Everton supporters have been pretty despondent in recent times after seeing their side bow out of the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
Marco Silva’s men went into their meeting with fellow Premier League outfit Southampton off the back of beating Fulham 3-0 in the league to return to winning ways, and thus were full of confidence ahead of the visit of Mark Hughes’ team. And despite drawing 1-1 after 90 minutes, with Theo Walcott cancelling out Danny Ings’ opener for the visitors, the Toffees succumbed in the succeeding penalty shoot-out to exit the competition at the third round stage.
Thus, there have been many disappointed Evertonians up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be wondering what changes Silva may seek to make ahead of their trip to Leicester City this afternoon.
Claude Puel’s Foxes have shown glimpses of promise this season in winning four and losing the other three of their opening seven league games, and head into today’s clash having won their last two league games against Huddersfield Town and Newcastle United.
And influential ace James Maddison, who earned a call-up to the senior England squad this week, played a vital part in both of those successes, which is why Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye will have to produce a season’s best display at the King Power Stadium today if the Toffees are to get all three points.
Ultimately, the 29-year-old appears to be the main man in the Everton midfield having started six of their seven Premier League games this term, missing the draw with Huddersfield Town only as a result of injury, and as such is almost certainly going to start this afternoon against the Foxes.
And given his tenacity and combativeness in the middle of the park, in that he makes more tackles and interceptions than any other Everton player, Silva may task him with keeping a close eye on Leicester’s Maddison, to ensure that the Englishman doesn’t find those pockets of space from which he can be hugely devastating.
Add in his excellent ability from set pieces, and Gueye will also need to be disciplined in the tackle in a bid to not give away any needless fouls – overall, the Senegal international has to be at the top of his game to minimise Maddison’s influence.
And if the £18 million-rated ace (as per Transfermarkt) can do that with a season’s best display this afternoon at the King Power Stadium, Silva’s men could well come back to Merseyside with all three points.
Everton fans… what do you think? Let us know!