Everton beat Leicester City 2 – 0 as they climb 5th
Everton beat Leicester City 2 – 0 as they climb 5th . The visitors took the lead as Richarlison cut in from the left before beating Kasper Schmeichel with a low strike for his second Premier League goal of the season.
Everton scored in each half to beat fellow Champions League hopefuls Leicester and move back into the top five of the Premier League.
Moments later Jamie Vardy headed straight at Robin Olsen, making his second appearance of the season after Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti again rotated his goalkeepers, dropping England keeper Jordan Pickford to the bench.
The Toffees lost impressive midfielder Allan to what looked a hamstring injury just before the interval and Leicester pressed for an equaliser early in the second half.
But the early-season leaders doubled their advantage from a corner, with Schmeichel making a fine double-save only for defender Mason Holgate to stab in the rebound for his first Everton goal.
Leicester were then awarded a penalty for an Andre Gomes foul on fellow substitute Ayoze Perez but referee Lee Mason reversed his decision after viewing the pitchside monitor.
Perez then had a goal disallowed for offside as Leicester missed the chance to go top of the table before joint-leaders Liverpool and Tottenham face each other at Anfield. Are the Foxes genuine title contenders?
Approaching two years in charge, boss Brendan Rodgers has already turned Leicester from a mid-table side into Champions League hopefuls.
This time last year they were second in the Premier League and looked the only side capable of reeling in runaway leaders Liverpool.
But their collapse over the second half of last season started over the festive period, culminating in missing out on Champions League qualification on the final day.
This game, and the next two against Tottenham and Manchester United, offered an opportunity for Rodgers’ young side to show they are now capable of staying the distance and challenging for the title.
They made a bright start, with Youri Tielemans firing just wide from Vardy’s lay-off, but Everton gradually took control and Schmeichel should have done better when he pushed Richarlison’s 20-yard strike into the bottom corner.
Vardy wasted a great chance to hit straight back as he headed James Justin’s cross straight at Olsen, but Leicester only had one more shot on target.
Tielemans and James Maddison fired off-target early in the second half before Leicester were again undone at a set-piece. This season they have conceded more goals from corners than any other Premier League side (seven).
That must be addressed if they are to establish themselves as genuine title contenders – or will they be content to continue their progress this year by ensuring they do clinch a top-four finish?
Another clean sheet despite resting Pickford
Many had called for Pickford to be taken out of the line of fire when he was dropped to the bench after a tough spell earlier in October.
Ancelotti made it clear that it was not a permanent demotion, saying he still trusted Pickford and was “used to rotating the goalkeepers”.
And the Italian proved that by switching them again after Saturday’s win over Chelsea, when Pickford helped Everton keep their first clean sheet in the Premier League since the opening weekend of the season.
After his side struggled to adjust to the loss of influential full-backs Seamus Coleman and Lucas Digne to injury, Ancelotti experimented with a back three but has now shored up his defence after switching to a flat back four.
Olsen had to kick the ball clear early on as Everton almost played themselves into danger, but otherwise the Sweden international was well protected.
That steady back four also provided the platform for the Toffees to threaten going forward, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin twice going close in the first half.
Holgate then pounced for the second goal immediately after Michael Keane and Calvert-Lewin were denied, before Gylfi Sigurdsson fired over as the Toffees secured a second straight clean sheet.
Everton have ensured the momentum from their fine start has not been lost and, just shy of his first anniversary at Goodison Park, Ancelotti aims to follow Rodgers’ lead by turning his side into Champions League hopefuls.
Everton host Arsenal on Saturday (17:30 GMT) before facing Manchester United in the EFL Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday (20:00).
Leicester visit Tottenham on Sunday (14:15), followed by a home game with Manchester United on 26 December (12:30).
Source – BBC News