In a crucial match for both Everton and Leicester City, Alex Iwobi’s second-half equalizer secured a 2-2 draw, allowing Leicester to climb out of the Premier League’s bottom three on goal difference.
The match at the King Power Stadium saw missed opportunities for both teams, with Leicester’s James Maddison failing to capitalize on a penalty, which was saved by Everton’s goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford.
Everton took an early lead when Dominic Calvert-Lewin converted a penalty, but Leicester quickly responded with goals from Caglar Soyuncu and Jamie Vardy. However, Leicester’s recent performance has been far from satisfactory, having won only one of their last 12 league games.
Despite their 2016 Premier League title, they now face the possibility of playing in the Championship for the first time in nine years.
Leicester’s manager, Dean Smith, acknowledged the team’s performance, stating, “We missed a penalty for 3-1, but also in the first half, we were second best for long periods.” He emphasized the importance of focusing on the remaining four games in the season.
Sean Dyche, appointed as Everton’s manager in January, faces mounting pressure as the club has won only one of their last 11 games. Fan protests against the club’s hierarchy have intensified in response to their poor performance.
Dyche commented on the team’s display, saying, “We held our nerve, kept trying to create things and overall it’s a good performance, although we didn’t get the three points.” He emphasized the need for a strong mentality and acknowledged the challenge he took on when accepting the role.
Everton’s early lead came after Timothy Castagne conceded a penalty, which Calvert-Lewin converted for his first goal since October. Leicester responded with two goals within 11 minutes, with Soyuncu scoring from a half-volley and Vardy capitalizing on a weak Everton defense.
Everton’s defensive woes continued as Michael Keane conceded a penalty in first-half stoppage time. However, Maddison’s penalty shot was saved by Pickford, who had studied the potential Leicester penalty takers beforehand. Television cameras captured images of his water bottle, which contained notes on each player, including Maddison’s 60% center tendency.
Pickford explained his strategy, saying, “I did my homework. I called it this morning where I would go. He is a good player and he would’ve expected me to move but I double-bluffed him.”