A four-game Premier League schedule on Wednesday brings the curtain up on July and followers of the top flight of English football have a frantic few weeks ahead. Games come thick and fast this month before the season is ended on 26 July, making way for UEFA’s Champions League and Europa League finals to take centre stage. On this page, we concentrate on matters at Goodison Park where Everton take on Leicester City from 18:00 GMT.
This will be the third match the season involving these sides following a league game at the King Power Stadium exactly seven months ago when Leicester won 2-1 thanks to a deciding goal scored on 90 minutes. An EFL Cup match at this venue in December produced a stunning 2-2 draw before Leicester went on to win 4-2 on penalties. A lot to live up to but followers hope this renewal provides the same drama.
Everton are stuck in the bottom half of the table and don’t have much to aim for in the closing weeks. A top 10 finish is still possible and would be the best fans can hope for. Leicester are unbeaten in their last three league games and are well placed to finish in the top four, qualifying for next season’s Champions League. To achieve that they must continue their good recent form, taking something from Wednesday’s trip.
Everton close to beating champions
Everton have 41 points on the board with their season stats reading 11 wins and 8 draws against 12 defeats. The Toffees have scored 38 goals so far, which is eight more than Sheffield United up in eighth place. They have conceded 46 goals, however, and that is four more than Newcastle United down in 14th. The locals have managed just one win in their last five league games and, as a result, now have little hope of pushing themselves into the top six European places. The 2019/20 campaign will go down as another disappointment for Everton, another campaign where the squad under-performed. Pressure is now on manager Carlo Ancelotti to get things right.
Their last five results show two draws, two defeats and a win with the spare coming in their most recent outing. The home team returned from lockdown with a useful draw at home to Liverpool on 21 June. It was a match the Reds were expected to win so full credit must go to Everton for keeping the champions at bay for 90 minutes. Liverpool may have been pre-match favourites for victory, but they needed a late save from Allison to ensure they avoided defeat at the home of their great rivals. Ancelotti thought his men deserved to score a memorable win.
They were last seen picking up what was the club’s 11th win of the season when beating lowly Norwich City at Carrow Road last Wednesday. With the Canaries stuck to the foot of the table and running down the clock before being relegated to the Championship, it was a match most followers of the division expected Everton to win. They did get the three points, but it was just a little too close for comfort in the end. Keane scored the only goal of the game early in the second half to spare the blushes of his teammates who really should’ve done better.
Leicester unbeaten in their last three
Leicester City are third in the Premier League and won’t finish any higher than that. They sat second for much of the season and rated as the main danger to Liverpool’s title but a lack of consistency in 2020 cost them dear. Their stats read 16 wins and 7 draws against 8 defeats, scoring 59 goals, and conceding 29. They have 55 points on the board, leaving the Foxes eight behind Man City in second. Leicester have also won only one of their last five league starts.
That unconvincing run of form has left the door open for Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers to stage a late challenge. A top-four finish will grant Leicester access to the riches of Champions League football next season. The fact Man City are barred from UEFA’s top tournament means the side finishing fifth may also bag a spot. Heading into the week and Leicester are just one point better than Chelsea and three ahead of Wolves in fifth. Tighter than manager Brendan Rodgers would have imagined at this stage following his side’s strong start.
The locals are unbeaten in three, winning one and drawing the other two. They returned from lockdown with a 1-1 share in London at Watford and followed that with a goalless finish at home to Brighton last Tuesday. Leicester had chances to win that match but lacked the killer instinct needed to finish off a determined opponent. They finished with only two shots on target all evening despite 11 shots at goal. One to forget for all concerned.
Everton vs Leicester prediction
Leicester have the better recent form and have more to play for here as they are involved in a race for a top-four finish. The chance to enter next season’s Champions League should ensure the visitors are focussed and ready to do battle at Goodison Park.
It’s worth noting that these sides have a combined four draws in their last four league games, Leicester drawing their last two. A share of the spoils may be a decent result to those in the home dressing room, but it will ramp up the pressure on the Foxes who need to keep Chelsea at arm’s length this month. The draw is a real possibility.
Premier League odds
Everton to win at home in midweek is available at 31/20 in the pre-match betting. Those preferring to place their trust in the higher-ranked Leicester City can have 9/5 for the away win. A draw has been priced at 9/4.
Taking yes in the both teams to score market will give backers a shot at 4/5. No in the same market is a 9/10 option.