Analysis: Belgian domination as Everton beat champions Leicester

Analysis: Belgian domination as Everton beat champions Leicester

Goals from Belgium internationals Kevin Mirallas and Romelu Lukaku secured all three points at the King Power, but what changed?

Conor Shaw

Despite being a low-quality game, Ronald Koeman will be hoping his side take confidence into their trip to Hull City next week. 

Everton have found away victories hard to come by – with only three wins on their travels this season. 

Leicester, however, now find themselves embroiled in a relegation scrap – sitting just three points above the drop zone.

Back to basics

Everton supporters will admit themselves that games have become considerably more lacklustre – but going back to basics helped the Blues claim victory.

Kevin Mirallas out ran the Leicester centre-backs to collect a long punt from Joel Robles, with Kasper Schmeichel unable to prevent the Belgian from putting the Blues in front.

That was Everton’s first attempt at goal in the match. It was the definition of going route one – as Mirallas’ pace ensured that he weaved through the Foxes feeble back-line to fire home.

Derby disappointment

After defeat to Liverpool last Monday night, Everton supporters would have been looking for a response from their squad.

Throughout the opening 45 minutes of the Derby, the Blues dominated Jurgen Klopp’s side – but the first half of this encounter seemed more like the second half showing last week.

Neither side looked awe inspiring - with Schmeichel not being troubled in the first half, meaning by half time Everton had only one shot on target in three halves of football. 

At half time, no one would have imagined victory was on the cards for Everton – but Ronald Koeman’s game management in the second half sparked life into a poor encounter, and gave Everton their first win on Leicester’s home turf since 1997.

3-4-3: Is it finally working?

Chelsea’s domination has been down to Antonio Conte’s hard work around developing a 3-4-3 system, and Everton have tried this before. But this was at Stamford Bridge, when Conte’s men romped to a 5-0 victory.

It seemed Everton started with this during their game on Boxing Day – with most passages of play even suggesting they played 5-4-1, with Romelu Lukaku as a main target man.

Whereas Chelsea have the advantage of a pacey, accomplished winger who is defensively solid on their left wing in Victor Moses – pushing forward and tracking back proved awkward for Leighton Baines at the King Power. 

For Everton, this formation has invited defensive errors when not practiced during games. Southampton proved successful under Koeman’s 4-3-3 formation, so should that be Everton’s next style against Hull City on Friday evening?

Going back to basics worked against Leicester, so something familiar might just warrant Koeman some acknowledgment in his tactical approach.

Rising talent

Everton became seemingly more confident within the final twenty minutes, with Koeman handing a cameo appearance to academy graduate Tom Davies.

The 18-year-old replaced Premier League stalwart Gareth Barry, and made an immediate impression – being a vibrant presence in Koeman’s midfield.