Everton 2:3 Leicester City
City claimed their place at the top of the Christmas Tree with a 3-2 win over Everton at a soggy Goodison on Saturday…
Claudio Ranieri made three changes to his side, with Wasilewski in for the suspended Huth, and King replacing the injured Drinkwater.
Okazaki took his turn to partner Vardy up front ahead of Ulloa.
Wasilewski soon stepped up with an important clearance of a dangerous Deulofeu cross, while at the other end Okazaki made contact with an Albrighton cross to the near post but couldn’t direct his shot on target.
The in-form home side were enjoying a good spell as Albrighton to halt block a Deulofeu shot; Morgan pit in a masterful tackle on Kone; and Barkley sent a shot off target when well placed.
But it was City who took a 27th minute lead. Okazaki chased a nod-on from Vardy into the area and was brought down from behind by Mori. Mahrez’s halting run up eventually saw him place the spot-kick low to Howard’s right.
It was a lead that lasted only five minutes as Everton piled on the pressure. In a spell of frantic goalmouth action Barkley had one shot saved Schmeichel, and his follow up was headed off the line by King. The rebound fell for Lukaku, who blasted home a goal for the seventh consecutive Premier League game.
Okazaki missed the target with the final chance of the half and the sides went in at 1-1, a fair reflection of the game.
The first chance after the break fell to Everton, when a Coleman cross from the right turned into an on-target shot that Schmeichel had to tip over.
But City were still looking good and chances from King and Vardy went narrowly wide before City regained the lead in the 65th minute.
Mahrez sent Vardy charging into the area, and Howard got his timing wrong sending the England striker crashing to the ground.
Mahrez stepped up to beat Howard from 12 yards again, this time in the other corner, for his 13th Premier League goal this season.
Four minutes later City delighted their followers when Okazaki was teed up by Vardy for a neat finish to extend the lead to 3-1.
Everton tried to battle their way back into the game but didn’t manage goal until the 89th minute when Mirallas beat Schmeichel with a well-executed shot on the turn. But then City got through 4 minutes of injury time to claim their 11th win of the season.
That meant they would be spending Christmas Day at the top of the Premier League, a fantastic present for their supporters all over the world.
Claudio Ranieri emphasised the importance of his whole side: “When you do this kind of performance a lot of times, it is not only Vardy or Mahrez. Remember – even Maradona alone, did nothing. He needed other players around him. Together, we are producing as a very good team.”
Everton: Howard, Baines, Stones, Funes Mori, Coleman, Barry, Barkley, Cleverley, Deulofeu (Lennon 73), Kone (Mirallas 73), Lukaku. Subs Not Used: Robles, Gibson, Besic, Osman, Galloway.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Wasilewski, Fuchs, Mahrez (De Laet 83), Kanté, King, Albrighton (Dyer 71), Okazaki, Vardy (Ulloa 87). Subs Not Used: Kramarić, Benalouane, Schwarzer, Inler.
Referee: J Moss. Attendance: 39,570.
The FOX 196 – the December edition – is in the shops now…
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Featuring: The record breaking Jamie Vardy; an interview with former-City striker Kevin Phillips; Fully Programmed from Christmas 1984; Fox Diary with hardly a defeat in sight; the latest from the Foxes Trust; What’s happening on #lcfc Twitter, starring Christian Fuchs; Rewind goes back to Wembley 1996; Foxed in the Head – travels to Newcastle and recalls the time when we had to sell our best players; Simon Kimber is our guest columnist; John Hutchinson continues his series on City and World War II; our new series The History of Leicester City in 100 Objects begins; your letters and Bentley’s Roof; Parting Shots our favourite photos of the last month; and 40Something turns 50Something…
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