t getting in the right areas of the pitch.
Michael Keane – Dominant display as he helped win the penalty kick and marshalled the backline expertly under intense pressure in the second half. Probably up there to win the PL comeback player of the year award, if there was such a thing. Proper old school center half.
Everton struck early as Richarlison put them ahead after some great work from youngster Anthony Gordon. Played in down the left, Gordon picked out Richarlison on the penalty spot and the Brazilian swept home to make it 1-0.
Six minutes later the Toffees doubled their lead as Lucas Digne whipped in a free kick which saw Michael Keane and Wilfred Ndidi battle for the ball in the penalty box and a penalty kick was awarded for a handball on Ndidi after plenty of deliberation from VAR. Sigurdsson calmly slotted home the spot kick to make it 2-0.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin was then played in superbly over the top by Gordon but Caglar Soyuncu did brilliantly to put him under pressure at the crucial moment as a big chance came and went for Everton.
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Digne’s shot deflected off James Justin and Kasper Schmeichel scrambled to claw it away as Everton almost made it 3-0.
Iheanacho then made it 2-1 as he bundled home after Everton failed to clear. Another half time sub, James Maddison, caused all kinds of problems and Michael Keane almost scored an own goal as Jordan Pickford allowed a cross to slip through his grasp but Keane hacked the ball off the line.
Iheanacho then brought the ball down but fired over when he was off balance, as Leicester totally dominated the second half.
In stoppage time Jamie Vardy set up Ayoze Perez and his effort flashed wide as Mason Holgate got a crucial block on the effort and Everton held on to secure a big three points and pile more pressure on Leicester.