Following on from their impressive 3-1 win over Brentford in the FA Cup Fourth Round on Sunday, Leicester City are back in Premier League action as they make the trip up to Merseyside to face Everton at Goodison Park.
Both teams have had a brilliant first half to their seasons. The Foxes are in the middle of a title race even if they refuse to say that they are, whilst the Toffees are fighting to get into the UEFA Champions League positions.
Leicester will be looking to seek revenge over Everton who left the King Power Stadium with three points in the reverse fixture just over a month ago.
Since Carlo Ancelotti arrived in Merseyside in December 2019, Everton have been a force to be reckoned with. After winning their first four games of the season, they were right at the top of the table but a run of mixed results saw the Toffees drop down to sixth in the table.
Everton fans will be confident of doing the double over the Foxes which would be crucial if they are to finish the season in the European places.
Ancelotti has confirmed that Lucas Digne and Alex Iwobi are fit and available having missed the FA Cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday with injuries.
They will be without Allan, Fabian Delph, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Niels Nkounkou who are all recovering from injuries whilst French midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure is serving a one match suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season in their 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
England international Dominic Calvert-Lewin is having his best goal scoring season. Having scored 11 goals so far in the Premier League, Everton will be relying on him massively if they are to take all three points out of this game.
Starting XI: Pickford; Holgate, Mina, Keane, Godfrey; Iwobi, Rodriguez, Davies, Richarlison; Calvert-Lewin, Sigurdsson.
The win against Brentford meant that Leicester City are still in three competitions. With an FA Cup Fifth round fixture against Brighton and Hove Albion and an UEFA Europa League knockout game against Slavia Praha all to come over the next few weeks, Brendan Rodgers will need to keep all of his players fresh if they’re to go far in both competitions.
The Foxes will definitely be without striker Jamie Vardy who is recovering from a minor hernia operation he had just before the Brentford game.
With Vardy out, his role will most probably be filled by Spanish striker Ayoze Perez. The Spaniard has struggled for regular game time this season, making most of his appearances off the bench. When he has featured though he has usually played on the wing. Perez sees his best position in that number nine role so with Vardy out injured, this is his chance to show Rodgers that is where he should be playing.
In Leicester’s 2-0 win over Chelsea last week, Ricardo Pereira made his Premier League comeback, more than 10 months after he suffered a serious knee injury, as he replaced Marc Albrighton for the final 15 minutes.
The Portuguese international then started the game against Brentford playing 70 crucial minutes, before being substituted, so could well be in contention for this game.
For the Brentford game, Rodgers made eight chances, giving players who haven’t been getting regular game time in the Premier League a chance to prove that they should be playing every week. However, Rodgers is expected to go back to his strongest side for the Everton game.
Starting XI: Schmeichel; Justin, Evans, Fofana, Castagne; Ndidi, Tielemans; Albrighton, Maddison, Barnes; Perez
If you look back at Everton’s performance when they beat Leicester 2-0 at the King Power, you could say they would be expected to do the same again.
However, Leicester’s away form is a lot better than their home form. Having lost only once on the road this season, it’s going to be a very tight game between to very good sides.
Leicester will be desperate to stay in touching distance of the leaders and against an Everton side who have never looked stronger, this will be a perfect opportunity to show their intentions for the second half of the season.
Prediction: Everton 1-2 Leicester