Everton’s pivotal encounter with Leicester City deserved fireworks for the neutral and hysteria for the invested. Despite scoring first away from home for just the fourth time this season via a Dominic Calvert-Lewin penalty, the Toffees quickly threw the lead away by allowing a weak Çağlar Söyüncü equalizer from a set-piece and then a blistering Jamie Vardy counter attack which started with a poor giveaway by Alex Iwobi.
The Nigerian would make up for his mistake, however, as his composed half-volley beat Iversen in the 54th minute to draw the game level at two apiece. Although there were plenty of chances for both teams after that, neither could take advantage and the game ended in a draw which wasn’t particularly helpful for either team.
Although a point on the road isn’t something to be sneered at from an Everton point of view with their away record this season, it’s hard to think of this as anything but a missed opportunity given the flow of the game. Everton had 23 shots to Leicester’s 15, 8 on target to Leicester’s 6, and 18 shots inside the box to Leicester’s 9. Although the Toffees could have very easily lost the game, they also could have very easily won.
Here are 5 Telling Stats from Everton’s breathtaking draw at Leicester City.
1. Crucially Chaotic Clash
When someone says “a relegation six-pointer”, your first instinct is to imagine a cagey game in which chances are at a premium due to both teams prioritizing defense as a basis for survival. Monday’s relegation six-pointer, however, was the complete opposite. From the off, the game was very open, and both teams looked like scoring early and often. That trend never ended, and although “only” four goals were scored, it could have been much, much more. It’s safe to say the neutrals enjoyed it, although Everton and Leicester fans probably could’ve gone without the heart palpitations that this match incited.
Leicester 2-2 Everton— Opta Analyst (@OptaAnalyst) May 1, 2023
Leicester (3.5) vs Everton (3.3) produced the highest combined xG for a Premier League game this season (6.8).
The fight for Premier League survival is heating up! pic.twitter.com/JxCbA0XX0q
2. The Foreman’s Favoritism
In each of Sean Dyche’s first four games as Everton manager, he selected the center-back partnership of Conor Coady and James Tarkowski. That led to 2 wins, 2 clean sheets, and just 4 goals conceded. However, Dyche then decided to replace Coady with his former Burnley player Michael Keane. Everton have conceded 20 goals in the 10 games since then, keeping just two clean sheets and winning just once as a result. However, Dyche continues to select Michael Keane, despite having two superior players in that position on the bench in Yerry Mina and the aforementioned Conor Coady. That decision cost Everton yet again today, and it could have been worse if Jordan Pickford hadn’t saved the penalty that Keane conceded in first half stoppage time. More on that in the next paragraph!
Michael Keane has made 198 appearances for Everton, that's more than:— Luke (@_luke1878_) May 1, 2023
And nearly as many as:
Mikel Arteta (209)
Sylvain Distin (210)
3. Pickford’s Protection
After Jordan Pickford’s crucial penalty save on James Maddison, photos immediately surfaced on Twitter of Pickford’s water bottle, and how it stated that Maddison goes down the middle on 60% of his penalties. Pickford wisely did not move, and easily palmed away his fellow England international’s attempt from 12 yards. Pickford’s research paid off massively, and effectively saved the game for the Toffees. If the former Norwich man had scored, the game would’ve effectively died along with Everton’s survival hopes. However, the save kept the door open and Alex Iwobi’s composed equalizer early in the second half kept Everton alive for the time being. A loss would’ve been the final nail in the Toffees’ coffin, but for now they still have life.
James Maddison is the first opposition player to miss a penalty against #EFC since Fulham's Ivan Cavaleiro in Nov 2020, ending a run of 11 converted penalties.— EFC Statto (@EFC_Statto) May 1, 2023
Maddison's miss was also the first penalty Pickford has saved for Everton since March 2019 (Matt Ritchie vs Newcastle).
4. Agonizing Away Form
There’s not really much to say about this stat other than how it is representative of exactly why Everton are currently sat 19th. Their only away win of the season came at St. Mary’s Stadium back on October 1st; a game I was lucky enough to attend. That was 212 days ago. Dating back to last year’s defeat at the Emirates, Everton have won just one out of their last 18 games away from Goodison Park. That is staggeringly bad, but the worst part is that they will need one or two in the coming weeks to avoid relegation.
Everton have the longest active winless streak away from home in the Premier League:— William Hill (@WilliamHill) May 1, 2023
13 is definitely unlucky for them.
5. Probability Progress
After Everton’s crushing 4-1 loss to Newcastle, their odds of being relegated stood at 75% according to FiveThirtyEight’s Simulation Model. Now, after favorable results elsewhere and a point gained away from home, those odds have dropped to 63%. That is still way too large of a number for any sort of comfort, but it’s a slight improvement. Should the Toffees pull off a shock win against high-flying Brighton and Hove Albion next Monday, however, that number will certainly plummet. There’s still hope, but it’s always the hope that kills you. UTFT.