Leicester have a few big personnel problems as key figures Vardy, Huth and Fuchs all serve suspensions, leaving the team notably weaker. Things could get worse if Drinkwater doesn’t pass fit, though he has resumed training. He’ll be a late decision but is likely ok to start. Luis Hernandez and Chilwell step into a weakened defence, while Okazaki is the natural replacement for Vardy up front. Even with personnel issues, they’ll believe they can defeat an Everton side struggling away from home. They’ll start at a bright tempo and look to repeat the performance of their previous home game, not wanting to invite pressure onto a makeshift defence early on. A draw would satisfy given the team news, but they need a win to really pull away from the bottom three. If they got ahead they would become more reactive and counter-attacking, being happy to allow Everton possession before breaking at speed, though without Vardy’s pace their ability to stretch the game is a little limited. Chasing will be difficult without taking some risks, so if they do go behind they would open up, but would be happy to take a point and at least maintain some momentum.
Everton need to make one change from their loss to Liverpool as McCarthy sits out injured, but he can be comfortably replaced by Barry. Stekelenburg is a more considerable doubt with a dead leg, but the hope is he will be fit, though a late fitness test decides his involvement. Mirallas could step in for Valencia in a positive move in the final third, trying to test the Leicester back line. The loss to Liverpool will have hurt, but they’ll be determined to bounce back quickly against a Leicester side struggling without some key players. Away form has been poor though, so they won’t be too confident of securing all three points, with a draw being an acceptable outcome. They’ll try and be positive to work a makeshift opposition defence early, but keeping a balance will be important. The opening goal will be important for their confidence, as if they go behind they may struggle mentally, given their poor form on the road so far. They’d attack more and open the game up, but a full turnover would be difficult. Getting ahead allows them to control the game and force Leicester out, which will give them space to play into with direct passes up field on the counter.
Verdict & Prediction
Leicester managed to pick up a valuable away point last time out, ending their run of defeats on the road, with morale being raised as the result came after being reduced to 10 men. They’re much stronger at home and will believe a win is possible, even being without some key men. They’re still hovering above the relegation zone, having not followed up last season’s successes to any degree. They’ll still have the vocal backing of the supporters and will only be really happy with a win, though a draw under the circumstances isn’t a disaster and would be taken.
Prediction: Leicester +0.00 AH (same as Draw no bet)
Odds: 1.80 Pinnacle