Leicester City 0:2 Everton
Two second half goals for Everton ensured a miserable Boxing Day for Leicester fans…
It was an unfamiliar line-up for City, with Vardy, Huth and Fuchs suspended, and Mahrez and Drinkwater on the bench. Okazaki, Gray, Wasilewski and Chilwell all made the starting XI.
City got off to a decent start, Amartey tested Robles with a long range effort, and then Gray received a clearance from Schmeichel, combined well with Albrighton and made room for a shot that went wide of the right hand post.
Everton were happy to sit back and let City have possession, and the game became deadlocked, notable only for a superb debut from Chilwell, who was solid in defence and a threat going forward.
The visitors began to push forward towards the break and created a couple of chances, Funes Mori heading over from close in, before Baines fired a low ball across the area that evaded the outstretched boot of Mirallas by a couple of inches.
So it was 0-0 at the break, with an understrength City side having just about edged the half.
Sadly that didn’t continue. With Drinkwater on for Okazaki, City attempted to apply some early pressure, but were hit with a sucker punch on the break in the 51st minute.
A huge clearance from keeper Robles saw Mirallas racing between Morgan and Wasilewski before sliding home a shot which was diverted past Schmeichel as Wasilewski attempted a late block.
City went in pursuit of an equaliser, but were making little impression going forward.
Claudio Ranieri made a couple of changes in the 64th minute, bringing on Mahrez for King and Ulloa for Gray. Boos rang out from the stands, with many fans thinking that Slimani should have been hooked, rather than Gray.
Ulloa’s first touch saw him get his head to a Simpson cross, but his effort went straight into Robles’ hands.
City struggled to create any clear cut chances after that, and Everton put the game beyond them with a second goal in injury time.
A ball from Barkley found Lukaku on the right, and he outmuscled Morgan before turning Wasilewski insideout and slotting past Schmeichel.
Claudio Ranieri commented: “We were in control but suddenly there was a long kick and we reacted a little late and they scored. After that we were nervous, and controlled the match much better. This season is this way – nothing is right, nothing is easy. We have to work and react. That’s our medicine. We have to stay together in the bad moment.”
City are now in a relegation battle and desperately need something from the West Ham game to end what was their greatest ever year on a high note.
Leicester: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Wasilewski, Chilwell; Gray (Ulloa 64), Amartey, King (Mahrez 64), Albrighton; Okazaki (Drinkwater 45), Slimani. Subs Not Used: Hernandez, Musa, Zieler, Mendy.
Everton: Joel, Baines, Funes Mori, Williams, Holgate, Coleman, Barry (Davies 68), Gana, Mirallas (Barkley 75), Lennon (Cleverley 88), Lukaku. Subs Not Used: Hewelt, Jagielka, Deulofeu, Valencia.
Referee: S Attwell. Attendance: 31,985.
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