Leicester vs Everton Preview

English Premier League | Saturday 7 May | King Power Stadium | 18:30




Newly-crowned Premier League champions Leicester City will welcome Everton to the King Power Stadium on Saturday. 

The Foxes, who have a seven point cushion at the top of the standings, were 5000/1 outsiders at the start of the season – no sports team has defied such odds to triumph. Their previous best finish in the league was second in 1929. 

For the last 20 years the Premier League trophy has never left London or Manchester, with Arsenal, Chelsea, United and City sharing the trophy between them. 

The Toffees have neither relegation nor a European place to fight for at Leicester but will look to spoil the party. 


To Win (90mins)
Leicester 9/10
Draw 27/10
Everton 11/4

Leicester City

Leicester City have been crowned Premier League champions for the first time in their history following Tottenham's failure to beat Chelsea on Monday. 

The Midlands club could have won the title on Sunday with a win over Manchester United, but the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford meant celebrations were put on hold for a day. 

They had reason to celebrate after all on Monday, though, as Tottenham were held 2-2 by Chelsea, giving Leicester an unassailable lead with two games left. 

"Let's do it for Ranieri", read one Chelsea fan's banner at Stamford Bridge where the trophy was presented to Chelsea last May. 

Many of the Leicester players were gathered at star striker Jamie Vardy's house to watch the Spurs v Chelsea match. They erupted into celebration at the fulltime whistle singing "Championes! Championes! Ole! Ole! Ole!" while jumping up and down with their arms on each other's shoulders. 

The Premier League title represents the first major league trophy of Claudio Ranieri's managerial career, having previously enjoyed Serie C1, Serie B and Ligue 2 success. He also won the Coppa Italia with Fiorentina, while leading Valencia to Copa del Rey glory. 

Ranieri's men went top of the table for the first time on November 21 following their 3-0 win over Newcastle and have not dropped out of the top three since. 

Leicester have suffered just three losses in the league all season, with Arsenal defeating them twice and Liverpool proving to be too strong at Anfield in December. 

Writers Footballer of the Year, Vardy has played a key role in their hugely successful campaign, scoring 22 times in 34 games and breaking Ruud van Nistelrooy's record in the process as he became the first player to score in 11 consecutive Premier League matches. 

Riyad Mahrez was has been equally important and was voted PFA Players' Player of the Season for his excellent performances. 

French midfielder N'Golo Kante and Jamaica international Wes Morgan also made the PFA Team of the Year as reward for fine campaigns. 



Everton

Leighton Baines got the winner against Bournemouth to end Everton's poor recent run and ease the pressure on manager Roberto Martinez. 

The Toffees had taken an early lead when Tom Cleverley drove in a low shot. But Everton's defensive frailties resurfaced within seconds when Marc Pugh equalised for the Cherries. 

Baines struck from the left of the box to seal a first league win in nine matches for the Toffees but some home fans still protested against Martinez. 

The winless streak in the league, coupled with last weekend's FA Cup semi-final defeat by Manchester United, had stirred significant discontent amongst Everton fans about their Spanish boss. 

The ex-Wigan manager had said he was "ready to fight more than ever" in the build-up to the match, a week after a last-minute loss at Wembley that itself followed a 4-0 humbling by Liverpool. 

A banner saying "Time to go Roberto" was flown over the ground during the match, and a number of anti-Martinez banners were seen inside Goodison Park. 

On the day, Everton endured another unwanted defensive milestone – conceding their 30th goal at Goodison this season in the Premier League – the Blues back four was again in the spotlight. 

With captain Phil Jagielka seemingly sidelined for the remainder of the campaign after his exertions at Wembley and Ramiro Funes Mori suspended, the Toffees rearguard had a distinctly youthful look about it. 

Martinez selected a pair of 21-year-olds in the centre-back berths with England international John Stones all of a sudden very much the senior partner alongside Matthew Pennington who made his first Premier League start. 

Both are expected to partner each other again and will find it difficult to contain Vardy, who returns from suspension. 

Despite last weekend’s 2-1 win over Bournemouth, Everton currently find themselves in the bottom half of the Premier League table, some 31 points behind the tally achieved during Martinez’s debut season on Merseyside - a clear sign of regression. 

And the fans are getting restless. 

With a leaky defence and a habit of conceding late goals, many have criticised Everton for having only one way of playing and suggesting their attacking principles are doing more harm than good. 

When considering how consistent they were under former boss David Moyes, and the success achieved by league leaders Leicester this season, there is surely good reason to doubt Martinez’s philosophy. 

The former Wigan Athletic boss, however, has stated he will never change his principles, suggesting Leicester’s approach of organized, counter-attacking football has no prospect of long-term success (despite what Leicester have achieved over the last 15 months). 

Probable line-ups:

Leicester: 4-4-2
Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs; Mahrez, Kante, Drinkwater, Schlupp; Okazaki, Vardy

Everton: 4-2-3-1 
Howard; Besic, Pennington, Stones, Baines; Gibson, McCarthy; Lennon, Barkley, Cleverley; Lukaku

Betting Verdict: Leicester (9/10)
The champions are unbeaten in 10 Premier League matches with seven wins. Everton are winless in their last four travels which does not bode well for their chances. Leicester beat Swansea 4-0 in their last home tie, while The Toffees were thumped 4-0 by Liverpool in their last away game. Take the home win at 9/10. 

Written by Chadley Nagel. Follow him on Twitter @Chadley_N