Sean Dyche returning to his Burnley roots pays dividends for Everton, Leicester MUST keep star striker Jamie Vardy firing to stay afloat, and Foxes stopper Daniel Iversen has a fan in fellow Dane Kasper Schmeichel
- Relegation-threatened Leicester and Everton played out a 2-2 draw on Monday
- Dean Smith’s side took a 2-1 advantage into the break despite missing a penalty
- The Toffees fought back in the second half to keep Leicester at arm’s length
Everton and Leicester are two flawed teams in serious danger of relegation but both showed enough in the 2-2 draw at King Power Stadium to give reasons for optimism.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin fired the visitors ahead from the penalty spot on the quarter-hour mark, before goals from Caglar Soyuncu and Jamie Vardy handed Dean Smith’s side the advantage at the break.
Foxes midfielder James Maddison had a glorious chance to make it 3-1 with a spot-kick before half time, but his penalty was fired straight down the throat of Jordan Pickford, who held his ground in the middle of the goal.
The Toffees fought back early in the second half through Alex Iwobi and set up a tense finish between the relegation-threatened sides.
Here Mail Sport looks at the main talking points from Monday’s clash at the King Power.
Leicester and Everton played out a pulsating encounter at the King Power on Monday night
The two relegation-threatened sides drew 2-2 in a result that helps neither team at the bottom
Strikers hold the key
With Southampton starting to seem doomed at the bottom of the table, it looks like four teams battling to avoid the remaining two relegation spots – and having a forward in form at this stage of the season could be decisive.
Vardy was back to his impish best for Leicester against Everton, scoring his second goal in as many games, seeing another shot hit the bar and a header cleared off the line. With Vardy in this mood, Leicester will pose a threat against any team – as will Everton if they can keep Calvert-Lewin fit.
Though he faded towards the end of the 2-2 draw at Leicester, Calvert-Lewin showed Everton exactly what they have been missing. His hold-up play in the first half was excellent and he despatched a nerveless penalty to give Everton the lead.
Both the Foxes and Everton have a tough run in and will see Monday’s result as two points dropped but with their forwards playing like this, they will not lose hope.
Jamie Vardy’s return to goal-scoring form could determine Leicester’s Premier League safety
Everton will be eager to keep Dominic Calvert-Lewin (right) fit and healthy during the run-in
Is Iversen the new Schmeichel?
Kasper Schmeichel was in the television studio on Monday night to cast an eye over his former club and the Leicester great liked what he saw from fellow Dane Daniel Iversen.
In many ways Iversen is still a little rough and ready – his distribution is inconsistent and his handling could be smoother – but his shot-stopping is incredibly impressive. Iversen might have let in two goals against Everton yet without him Leicester would have lost, with his saves from Calvert-Lewin, Alex Iwobi and Abdoulaye Doucoure particularly spectacular.
‘He’s a very competent keeper,’ said Schmeichel, who left Leicester for Nice last summer after a golden period in which he helped the club lift the Premier League title and the FA Cup.
‘He’s a young guy who has had some good loan spells. He’s extremely athletic, very calm.
Daniel Iversen has established himself as Leicester’s first choices goalkeeper in recent weeks
Ex-Denmark and Leicester keeper Kasper Schmeichel is a fan of his fellow countryman Iversen
‘I trained with him for many years. His explosiveness and his strength, the strength of his wrist… I’ve seen all of these things many times.
‘He came to the club on trial initially in 2016 and he’s done the hard yards. Nothing going to fluster him or faze him. He’s come into a really difficult situation in a team that’s been devoid of confidence for a while and he deserved that performance.’
Everton take the Burnley route
Sean Dyche built his reputation as a Premier League manager during his time at Burnley, who thrived in the top flight despite resources that were far inferior to those of their rivals.
He has struggled to find that blueprint at Everton, but at Leicester on Monday his team produced one of their best performances of the season – and it was very much in the Burnley mode.
Everton were fitter and stronger in the second half after Sean Dyche’s team talk at the break
Dyche’s side looked fit, strong and ultra-physical. The ball was delivered early to Calvert-Lewin, who caused Leicester’s centre-backs Soyuncu and Wout Faes numerous problems during the early stages of the game.
The running power of Doucoure and Iwobi gave Leicester permanent jitters, as did the skill and movement of Dwight McNeil – a Dyche pupil from Turf Moor.
Everton’s next two matches are against Brighton and Manchester City and few would expect them to take points from either of those games, despite Monday’s improvement.
But in the final two matches they take on Wolves and Bournemouth, both of whom are virtually assured of safety. Six points from those games may ensure Everton make another narrow escape.
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