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Everton end Leicester’s winning run

Everton 4:2 Leicester City

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A City starting XI with one eye on Wednesday’s Champions League quarter-final were beaten 4-2 by Everton at Goodison on Sunday…

With TV scheduling forcing City to play three days before one of the biggest games in the club’s history Craig Shakespeare had a balancing act to pull off, and made five changes to his starting line-up. Fuchs, Simpson, Okazaki, Ndidi and Mahrez were replaced by Chilwell, Amartey, Albrighton, King and Slimani.

They didn’t get off to a great start, with Everton taking the lead after just 31 seconds.
Mirallas cut through City’s back-line with a strong run down the middle before Amartey brought him down on the edge of the area. Referee Bobby Madley allowed play to continue,  Davies seized on the loose ball and produced a neat finish to beat Schmeichel.
City’s defence were still looking shaky two minutes later when Lukaku set up Mirallas with a fine ball from the right, but he miscontrolled and wasted the chance.
However, by the fourth minute City were level. Gray charged forward on the break and picked out an unmarked Slimani who slotted a cool finish through Robles’ legs.
By the 10th minute City were ahead. Vardy was fouled on the left. Albrighton swung in the free-kick and the ball flew over everyone, including Robles, and found the top right hand corner.

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It had been an incredible turn around by City and Gray went on another run four minutes later, but his shot didn’t have enough zip to trouble Robles.
But the home side levelled matters in the 23rd minute. Barkley delivered a superb cross from the right and a slackly marked Lukaku only had to apply his head to it to make it 2-2.
There was a flare up in the 28th minute when Mirallas objected to a challenge by Huth and ill-advisedly grabbed a handful of the big German’s shirt. Both players were yellow-carded.
Everton were running the game up to the break and regained their lead in the 41st minute. Barkley broke free on goal, and rounded Schmeichel who somehow managed to get a last ditch hand to his shot on goal.
But it was a temporary reprieve, as Mirallas swung in a fine corner kick and Jagielka rose above a weak Benalouane challenge to head home and give Everton a half time lead.

Everton continued to look threatening in the second half, with Lukaku, Mirallas and Barkley all on top form.
City were restricted to the occasional chance, and Slimani had a shot deflected just wide.
Everton sealed victory in the 57th minute when City conceded from another corner.
Mirallas whipped the flag kick in from the left,  Jagielka got a touch to it and the ball fell nicely for Lukaku to fire home his second at the far post.
Soon after this goal, Mahrez and Musa replaced Gray and Vardy, but it was another sub, Ulloa who almost made an instant impact in the 78th minute.
Mahrez ook a corner from the right and Ulloa’s first touch, a thumping header, struck Gueye when it looked goalbound.
Ulloa then got his head to a Mahrez cross, but Robles made a fine reaction save before Jagielka hooked the ball clear.
But this game was over long before the end and Craig Shakespeare’s six game winning run was at an end.
The fifteen points earned since he took over meant that this game could be sacrificed to an extent, and no one could blame Shakespeare for planning around next Wednesday night with his team selection.

Madrid, here we come…

Everton: Robles, Holgate, Pennington, Jagielka, Baines, Gana, Schneiderlin (Barry 73), Davies, Barkley, Lukaku, Mirallas. Subs Not Used: Valencia, Stekelenburg, Calvert-Lewin, Lookman, Kenny, Williams.
Leicester: Schmeichel, Amartey, Benalouane, Huth, Chilwell, Albrighton (Ulloa 78), King, Drinkwater, Gray (Mahrez 61), Slimani, Vardy (Musa 61). Subs Not Used: Kapustka, Simpson, Zieler, Wasilewski.

Referee: R Madley. Attendance: 39,573. 

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Leicester comeback at Everton secures 4th round place

Everton 1:2 Leicester City

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City fought back to make it to the fourth round of the FA Cup after trailing 1-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday…

Claudio Ranieri made five changes to his starting line-up, handing a debut to new signing Ndidi, and bringing Drinkwater, Chilwell, Albrighton and Gray in.
In the opening exchanges Schmeichel easily dealy with an on-target shot from Funes Mori, while Ulloa got his head to a Gray cross but was wide of the far post by a yard.
Ndidi, already impressing in midfield, then forced a save from Robles with a low drive.
The lively Gray then had an angled shot blocked by Robles, before Everton began to get the upper hand.
Baines had a shot blocked by Albrighton, and then Funes Mori got on the end of a Williams nod down, but sent his shot over from close in.
As Everton continued to threaten, Schmeichel got a hand to a Valencia chip from the left but only as far as  Lukaku, who sent his header well wide.
Ten minutes before the break, Ulloa had to go off with a thigh problem, with Musa replacing him up front. With Slimani in Africa and Vardy ill, City’s attacking options were threadbare, but Musa was to step up magnificently.

City began the second half on the front foot, Drinkwater and Simpson both missing the target with long range efforts, and Morgan finding room for a header from a corner, but it went straight at Robles.
However, it was the home side who were to take a 63rd minute lead. Deulofeu outpaced Chilwell down the right and his low cross presented Lukaku with a tap in.
But this lead only lasted three minutes, as City struck back. An Albrighton ball sent Gray down the left and his low cross found Musa, arriving at the near post. His shot span up off Baines and hit the left hand post before Musa managed to bundle it over the line as Robles scrambled back.
Four minutes later the travelling contingent were celebrating again as City took the lead.
Musa was 22 yards out when he exchanged passes with Drinkwater and threaded his way through the defence, before producing a neat finish past Robles.
City’s defence held firm for the remainder of the game, with a Mirallas shot that went narrowly wide being Everton’s best chance.
City could have made it 3-1 when Kapustka, making his first appearance as sub in the 84th minute, didn’t test Robles with a shot when well placed.

Claudio Ranieri singled out two players for praise: “Musa was excellent. I’ve watched him recently and think he is starting to understand English football better. Ndidi trained just two training sessions with us but played with fantastic personality. He recovered a lot of balls and played well. For 20 years old to make his first game against Everton, it’s unbelievable.”

Everton: Robles, Baines, Williams, Funes Mori, Holgate (Deulofeu 46), Coleman, Davies, Barry, Barkley (Kone 75), Valencia (Mirallas 61), Lukaku. Subs Not Used: Hewelt, Jagielka, Oviedo, Cleverley. 
Leicester: Schmeichel, Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Chilwell, Mendy, Ndidi, Drinkwater, Gray (Fuchs 77), Albrighton (Kapustka 84), Ulloa (Musa 34). Subs Not Used: Zieler, Hernández, James, Okazaki. 
Referee: M Atkinson. Attendance: 35,493.
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Sweet win against Toffees sees Leicester top for Christmas

Everton 2:3 Leicester City

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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.

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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.

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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.

PHOTO: @fuchsofficial.

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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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