Everton 0-1 Leicester: Jamie Vardy gets Foxes off to perfect start in 2019
Report and highlights as Everton's struggles continue
Last Updated: 01/01/19 9:26pm
Jamie Vardy scored the winner as Leicester City got their festive period back on track with a 1-0 victory at Everton on New Year's Day.
Having beaten Manchester City on Boxing Day, Claude Puel's men suffered a shock home defeat to Cardiff on Saturday but were back on form at Goodison Park.
Vardy - employed as a lone striker but starved of service for long periods - gobbled up the only chance that came his way (58) which grabbed Leicester a deserved three points.
Everton were stifled by an organised Foxes team that restricted the home attackers any space to such an extent it took Marco Silva's men 75 minutes to register a shot on target.
Everton have now lost four of their last five games, while Leicester are up to seventh in the Premier League table.
Everton: Pickford (6), Keane (5), Zouma (6), Kenny (6), Digne (6), Gomes (4), Gueye (6), Sigurdsson (5), Richarlison (5), Walcott (5), Calvert-Lewin (5).
Subs: Tosun (6), Bernard (6)
Leicester: Schmeichel (8), Simpson (8), Chilwell (8), Evans (9), Maguire (9), Ndidi (7), Mendy (7), Pereira (8), Ghezzal (6), Choudhury (7), Vardy (8).
Subs: Albrighton (7), Gray (N/A)
Man of the match: Jonny Evans
The opening exchanges were nervy with both teams lacking quality.
Jonjoe Kenny cracked an effort from 20 yards against the corner of the post and crossbar on 19 minutes before Kurt Zouma summed up Everton's frustrations with a wild 30-yard effort.
Both teams rang the changes. Marco Silva started Jonjoe Kenny, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Gylfi Sigurdsson while Danny Simpson, Hamza Choudhury, Jonny Evans and Rachid Ghezzal returned for Leicester.
Leicester's plan to soak up pressure was working a charm and they took the lead just before the hour mark. Michael Keane lost possession deep in his own half and Ricardo Pereira played a through-ball which Vardy gleefully accepted and finished past Jordan Pickford.
Gylfi Sigurdsson fired over the crossbar and substitute Cenk Tosun tested Kasper Schmeichel's palms with a fierce strike but rarely did Everton look capable of opening Leicester up.
In fact, it was the visitors that carried the bigger threat. Minutes after referee Martin Atkinson waved away a penalty claim for handball by Keane following a Harry Maguire header, the England centre-back should have doubled the lead but blazed over from close range.
The Everton players mustered nothing in response and the home fans vented their frustration as they trudged off at full-time.
Marco Silva: "It was a disappointing result and a poor performance to be honest. We always have to be honest and we have to look clearly at the game and analyse the match calmly and to pass the feedback back to our boys.
"If you look at our last few results, they haven't been consistent but there is no reason to be so anxious and so nervous. Even at the start of the match and in many moments, the fans were behind us and there is no reason for the nerves."
Claude Puel: "I think we can have better situations in the first half with the ball recovery but it was perfect with good timing and a good moment to score this goal. We've had some difficult balls to play in the second half but the togetherness and organisation from the team was perfect.
"It was a difficult challenge, of course. Everton are a team with lot of ambition, character and strengths. This moment is a busy period, all the players are tired and they have had to play like us. But the most important thing is to show our strength in this moment and to handle the situation in the right way."
- Leicester have won three of their last four Premier League matches (L1) - one more than in their previous 10 combined.
- Everton have lost four of their last five Premier League games (W1) - as many as they lost in their first 16 matches of the 2018-19 season (W6 D6 L4).
- Since Claude Puel's first Premier League match in charge of the club in October 2017, Jamie Vardy has scored 22 goals in the competition for Leicester under the Frenchman - double the number of any other player.
- Leicester have won five of their last six league matches played on New Year's Day (D1).
- Leicester striker Jamie Vardy has been involved in seven goals against Everton in the Premier League (5 goals, 2 assists) - only against Liverpool (8) has he been involved in more.
- Everton have lost three of their last five home games against Leicester in all competitions (W2) - as many as in their previous 24 games at Goodison Park against the Foxes.
Man of the match: Jonny Evans
The Northern Ireland international turns 31 later this week and gave a reminder to all about his talents with a dominant showing, alongside the equally brilliant Harry Maguire. Evans kept Dominic Calvert-Lewin very quiet, making nine clearances and winning five duels.
What made the level of his performance even more remarkable was that he has not played in the last five games. He will be impossible to leave out for the next Premier League game.
Everton host Lincoln City in the FA Cup on Saturday, while Leicester have a trip to Newport County.