Many Everton fans will feel frustration this morning. That frustration brought about by a few niggling issues in the team performance last night and questions about squad depth going into the second half of the season.
I predicted my team for the game yesterday and ten of my selections were correct. Ancelotti chose to stick with Holgate at right back and leave Iwobi on the bench for the start of the game. The plan by the manager to defend deep with Holgate, Keane, Mina, and Godfrey.
Richarlison was pushed wide on the right and Digne on the left of midfield. Tom Davies was given the job of sitting in front of the two centre backs, and Gomes handed a number 8 role.
In what essentially was a 4 – 4 – 1 – 1 James was given a free role accompanying Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Everton’s game plan was to essentially cede possession to Leicester, soak up the pressure with resolute defending and work openings through James Digne and Gomes.
All seemed to be going to plan on the 30 minute mark when after resisting an energetic and sustained onslaught from Leicester Gomes received the ball in space in his own half and sprayed and beautiful ball out wide to Digne who in turn fed James just outside the Leicester box.
James attempted a pass to Calvert-Lewin which hit a Leicester defender and then broke back to James who then shimmied the ball onto his right foot, yes his right foot and curled a worldy just inside the right-hand post. Kasper Schmeichel rooted to the spot as the ball curled past him.
Everton then set out to defend this lead and did so up to the 67th minute. Leicester had been piling on the pressure and it must be stated Leicester played very well in this game and were well worth the point they went away with.
Jordan Pickford seemed to lose his composure during a passage of play and needlessly gave away a corner. From the corner, the ball broke to Tielemans outside the box.
A speculative shot through a congested Everton area and it may be that Pickford saw the ball late, through the bodies in front of him, but his response was to try and fumble the ball around the post, but only managed to help it into the net.
So from a comfortable situation we then had to chase the win. Though Tielemans and Maddison were dominating the midfield and Everton could not really get on the ball.
Ancelotti brought on Coleman and Iwobi late in the game and Everton carved three half-chances but to be honest Everton were poor in the second period and a draw, overall, was a fair result.
Given the pressure Everton had to defend I could not split Keane and Mina for my consideration of Man of the Match.
But Everton are still on track and we must remember we have taken four points from Leicester home and away this season. That shows the underlying trend and we go into Saturday’s game with Newcastle with a need to use the frustration from this game to focus on getting three points.
Hopefully, with Doucouré back from suspension on Saturday, we can take more control of midfield and create more chances. Hopefully Richarlison can find his mojo again. Something difficult to understand about his lack of form.
Also, I will not be surprised to see Pickford benched at the weekend. Ancelotti’s post match comments at the end hinted that Jordan may not be hearing from him before the weekend…