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Everton vs Leicester City: Match Preview

Everton look to avenge their early-season draw as they take on Leicester at Goodison Park

Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

February 21, 2015 2:05 pm BST, 9:05 am EST

TV Info - Live Soccer TV

Referee - Phil Dowd

Assistant Referees - Peter Kirkup and Gary Beswick

Fourth Official - Andre Marriner

The Toffees began their 2014/15 campaign against Leicester City and who knew it would be an early sign of the season to come. Goals from Aiden McGeady and Steven Naismith gave Everton a 2-1 lead heading into the final minutes of the match, but the squad allowed a late equalizer from Chris Wood andhad to settle for a draw. This would be a recurring theme in Everton's season, playing down to lesser competition and leaving points on the table. Everton now have the chance to grab all three points from a Leicester team sitting comfortably at the bottom of the table.

Team News

After a solid performance against Young Boys, Bryan Oviedo will miss Sunday's clash after suffering a hamstring injury. It is not believed to be serious, but he is still being listed as doubtful. Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar played in this weeks U-21 match, but are not likely to be rushed back into first team action. Leighton Baines will be available to play after sitting out the last few games with a knee injury. Gareth Barry will also miss this week's match after being sent off in Everton's previous game against Chelsea. Slowly but surely Everton are getting back to full health, let's hope it stays that way.

The Opposition

Leicester City have no exactly been having a good time in the Premier League this season. They are currently dead last in the table with no sign of them getting out of the drop zone. Promising performances against Manchester United and Tottenham have been followed by several losing streaks and have currently lost their last four matches. The Foxes will also be without starting goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel who is down with a foot injury. Regardless of current position, this is a team that Everton should not sleep on. They still have Esteban Cambassio, who at 34 years-old is still a fine player, and Leonard Ulloa is always dangerous in front of goal.

What to Watch For

Can Everton finally find some consistency in their play? Too many times this season, the Toffees have followed up a great performance with a dismal one. After a 4-1 drubbing of Young Boys, this team should surely go into this game with the same fire that we saw on Wednesday. Regardless of the short rest, this team is deep enough to field a team that can beat Leicester and do it handily. Look for players like Aaron Lennon, Christian Atsu and Muhamed Besic to minutes in this match.

Everton need to assert themselves early and often if they hope to get a positive result from this game. Too many times this season, this team has been content to pass the ball around with no real intent on actually scoring. Possession is nice, but it doesn't matter if it doesn't produce goals. The Toffees can't be afraid to be more direct if the game gets to stagnant and scoring a goal or two early should certainly help their chances at a victory.

Tim Howard needs to gain back the confidence of the Everton faithful. He let an easy goal past him on Wednesday and support seems to be waning among the fan base. He did make up for his error with some great saves but he needs to be more consistent overall. Howard has been a very good keeper throughout his career and I expect that he will bounce back from what has been a tough season for him. Roberto Martinez is insistent that Howard will be his first-choice keeper and I imagine he is looking to reward the manager's faith in him

The Final Word

On paper, this is a game that Everton should have no problem winning, but then again we lost to Hull City 2-0 a few weeks ago. The Toffees need to put some more space between themselves and the relegation zone and this is a game to do it. They need to be aggressive throughout the game and score the goals that we all know they are capable of scoring. Everton play like a top-5 team in the Europa League and they need to bring that skill and mentality in to their Premier League fixtures.