Hosts Everton will look to continue moving forward in the Premier League after some positive results. They welcome Leicester to Goodison Park on Saturday (5.30pm), where the visitors will be looking to avoid defeat for the fourth time in five games.
Things hadn’t been going so well for Frank Lampard’s Everton, who went into their last home game off the back of three straight defeats, though fortunately, they bounced back by beating Crystal Palace 3-0. That win sent them to Craven Cottage with renewed confidence, and although they couldn’t maintain winning ways, the fact that they picked up both a point and a clean sheet is pleasing.
Overall, it has not been the worst start to the campaign for the side that narrowly escaped the drop last season. They currently sit in 12th position and are just two points shy of the top half. There is room for improvement, that’s for sure, but have they already improved after what was a rather woeful campaign last time around? Absolutely.
For the Foxes, the season hasn’t really begun yet. Brendan Rodgers’ men have however improved in recent weeks. They are of course still in the bottom three, but their situation looks far less desperate after winning two of their last three. Not only did they beat both Leeds and Wolves without conceding a goal, scoring six in the process, but they did what few other teams have done so far this season last time out by conceding just one goal against Man City. Sure, they lost the game, but they battled well, and more than held their own for large portions of the contest. That effort along with their form prior to that defeat should mean that the Leicester City boys go to Goodison Park feeling upbeat.
Not an easy place to go
It must be said that Goodison Park, this season at least, isn’t an easy place to go. So far, only Chelsea and Manchester United have won there, and each of those teams won by the narrowest of margins. Liverpool failed to leave their neighbours ground with all three points, while both West Ham and Crystal Palace left empty handed.
From an attacking point of view, The Toffees haven’t offered a tremendous amount. They have only failed to score in one out of six at home, but they’ve only scored more than once in one out of six. An average of 1.05 xG isn’t great either. Then again, now that their main striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin is fit, things could improve.
In the defensive third, they have performed very respectably, keeping three clean sheets, conceding just four goals in six games. Few teams get blown away by this Everton side, but plenty of teams struggle to impose themselves, especially at Goodison.
If we look only at Leicester’s home form, then yes, there are blemishes on their record, but overall, it is respectable enough. Unfortunately, on the road, almost everything has gone wrong. Thanks to their recent away win at Wolves, they no longer have the worst travelling record in the division, but that’s not yet anything to shout about, especially when they’ve lost five out of six away games.
The main problem for the Foxes on the road? Defending. They simply haven’t kept teams quiet. They have conceded at least twice in five out of six, shipping a worrying total of 19 goals. On three occasions, they have conceded four or more. Unsurprisingly, they have an average xG difference of -0.73 on the road, which tells us that they have given away a good bit more than they’ve created when playing away from the comforts of home.
Typically, the Toffees’ fixture
In recent times, this fixture hasn’t been a favourite of Leicester’s. The Foxes have won none of the last six renewals, three of which have gone the way of the Toffees. Then again, Everton have only won one of their last five home games against Leicester. When the teams last met, back in May, Everton won by two goals to one. When they last met at this venue, they played out a 1-1 draw.
Interestingly, both teams have scored in six of the last seven renewals of this fixture, as well as in eight of the last ten.
Take the Toffees to win
The visitors have improved of late, and their recent results should give them the confidence to go to Goodison Park and have a go, but it’s very hard to get away from their defensive efforts on the road this season, so much so that the home win appeals.
The big difference between the pair is in the defensive third. In front of a home crowd, Everton have not only offered rather solid resistance, but they have done a reasonably good job of preventing their opponents from creating an awful lot. In contrast, Leicester have offered very little resistance on the road, and they have done little to stop teams creating chances against them. Four of their six opponents have created 2.0+ expected goals.
Of course, the visitors did keep a clean sheet in their most recent away game, but that really was more down to luck than anything, so we shouldn’t read too much into that. After all, they surrendered 2.1 xG.
All things considered, this is a promising opportunity for the hosts, who at home, have performed far better than the visitors have on the road. So for our EFC vs LCFC preview and betting tips, this is the sole suggestion against the pick of the leading bookies:
- Take Everton to win @ best odds of 7/5 with Bet365.
Bradley Gibbs is an experienced football writer. He is an expert analyst on Premier League, and all global football leagues & tournaments, for Just Bookies. Bradley has been published by many respected outlets, including USA Betting and the Racing & Football Outlook. He has also written betting strategy guides.