Everton – Leicester City: James Rodriguez and Youri Tielemans scored from distance as rusty Everton split the spoils 1-1 with Leicester City at Goodison Park on Wednesday.
Leicester out-attempted Everton 18-8 as the Toffees played their first Premier League match since Jan. 12 but the Foxes will rue missed chances that kept them third, two points back of leaders Manchester City.
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Everton is seventh with 33 points — eight off the top — but has played at least one fewer match than five of the six teams ahead of it on the table.
Three things we learned from Everton – Leicester City
1. Moment of magic helps rusty Toffees: Everton had gone a while without a match thanks to postponed matches and Carlo Ancelotti’s men had a number of rusty moments at home to the Foxes. James Rodriguez’s outstanding goal was one of only two shots on target on a night the Toffees had very little of the ball against a Leicester side who doesn’t demand it.
2. Ndidi injury a huge concern: Wilfred Ndidi limped off before halftime and the difference between the Foxes with and without the Nigerian menace is notable. Leicester City entered the day with a 8W-1D-1L record when Ndidi plays and a 4W-1-D4L record when he doesn’t. Nampalys Mendy isn’t a bad player by any means but Leicester’s biggest concern when it comes to a top-four push is depth. The Foxes’ Best XI can hang with anyone.
3. Richarlison a worry: The Brazilian forward is far-and-away Everton’s top threat when in-form — yes, even in a team with James Rodriguez and Dominic Calvert-Lewin — but he was very poor on Wednesday. He tried, getting stuck into 24 duels but only winning seven while converting only one of six dribble attempts. Part of that was Brendan Rodgers’ plan to frustrate him as well as his spot on the left side, but it was not Richarlison’s day.
The 23-year-old is Everton’s talisman. The Toffees have only lost once when he plays, but Richarlison has just two goals this season and none since Dec. 16 (four games). A similar cold stretch between Dec. 29-March 3 of the 2018-19 season saw Everton lose six times and dip out of the top seven picture.
Man of the Match: James Rodriguez
Everton – Leicester City recap
James put Everton ahead when Lucas Digne knocked down a long pass to the Colombian, whose hopeful hit toward the goal was blocked back into his path.
James took a touch or two before scoring a beauty off the far post from about 18 yards.
Wilfred Ndidi tried to play through a leg injury but couldn’t make it to half, Nampalys Mendy taking his place in the 42nd minute.
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Richarlison blocked a smashed James Maddison free kick before the hour mark as Everton avoided danger.
Leicester came close to its equalizer before it arrived. A short corner turned into another corner when James Justin played the ball back into the mix, and Tielemans took the ball out from between his feet to thump a shot through traffic and into the goal off a flailing Jordan Pickford.