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Everton vs Leicester City: Premier League match preview, likely line-ups and score prediction



Everton will look to prolong their outside ambitions for the Champions League spots when a Leicester City side unbeaten under Craig Shakespeare travel to Goodison Park on Saturday.

On the back of last-minute heartbreak during the week against Manchester United, Ronald Koeman’s side know anything other than a win will end any hopes the Toffees have of reaching the top four.

On the other hand, Leicester City are flying under the management of Shakespeare and will look to make it seven wins out of seven, with a victory potentially taking them into the top half of the table.

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After going on a nine-match unbeaten run, Everton’s progress in the Premier League has somewhat stalled lately after defeats to Tottenham and Liverpool, only winning two of their last five games.

They were highly unfortunate to leave Old Trafford without all three points during the week, however, after Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s last-gasp penalty pegged back what had been a defensively solid display.

Since the sacking of Claudio Ranieri Leicester City have been more like their scintillating selves from last season, beating Liverpool on their way to a six-match unbeaten run that dates back to February.

This run, which includes wins over Sunderland and Hull City, has clawed the Foxes away from a relegation battle and taken them within touching distance of the top ten of the Premier League.

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The hosts will be without three first-team defenders as Seamus Coleman and Ramiro Funes-Mori are out after their season-ending injuries, whilst Ashley Williams serves his suspension from Tuesday night.

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Kevin Mirallas should be fit to start after picking up a slight knock against United, and despite refusing to shake Ronald Koeman’s hand after being substituted he’s expected to retain his spot.

For the visitors, the big dilemma for Craig Shakespeare is whether Demarai Gray or Marc Albrighton start in midfield; both impressed during spells in midweek, with the latter getting two vital assists.

Captain Wes Morgan may not be fit in time to take his place in the defence after missing the Sunderland win due to a back injury, and it’s unlikely the Leicester manager will take any risks with his star centre-back ahead of their Champions League quarter-final first-leg against Atletico Madrid.

Predicted Line-Ups

Verdict: Everton 3-2 Leicester City 

Both sides have been at the top of their respective games in recent weeks, but Ronald Koeman will be looking for a big response from his Everton side as they hope to bounce back from their derby day defeat at Liverpool and the disappointing draw against Manchester United on Tuesday night.

It won’t be easy against a Leicester side full of confidence, however, as the Foxes look like a completely different side to the one that played seven months of the season under Claudio Ranieri’s reign.

With Jamie Vardy in stunning form, Romelu Lukaku enjoying the season of his life and Everton without three regular defenders, goals should certainly be the order of the day at Goodison Park.

Leicester may have one eye on their mouth-watering Champions League clash in Spain though, and this could prove costly on Saturday and allow Everton to re-ignite their late push for the top four.

Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.

English Premier League

Despite improvement, Everton should not rekindle Thomas Vermaelen interest

The Belgian defender has been in better form for Barcelona this season.



Rumours have emerged today suggesting Everton could be back in for Belgian defender Thomas Vermaelen.

Catalan newspaper Sport has reported that the 32-year-old could be offered a new deal by Barcelona, with a team from the Premier League interested in signing him.

Sport Witness has openly hypothesised that Everton could be that team. Whilst there is no confirmation or substantiated report that is the case, the boot certainly fits.

Last summer Everton tried to sign Vermaelen.

As reported by the Liverpool Echo, at the time Barcelona vetoed a loan move to Everton as they felt the defender could be a useful asset.

The Belgian certainly has. After struggling with injuries and form throughout most of his Barcelona tenure the former Arsenal man has enjoyed a good season.

The 32-year-old has been a genuine asset to the Catalans, despite still being used sparingly, and such form has even seen him win back a place in Roberto Martinez’s national selection for Belgium.

If it is Everton interested in Vermaelen it is easy to see why. Centre-back has been a major problem for the club this season.

However, Vermaelen, or a player of his ilk, is not the answer to the Toffees’ woes.

(Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

The Belgian is obviously a talented player with plenty of experience, but Everton need to freshen up their back-line.

Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka’s age has shown in recent months.

