By 90Min
January 01, 2019

Jamie Vardy's second-half strike decided a tight game at Goodison Park as Leicester overcame Everton 1-0 in the Premier League's opening game of 2019. 

Both sides made scrappy starts to the proceedings at Goodison Park, as errant passes littered the opening 20 minutes. Jonjoe Kenny's thumping drive that rattled the crossbar was the closest either team came to breaking the deadlock. 

The full-back's rasping drive proved to be the best chance in an opening 45 minutes that Everton slightly shaded, as both sides failed to truly threaten either goalkeeper during a first-half that was in jeopardy of boiling over on a couple of occasions. 

Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Despite an uninspired first half, Leicester improved in the second and managed to take the lead with Vardy's fifth goal in his last six games against Everton.

Michael Keane's poor touch allowed Ricardo Pereira to play in the Leicester striker, who produced a composed finish beyond the efforts of Jordan Pickford to score the Premier League's first goal of 2019. 

Everton had chances to equalise as they saw more of the ball, but Gylfi Sigurdsson blazed his effort over, while substitute Cenk Tosun would fire straight at Kasper Schmeichel after Jonny Evans' header found the Turk in a great position. 

Harry Maguire wasted a golden opportunity to double Leicester's lead with seven minutes remaining as he fired over Ben Chilwell's cross, before Schmeichel, who had little to do all afternoon, produced a point-blank save to keep Tosun's header out and preserve the three points for the visitors. 


EVERTON


Key Talking Point


After a dismal December with one win in their seven Premier League games, Marco Silva would've hoped to start 2019 on a positive note, although their display against Leicester gave little cause for optimism.  

Dan Istitene/GettyImages

Despite having more attempts and more possession, their was little intensity in their play, as Schmeichel had very little to do all afternoon up until added time in the second half, while their insipid performance was compounded by Leicester's winner, which stemmed from Keane's initial error. 


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Pickford (5), Kenny (6), Keane (4), Zouma (5), Digne (5); Gomes (5), Gueye (6); Walcott (5), Sigurdsson (6), Richarlison (5); Calvert-Lewin (5). 


Substitutes: Bernard (6), Tosun (5).


STAR MAN


One of the few positives for Everton was the decent display of Jonjoe Kenny, who was the best player in the first half. He almost scored the opening goal with a rasping drive that rattled the woodwork, but his performance dipped in the second-half. 

Everton FC v Leicester City - Premier League

WORST PLAYER


It was an awful error from Michael Keane that gifted Leicester their winner, while the centre-back was also fortunate not to give a penalty away for a handball late into the game. 


LEICESTER CITY


Key Talking Point 


After not including the likes of James Maddison and Marc Albrighton in the starting XI, Claude Puel turned to the latter at half-time to inject some life into the game with great effect. 

Leicester caused Everton a number of problems in the second half as they played more to Vardy's strengths of long passes and balls into the box from wide errors, which is where the winner came from, albeit via a sloppy piece of play from Keane. 

Jan Kruger/GettyImages

Wins against Chelsea and Manchester City looked to have bought Puel more time, before a defeat to Cardiff put the pressure back on the Frenchman, so he will be hoping to kick on in 2019 off the back of the win.  


Player Ratings


Starting XI: Schmeichel (6); Simpson (6), Maguire (6), Evans (7), Chilwell (6); Mendy (6), Choudhury (6), Ndidi (5); Ghezzal (4), Vardy (7), Pereira (6).


Substitutes: Albrighton (7*), Gray (N/A). 


STAR MAN 

Marc Albrighton was key to Leicester's win, as his introduction at half-time sparked the Foxes into life following a poor showing in the first-half. 

Looking to play the ball forward quickly to play to Vardy's strengths, the winger looked a threat every time he had the ball, and will surly have to start in Leicester's next fixture.

Jonny Evans also deserves a notable mention for an impressive display at the back. 


WORST PLAYER 


Rachid Ghezzal had a first-half to forget, as he was ineffective throughout, with his best moment being a weak effort that was routinely dealt with by Pickford, before being subbed at the interval. 


Looking Ahead 


Both sides are in FA Cup action this weekend, as Everton host Lincoln City, while Leicester travel to Newport County.

When the sides return to the Premier League action the following week, Silva's side remain at home to face Bournemouth, with Puel's side hosting his former team Southampton at the King Power Stadium. 

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