Two sides who seem even at this early stage to be nailed on for an acceptable but disappointing mid-table finish meet in the East Midlands on Saturday afternoon. As Marco Silva brings his talented, exciting and lightweight Everton side to the home of the 2016 champions, home manager Claude Puel will hope his side can reel off a third consecutive win in the Premier League.
Everton improved last time out to thrash Premier League new boys Fulham 3-0. Two goals and a man-of-the-match display from Icelandic playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson marked another step in his continued improvement. City, meanwhile, were 2-0 winners at relegation-curious Newcastle United, and will hope that they can maintain their record of scoring in every game so far this season.
Leicester City vs Everton Prediction: Leicester City 2-1 Everton
These sides are evenly-matched enough that if the game were being played at Goodison Park, you could more or less reverse the predicted scoreline. There won’t be much in this, and Everton’s pacey Theo Walcott and Richarlison will pose problems for a Leicester back line that may well still include the increasingly glacial Wes Morgan. However, the hosts have attacking weapons of their own, and with Jamie Vardy allied to the hugely impressive James Maddison, ought to create enough to take all three points.
Our recommended tip: Leicester to win
Leicester’s home record up to this point has been extremely solid, with just one black mark in the form of a defeat by title contenders Liverpool. After sleep-walking through a dire last couple of months of the 2017/18 season, questions were raised over Puel’s ability to inspire a talented squad to be more than the sum of its parts. Those questions have been largely dispelled, and the club’s summer intake has included players, such as Maddison and Rachid Ghezzal, who have hit the ground running. At 5/4 to take all three points, the Foxes are very backable with 888sport.
These sides met twice last season, and split the points equally with both teams winning their home encounters. The first meeting, played in Leicester, ended 2-0 with Vardy and Demarai Gray both scoring within the game’s first half-hour. That meeting came during the ill-fated caretaker managerial reign of David Unsworth. By the time the clubs met again, he had been replaced by Sam Allardyce. A first-half double for Walcott essentially settled the game, and despite a 71st-minute Vardy penalty, the visitors never remotely threatened to complete the comeback, losing 2-1.
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Players to watch: Jamie Vardy & Gylfi Sigurdsson
Leicester’s present-day squad features no fewer than eleven players signed for eight-figure fees, but it is Vardy, who arrived for barely £1million, who remains their most reliable performer. Even in a relatively muted season in 2017/18, he scored twenty times in the league, and his penalty against Newcastle was the second of a season disrupted by a three-game suspension. He scored in both games against Everton last season, and you’d fancy him to notch again here.
Sigurdsson’s debut season in the blue of Everton was disrupted by Ronald Koeman’s obsession with fielding as many “Number 10s” as possible, and then by Sam Allardyce’s phobia for passing football. Under Silva, the Toffees play a game that suits the intelligent schemer, and with Walcott and Richarlison willing runners, now has the ideal teammates to get the best out of him. Leicester would ignore him at their peril.