The pair have been, at the best, inconsistent for the past 18 months and Everton need fresh young talent in the heart of defence if they are to succeed.

Vermaelen is not only 32 but also immensely injury prone. Everton need reliable figures to plug their leaky defences and the Belgian can simply not be relied upon.

Whilst on paper it seems a good deal, and one Everton could certainly turn to their benefit.

The truth is supporters of the Goodison Park outfit will hope they are not the club reportedly keen on bringing Vermaelen back to the Premier League.

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English Premier League

Matty Foulds has not fulfilled two-year Everton promise

The one time ‘next John Stones’ has not lived up to his potential.



Photo: Getty Images

In November 2015, Everton agreed a deal to sign teenage defender Matty Foulds from Bury.

The then-17-year-old agreed to join Everton in January 2016 and was immediately hotly tipped for a bright future at Goodison Park.

As reported by the Liverpool Echo, the deal cost Everton £225,000 and the club expected him to be playing first-team football within the next two years.

Such high praise and expectation soon saw him earning the moniker of ‘next John Stones’, considering the England international’s rise from the Football League.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

So, it is now over two years since Foulds joined Everton and, as of yet, the first-team has not been calling.

The now 20-year-old defender has not yet made his first-team debut or even a matchday squad.

Foulds, who played just four times in Everton’s triumphant Premier League 2 Division One win last season, has not made the progress many at the club thought he might.

This season, he has established himself as a more regular feature, playing 11 times, mostly as a left-back, despite originally arriving as a ball-playing centre-half.

Foulds, whose current deal expires in the summer of 2019, has clearly not lived up to expectation just yet.

It could be he has fallen victim to the change of management at Everton. Roberto Martinez spoke highly of Foulds when signing him.

The Spaniard would have had a vision of him playing first-team football for Everton, but Ronald Koeman and Sam Allardyce may not share such expectancy. 

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Foulds also has plenty of competition at Goodison Park.

Last season he could not get past the likes of Antonee Robinson, Callum Connolly, Morgan Feeney and first-team regulars Matthew Pennington and Mason Holgate.

This campaign he has been a regular but has not featured in the club’s last four under-23 ties.

Lewis Gibson has been preferred at left-back with Foulds also struggling with injury.

It certainly appears as though Foulds has not lived up to the expectations Everton had for him when he first arrived.

Next season, contractually, is his last at Finch Farm and Foulds will need to massively improve if he is to have any long-term future at Goodison Park.

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English Premier League

Everton must secure Frank Fabra signing before World Cup

The Colombian is set to star at the World Cup with his nation.



Photo: Getty Images

Everton are currently being linked with a move for Colombian left-back Frank Fabra. According to Argentine radio station El Crack Deportivothe 27-year-old is being considered as the left-back option Everton need.

Everton have been lacking in the department this season. With Leighton Baines suffering injury trouble throughout the campaign, natural right-back Cuco Martina has done his best in the role. Everton thoroughly need a new left-back and Fabra is an impressive option.

(Photo by Gabriel Rossi/Getty Images)

The Boca Juniors defender was linked with Manchester United and Chelsea by Sky Italia’s Gianluca Di Marzio in 2016. A powerful full-back, he has all it takes to be a star in European football.

Everton are, therefore right, to be targeting the Boca star.  However, the Toffees must try to wrap up any potential deal before the World Cup in Russia this summer.

Fabra is looking increasingly likely to be Colombia’s first-choice at the competition. Pablo Armero has had his day and Fabra is the popular choice to play the role of left-back or left wing-back.

Colombia, who are in Group H with Japan, Poland and Senegal, have high hopes of going far in the competition. Four years ago they suffered a narrow quarter-final exit at the hands of Brazil.

(Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

Fabra will no doubt be key to any success that Colombia have in the competition and therefore will catch the eye.

Everton will be fully aware what a top World Cup performance can do to a player’s value. If the Toffees want to bring in Fabra doing so before the Russia World Cup could end up being a worthwhile cost-cutting exercise.

Regardless, Everton fans will just be pleased to hear that the club are starting to identify potential options to strengthen one of their weakest positions on the field, even if it is not a household name.

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