Leicester City 2-2 Everton: Foxes climb out of the drop zone
Leicester City 2-2 Everton: Spoils shared as Foxes climb out of the relegation zone following pulsating encounter… with James Maddison missing a penalty and Dominic Calvert-Lewin from three yards
- Both sides mired in significant trouble as they look to avoid the drop this season
- Everton took the lead through Dominic Calvert-Lewin but were pegged back
- Leicester had the chance to go 3-1 up but James Maddison missed from the spot
The questions kept arriving as quickly as the ferocious tackles. Why did James Maddison take that penalty? What was Alex Iwobi thinking with that pass? How did Dominic Calvert-Lewin miss that chance? Through it all, though, one lingered more than any other: will Seamus Coleman be ok?
When the stakes are as high as they were on this frenzied night, with two huge clubs frantically trying to stay in the Premier League, it is easy to forget about the human element of it all but that was brought sharply into focus just before half-time.
Coleman, Everton’s longest serving player and club captain, had been playing with the zest of his youth: as a team Everton embodied all his qualities, full of energy and determination and a refusal to give up but, in a coming together with Boubakary Soumare, everything changed.
In one of those sickening clashes, Coleman’s leg wobbled and, in a flash, he was surrounded by medics. Soon he would be on a stretcher. The reaction of those around him told you this was not something trivial.
What a dreadful shame. This was a spectacular game – not for its quality but the sheer drama, full of mistakes and gambling, crammed with last-gasp challenges and lung-bursting runs and, above all, a determination to keep fighting to the end.
Leicester and Everton played out a pulsating encounter at the King Power on Monday night
In a result that does little to help either side they drew 2-2 – both having led at one stage
James Maddison may come to rue his penalty miss as he went straight down the middle – with Jordan Pickford staying equal to it
Both teams could have won it, both teams could have lost it. A point was the least they would have wanted but, in some respects, they would have been happy to accept.
Leicester XI: Iversen; Castagne, Faes, Soyuncu, Thomas; Ndidi, Tielemans, Soumare; Barnes, Maddison, Vardy.
Subs: Ward, Souttar, Kristiansen, Amartey, Daka, Dewsbury-Hall, Mendy, Praet, Tete.
Goals: Caglar Soyuncu, Jamie Vardy
Booked: Boubakary Soumare, James Maddison, Luke Thomas, Victor Kristiansen
Everton XI: Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Tarkowski; Mykolenko, Garner, Gueye; Doucoure, Iwobi, McNeil, Calvert-Lewin.
Subs: Begovic, Patterson, Davies, Coady, Mina, Onana, Sims, Gray, Maupay.
Goals: Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Alex Iwobi
Booked: Idrissa Gueye
They remain players in this unforgiving fight, the chance to climb to safety stays in their hands.
Whatever work Sean Dyche had done over the weekend, after their shellacking by Newcastle, clearly worked. Everton came out swinging and hemmed Leicester into their penalty area with a succession of a balls crashed forward from Jordan Pickford, demanding the forward players to chase and fight.
It’s no exaggeration to say Leicester looked petrified by the frenzy, unable to cope with the physicality of it all, as corners and crosses were fired in. For all the criticism they have received, Everton had to be praised for what might have been their best start to a game all season.
Really, they should have been ahead after eight minutes. Iwobi, dashing down the right, found himself unmarked 12 yards out but he gave Daniel Iversen the opportunity to make a superb save, rather than putting his foot through it and ripping a shot into the net.
Such was the weight of pressure building, though, you knew another opportunity would not be long in coming and so it proved. In the 14th minute, Coleman clipped a cross and Timothy Castagne short-circuited, blundering into Calvert-Lewin like someone falling out of their local at closing time.
He tried to look shocked Michael Oliver had pointed to the spot but who was he kidding? It was the most obvious penalty you could wish see and Calvert-Lewin stepped up to convert, scoring for the first time since last October. There were 3,000 in the away end but they made the noise of 43000.
The game got off to a brilliant start for the visiting side as Dominic Calvert-Lewin put them ahead
Scoring only his second Premier League goal of the season, the England international wheeled away in delight
Leicester swiftly struck back and were soon level through centre-back Caglar Soyuncu
The defender produced an inventive finish to steer the ball beyond a helpless Jordan Pickford
With their tails up, it felt like Everton could take control of matters. A level of the nervousness in the Leicester ranks was best illustrated when Soyuncu, under no pressure whatsoever, put a pass straight out of play. All Everton had to do, you felt, was stay calm.
But it was beyond them. From being in a position they wanted after 20 minutes, they found themselves trailing by the 35th minute. You will have heard this many times before this season but, exasperatingly, they had only themselves to blame.
Soyuncu levelled with Leicester’s first meaningful sight of the target, turning in from eight yards after Maddison’s free-kick had reached Harvey Barnes and was sent back to him via a flick from Wout Faes, one of the few times the Belgian played as if his legs hadn’t been tied together.
Jamie Vardy gave Leicester the lead – scoring for a second consecutive game and perhaps dragging his side from the mire
The forward revelled in his role – geeing up the crowd at every opportunity on a pulsating night
Alex Iwobi grabbed a deserved equaliser for Everton but they failed to find a winner
Goalkeeper Daniel Iversen produced a series of stunning stops to deny Everton late on
Dyche could barely believe what he was seeing but worse was to follow: under no pressure, Iwobi gave the ball straight to Youri Tielemans, who cushioned a pass to Maddison and he sent Vardy streaking clear, the veteran rounding Pickford to score his 136th Premier League goal.
What an impact he continues to have and number 137 should have arrived just before half-time when, in a dramatic period of play that saw Calvert-Lewin miss from a yard, a Leicester counter ended with Vardy clipping a shot over Pickford but onto the bar.
It is no exaggeration that course of two clubs futures could have changed in that 60 seconds but the same was also true in first half injury time when Michael Keane inexplicably handled but Maddison’s weak penalty allowed Pickford to save.
Pictures on Pickford’s water ball showed that Maddison, who had not taken a penalty for five years, was 60 per cent likely to go straight down the middle and that was precisely what he did. Pickford had done his homework and how it paid off.
Returning for the second period with the bit between their teeth, they equalised when Iwobi arrived at the back post and turned in Calvert-Lewin’s flick on. The noise, again, from the away end was remarkable and you felt there would be more goals to be had.
Strangely, that’s not how it worked out despite both teams leaving nothing out there. It’s exactly what Coleman would have done. What an absolute crying shame that he wasn’t able to play his part.
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