LEICESTER CITY 0 EVERTON 2
Match Report by Paul Weston
Another game loomed on the horizon for City after the emphatic victory and performance against Brighton – a welcome home win. Everton were the opponents – a strong side and also fresh from their defeat of Chelsea. Evans had received his fifth and needless yellow card, and therefore one match suspension, in the Brighton match so that left Rodgers with a headache in defence.
His solution was to bring Ndidi back into defence alongside Fofana with Justin and Fuchs alongside. None of our walking wounded (Ricardo, Soyuncu, Castagne, Amartey) were even on the substitutes bench. Under started a Premier League match from the beginning. The prize, albeit temporary, was that a win would take City to the top of the league. Would City grasp the opportunity with both hands or fall at the first hurdle? You know the rest!
City started brightly with a move involving Barnes and Vardy with Tielemans shotting narrowly wide. Mendy received a very early booking. A red card later was a worry especially as Lee Mason, the referee, continued to make some very strange decisions throughout the match.
It did not take long for Everton to exert their authority over City. Everton is a strong, tall and well organised side and every corner was a threat. It did not take long for Everton to score. Richarlison cut in from the left with Justin in his wake and shot from long distance. It was a shot we normally expect Kasper to save but it crept into the goal off his outstretched hand. Immediately after Vardy should have scored when he instead headed straight at Olsen from a great Justin cross.
As the match progressed Barnes was shackled on the wing and Maddison and Tielemans became less influential, slow and ponderous. Chances were not being created whereas Everton had realised that Fuchs, a fantastic player for City but perhaps asked to play too many games, was a weak link against Iwobi.
Everton continued to frustrate City who moved the ball too slowly across the pitch rather than through the Everton lines. This always allowed Everton to drop back into position and catch City on the counter attack.
City started the second half more incisively with Justin more apparent on the right and sending in some dangerous crosses. Nothing transpired so Rodgers brought on Perez for Under who had had moments of skill but no real impression. City seemed to increase in intensity and Maddison shot over the bar from a good move started by Barnes.
Then, just as City might make a breakthrough, Everton scored again. It was, predictably, from a corner and, although Kasper made a superb double save Holgate stuck in the rebound. Why are we so hopeless at corners? We cannot keep them out and we cannot score from our own corners!
With about ten minutes to go Perez was brought down from behind by Gomes and Mason indicated a penalty. VAR was not very conclusive in my opinion but he overturned the decision. Soon after Perez scored but from an offside decision.
I would like to say that we threw the kitchen sink at Everton to try and turn the score around but it did not work out like that. It seemed like the players ran out of ideas on how to get through Everton’s well drilled defence. The match ended rather tamely with a 2-0 defeat. Although all the players tried their best no-one stood out and it was all a bit flat. Some, for example Maddison, Tielemans and Barnes, were very disappointing. Perhaps the fixture list had caught up on the players.
The next match on Sunday is away and against Spurs, fresh from their last minute defeat against Liverpool. Kane will undoubtedly score against us, as he always does, but perhaps an away match might suit City better. A comparison of two counter attacking teams will be interesting.
On thing is certain – 4 defeats out of 7 at home so far this season is poor and I would like to think that the City fans, when allowed back in the King Power stadium, will urge the players onto better performances than this one.
City: Schmeichel (c); Justin Fofana, Ndidi, Fuchs; Mendy (Iheanacho 73), Tielemans, Ünder (Perez 61), Maddison Barnes; Vardy. Subs not used: Ward, Morgan, Albrighton, Praet, Thomas
Booked: Fuchs, Mendy
The views expressed in this report are the opinions of the Trust member nominated to file the report only and do not represent the views of the Foxes Trust organisation