Everton captain Seamus Coleman was in the starting lineup after missing three games with a hamstring injury. Mason Holgate had served his suspension, meaning Andros Townsend and Ruben Vinagre were Everton’s only absentees. Amadou Onana was moved to the bench with James Garner taking his place.
Leicester City made three changes to the side that drew 1-1 at Leeds. Jamie Vardy replaced the injured Kelechi Iheanacho. Wilfred Ndidi returned to the middle of the park, replacing Tete, while Luke Thomas was in for Victor Kristiansen at left-back.
Michael Oliver was officiating this fixture for the first time as he blew the whistle to get things underway. A great start from Everton saw their pressure on Leicester having a positive effect. Two early corners put Leicester on the back foot and it was a nice ball from Doucoure in the 14th minute to Calvert Lewin that caused Foes to take him down and a penalty was awarded. The onslaught continued but a free kick from Madison ended up on the foot of Soyuncu ended up in the back of the net. All square again.
The goal did not slow Everton’s willingness to go forward but a poor back pass from Iwobi was intercepted by Tielemans who put a slide rule pass to Vardy who broke in alone and easily went round Pickford. The home crowd were in full voice and Leicester were out of the relegation zone. A nice move down the right side saw Coleman pull the ball back and McNeil could not beat Iverson. It was then down the left side and this time it was McNeil putting it into the path of Calvert-Lewin and he should have scored.
Vardy broke away again but this time he could not beat Pickford. Tragedy struck for Coleman as he went in for a tackle and ended up being stretchered off with a knee injury. Potentially his last moment in the royal blue shirt. Things went from bad to worse as Michael Keane used his arm to block a cross and Leicester were given a penalty. James Maddison stepped up, but Pickford made the save. The half arrived and Everton had 14 attempts on net compared to only 5 for Leicester. Thankfully, it was only 2-1.
The second half kicked off and the initial pace was somewhat slower. Everton took 7 minutes to get their first big chance and it fell to Calvert-Lewin who had his shot stopped by Iverson’s outstretched leg. That was not to be true when McNeil crossed and the ball fell to Iwobi who hit it beautifully into the far corner. An early birthday present to Iwobi who turns 27 tomorrow! Gana Gueye then went into the referee’s book for a challenge on Maddison.
Everton piled forward again but it was Tarkowski who cleared the ball off the line to stop Vardy’s header. Leicester needed a win as much as Everton and the arrival of Daka signalled this need. The game went from end to end with neither team getting any real chances. The last 20 minutes arrived and the tired legs were starting to show.
A big chance fell to Doucoure who rifled a shot goalward only to have Iverson get down and palm the ball away. Everton was controlling the play but couldn’t get the ball across the line and Michael Oliver blew the whistle and gave both teams the chance to catch their breath.
Everton Man of the Match: Alex Iwobi
The complete absence of both Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate was a bit of a surprise but it could only be an indication that Sean Dyche had had it with them. Godfrey was at fault on multiple goals in the last couple of matches and Holgate’s red card was unforgivable. Dyche has never been shy to make a point and is supportive of those players who step up when required.
Twenty good minutes away from home like at Newcastle did nothing in the end and Sean Dyche touched on that point in his pre-match comments. Everton’s lead was well deserved but the goal from Söyüncü turned the tide and Leicester’s two quick goals put the start well into the past. Dyche stressed the need for consistency over 95 minutes and once again we did that for 20. Thankfully today, we got things back on track and recovered to get a valuable point.
Big errors have cost this team over and over again. Today, it was Alex Iwobi who had a MOTM performance made a poor choice and tried to pass through the middle only to be intercepted and the resulting goal could have been prevented. That could also be levelled on the incredible miss by Calvert-Lewin in the first half. The cross from McNeil was perfect and the goal was gaping. How he missed I still don’t know. Too often, a lack of quality has been our downfall and the goals that Leicester scored were from our errors rather than their quality.
Everton had not come from behind in any game this season and were behind after 25 minutes. Their last away win was at Southampton in October. Sean Dyche had never won a match at the King Power Stadium in 9 attempts. They have had 2 wins in 33 away goal before today. In the end, a draw was a good result with all of these facts.
Seamus Coleman was stretchered off the field just as the first half was ending. The injury looked quite bad and that may have been his last moment on the pitch for this Everton legend as his contract expires in the summe. He has played more than 400 games and has been the heart and soul of the team from the moment he joined us for 150 thousand pounds from Sligo Rovers. Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery but we will always be grateful for his service to this club.