Opposing views: Everton vs Leicester City fan preview
Roberto Martinez’s Everton host the over-achieving Leicester City in the Premier League this weekend. The Foxes were victorious over last year’s champions; Chelsea, on Monday night, and their continual superb displays mean that in some quarters, Ranieri’s side are now being genuinely discussed as title contenders.
Everton meanwhile are also on a very good run of form, remaining unbeaten in the league in quite some time and progressing to the semi-final stages of the Capital One Cup. Ross Barkley and Gérard Deulofeu are progressing at a great rate of knots, proving very useful in providing Romelu Lukaku with the ammunition to fire Everton up the league. In Robert Huth’s absence, the big Belgian should be The Toffees’ greatest weapon against Leicester City as they try to keep all three points away from the table-topping side.
Ahead of Saturday’s highly anticipated clash, we had two of our followers pen their thoughts:
The hosts: Everton
I’m Craig Harris, and I support my hometown club Everton! They have played attractive football this season, without really being able to grind out the results they perhaps deserve at times.
The past few fixtures are really just a microcosm of Everton’s season as a whole. We have played fluid football, scoring a lot of goals (With the growing partnership of Romelu Lukaku and Gerard Deulofeu) yet we cannot hold onto our leads and secure victories. In games against Bournemouth, Palace and Norwich to name but a few, our inability to put teams to the sword have cost us vital 3 points.
Manager Approval – 7/10
Roberto Martinez certainly has us playing with a lot more flair and confidence, and the development of our young players under his tenure (Lukaku, Deulofeu, Ross Barkley, John Stones, etc…!) is notable. However, we seemed to have lost a sort of grittiness that we had under Moyes. Games that we would have ground out 1-0, now finish with high scoring draws and could ultimately cost us European football. Martinez’s inability to replace out of form players (Such as Tim Howard), with squad members or new purchases is another infuriating facet to his management.
Predicted Starting Line-up
I would be very surprised if Martinez sways from the game plan as he certainly seems a creature of habit. 4-2-3-1 is his favoured formation and it’s no doubt we’ll see it again on Saturday. The line-up will also remain consistent to last week. Baines may feature ahead of Galloway if he if fully fit, and expect to see McCarthy slotted in instead of Cleverley if he is deemed able to play.
Player to watch – Romelu Lukaku
With 12 goals already this season, Lukaku is starting to develop into an outstanding Premier League striker. A growing relationship with Everton’s attacking players, in Deulofeu and Barkley, means Lukaku should be feared by Leicester’s defence. The Belgian is always a threat to add to his goal tally.
Most feared opposition player – Jamie Vardy
While Lukaku has to be Everton’s most feared player, it is undeniable the effect Vardy has had on Leicester’s fortunes this season. Having scored 11 goals in 11 games, beating Van Nistelrooy’s previous goalscoring record, Vardy has proven he can score against any side and is one to watch this weekend. Mahrez and Kante also deserve notable mentions.
3-2. I have to be an optimist and say that I believe Everton are going to perform on the day and come out with a win! With players such as Lukaku and Vardy, I believe this is going to be a high scoring affair, hopefully with Everton ultimately scoring more.
The visitors: Leicester
My name is George Hyde, I’m a Maths Student living in Derby. I’ve been a Leicester season ticket holder since the 04/05 season. My first games were the season before that in which we were relegated from the Premier league. Following Leicester has its ups and downs but the club has had a good few recent years despite the odd blip.
The performance against Chelsea was another top performance from the whole team. A couple of moments of magic won the game and despite Chelsea putting on lots of late pressure we held firm. Riyad Mahrez was incredible and Jamie Vardy won’t stop scoring. The defence has got a lot more solid since the earlier games this season. The work rate and spirit of the team is unbelievable.
Manager approval rating: 10/10
What else can you give when you’re top of the league? Claudio Ranieri seems to have added an extra dimension to the great foundations laid by Nigel Pearson.
Predicted starting line-up
I believe that Robert Huth picked up his fifth yellow card of the season so it’s likely Yohan Benalouane will come in. Danny Drinkwater sustained a hamstring injury in the Chelsea game meaning Andy King will likely take his place after his good showing coming off the bench. Gokhan Inler hasn’t had the chance to show enough of himself yet but the match against The Toffees could present him with the opportunity.
Player to watch: N’Golo Kante
Mahrez’s flair and Vardy’s goals will make the headlines but N’Golo Kante truly makes the team tick. He reads the game, wins every ball and gets the ball forward, he’s simply everywhere. Looks a steal at around £5 million.
Most feared opposition player: Romelu Lukaku
It has to be Romelu Lukaku. Without Huth I worry a little bit. We struggle when balls get put into our box and that’s what Lukaku loves. He’s on fire at the moment. Our biggest weakness is from set pieces and with Baines’ delivery, he’s sure to be a danger. I’m a big fan of Stones and the way he brings it out from the back.
2-1 Leicester. This will be one of the biggest tests of the season so far. I might be being optimistic thinking we’ll win against such a strong team away from home but the current run doesn’t seem like it wants to end. We are likely to sit a bit deeper than we usually would due to Everton’s quality in possession but one mistake from Everton and we’ll pounce. I expect us to concede from a set piece.
You can follow George on Twitter here: @ghyde1995
Featured Image: All rights reserved by Alex Hannam
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