Frank Lampard finally changed his preferred starting lineup as he brought in Dwight McNeil in place of Anthony Gordon in an otherwise unchanged XI for Everton’s last home game before the World Cup break, with Leicester City the visitors in the early evening kickoff.
McNeil lined up on the left flank. Seamus Coleman retained his spot as Nathan Patterson works his way back to match sharpness.
Team is: Pickford; Coleman, Coady, Tarkowski, Mykolenko; Iwobi, Gueye, Onana; Gray, Calvert-Lewin, McNeil.
The Blues began proceedings energetically enough, showing a high-press which caused Leicester some problems. Gana forces a turnover three minutes in, lay-off from DCL plays Iwobi in for a right-footed shot which he fires wide past the right-hand post. He really should be hitting the target, that was a great chance. Everton are committed to playing out from the back and are doing so effectively, beating the visitor’s press.
Leicester are also doing well evading pressure and half-chances for the Foxes are mounting.
Gueye goes down hurt, but is able to continue after treatment. It’s a shame as he’s started the game well and is acting as a fulcrum for Everton’s efforts to pass the ball through the centre.
Wout Faes is dealing very well with DCL aerially and the Blues struggle to make anything happen when the go long.
Youri Tielemans is dropping deep to evade Everton’s attempts to mark him and looking to orchestrate play.
From around midway through the half, the Foxes gain control and the Blues have lost the composure on the ball they showed in the opening stages.
Everton are giving up chances on the counterattack, which is a worry. In the 43rd minute, Onana is robbed of the ball, which the home side fail to clear properly, Maddison feeds Tielemans on the edge of the ball who beats Pickford with ease with a composed finish.
Everton come out recharged for the second half. Lampard has withdrawn Gueye for James Garner. In the 48th minute, Gray wins the ball and links up with Iwobi, who puts DCL through on goal but his shot is well stopped by Danny Ward.
The Toffees continue to press but are finding it difficult to penetrate the final third. Leicester are sitting deep and looking to break on the counter. they are getting plenty of opportunities and Maddison hits the post.
Worries for the home fans as Calvert-Lewin is subbed off with what looks like a thigh problem after an hour. Neal Maupay replaces him and Abdoulaye Doucoure is on for Onana at the same time. DCL heads straight to the dressing room.
Last roll of the dice for Frank as he brings on Gordon and Patterson for McNeil and Coleman.
The hosts continue to push forward and do force some turnovers in possession, but they lack the guile, movement or final ball to open up a Leicester outfit that are camped in deep now.
The visitors kill the game completely in the the 86th minute. Doucoure loses the ball in the opposition half, Barnes breaks down the Blues left, Maddison picks up the ball and feeds the winger who has cut infield, turns Doucoure and fires home past a despairing Pickford.
Everton showed plenty of intent and effort today, but where unable to capitalise on a number of occasions when they were able to rob Leicester of possession.
Structurally, the plan seemed to be to sit on Tielemans and Maddison and this worked for a time but the players are clever and it’s tough to carry this out for the full 90 minutes. After 20-25 minutes both started to impact the game and from then on the Blues looked susceptible to counterattacks and nice balls over the top from deep.
Gueye was instrumental in Everton’s attempts to play out from the back early on but seemed to be effected by the knock which seemingly caused his withdrawal at the interval.
McNeil combined well with the impressive Mykolenko in the early stages but gradually drifted out of the game. It was left for Iwobi alone to create chances for the team.
The side looked very vulnerable to balls down the channels or through the middle once their high press had been bypassed.
Calvert-Lewin was easily handled by the excellent Faes, who dominated aerially.
This was a bad loss for Everton, who gave up plenty of chances whilst failing to create a lot themselves.
The potential loss of Calvert-Lewin casts a shadow over the whole match, given Everton’s lack of effective strike power.