Everton vs Leicester City preview: Out-of-form Foxes aiming to get back to winning ways at Goodison
Leicester and Everton meet for the third time this season on Wednesday evening | Photo: Getty/ NurPhoto

Leicester City travel up to Merseyside and Goodison Park on Wednesday evening to take on Everton as they look to notch their first victory since the resumption of English football. 

The Foxes' battle for a UEFA Champions League spot has shown distinct signs of faltering in recent weeks and they are winless in three matches in all competitions since the restart. Meanwhile, the Toffees are marooned in mid-table but have aspirations of gaining a European place too, being only four points behind seventh-placed Spurs.

Key Battle

Despite having received plenty of criticism since arriving from Burnley in 2017, English centre-back Michael Keane has looked far more assured under Carlo Ancelotti. Since the Premier League's restart, the Toffees have kept two consecutive clean sheets against Liverpool and Norwich City

The defender, who spent a season on-loan at the King Power Stadium in 2012/13, also scored the winner against the Canaries in his last game so will be hopeful of continuing his positive form against his former club. 

Meanwhile, it hasn't quite been such a profitable period for Leicester frontman Jamie Vardy. The 33-year-old has only scored two Premier League goals in his last ten matches, looking well off of the pace since the restart. It is no coincidence then that when Vardy has not performed, the Foxes have struggled. 

However, the Englishman has had a hand in ten goals in as many career appearances against Everton so will hope to return to some sort of form at Goodison Park. Keane, then, should he perform against the direct threat of the striker could well be a key cog in the Toffees earning a result.

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What happened last time?

The two teams are already well-acquainted having clashed in both Premier League and Carabao Cup action this season. The most recent game however produced a thrilling League Cup quarter-final in December. 

Heading to Goodison Park in the midst of a ten-match unbeaten run, Brendan Rodgers' Leicester were understandably in a confident mood and that showed in the game as first-half goals from James Maddison and Jonny Evans put them in firm control. 

Tom Davies reduced the arrears for the hosts with 20 minutes remaining before a piledriver from Leighton Baines levelled the scores with just seconds of normal time remaining.

The Foxes did eventually run out winners on penalties though. Cenk Tosun and Baines himself failed to convert for the hosts, giving Vardy the opportunity the book Leicester's place in the semi-finals which he gleefully accepted. 

Team News

Ancelotti could have two significant players to finally welcome back into the first-team fold as he prepares to host Leicester. Yerry Mina and Fabian Delph have previously been struggling with problems but could well return to action on Wednesday. 

Theo Walcott and Djibril Sidibe are both continuing their respective comebacks but the clash against Leicester will come too soon for them both. Elsewhere, long-term absentees Tosun and Jean-Philippe Gbamin remain ruled out. 

Maddison was missing for Leicester's slender FA Cup defeat to Chelsea at the weekend due to a hip injury. Foxes' boss Rodgers has confirmed that the midfielder is still a doubt but that he will also be monitored. Should he not be able to return, he will join the likes of Daniel Amartey and Ricardo Pereira on the sidelines.

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Predicted Line-Ups

Everton: Pickford; Baines, Keane, Holgate, Coleman; Bernard, Gomes, Davies, Iwobi; Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison.

Leicester City: Schmeichel; Chilwell, Soyuncu, Evans, Justin; Ndidi, Tielemans, Praet; Gray, Perez, Vardy.

Managers' Thoughts

Despite his team having gone three matches without a win since the restart, only managing to score one goal in that time, Rodgers wants a quick, intense and confident start from his charges at Goodison Park. 

Talking in his pre-match press conference, the Northern-Irishman said: "The games are coming thick and fast. We’re disappointed, but very quickly we have to get over it.

"We have a great chance now, playing against Everton, to continue our level of performance. We’re just waiting for that moment in the game where we get that early goal that can really give this young team confidence."

Ancelotti, meanwhile, is hoping that his Toffees side can take advantage of Leicester's poor form despite the Foxes remaining a tough opponent.

The Italian said: "It will be a difficult match against a strong team. They are really fast in front, (Jamie) Vardy is a really dangerous player and they have a really good organisation.

"But our moment is not bad, it is good. What I have seen this week in training gives me confidence to play a good game.

"Also it can be a small advantage that Leicester played on Sunday in a difficult game against Chelsea. We are fresh and can play a game with a lot of intensity."