Leicester City vs Everton – Preview
Claudio Ranieri is ready to welcome the crowning moment of a “special” season when Leicester City host Everton in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.
Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea on Monday ensured Leicester became the sixth team to win the BPL, completing a remarkable campaign for a club who were priced at 5,000-1 to be crowned champions back in August.
Leicester will be presented with the trophy after full-time at the King Power Stadium, giving them the chance to celebrate in front of their own fans before their final-day trip to last season’s title-winners Chelsea.
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And Ranieri, the eighth different manager to win the Barclays Premier League, is looking forward to the chance to celebrate with his entire first-team squad at the final home match of an unforgettable season.
“I enjoy all the season. From the beginning, I felt something special,” he said on Friday, when members of the press raised a champagne toast. “All the players, all the clubs, all the managers work hard. But only one wins. This year, that’s me.
“Their professionalism was fantastic because some players don’t play but when I did call on them the players did a fantastic performance.”
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Everton head to Leicester having lost just one of their last 12 league meetings with the champions, and their away form this season suggests they could cause an upset at the title party.
Roberto Martinez’s side have been impressive on their travels, losing just three of their last 18; a record which is all the more notable given they have won just twice in 11 league matches at home.
Martinez has urged his players to deliver a strong showing against a side who are likely to play with “a certain swagger”.
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“We’re facing a team who have played all season with an incredible tempo,” he said. “When you reach your aim you feel you can carry on with a real satisfaction, with no worries. So they’re probably in the best moment of confidence you could find them.
“They’re deserved winners of the league and will be playing with a certain swagger.”
Leicester will welcome back Jamie Vardy from suspension, but will be without Danny Drinkwater following his red card against Manchester United, while Robert Huth has been handed a three-match ban for an altercation with Marouane Fellaini last weekend. Matty James could make his first appearance of the season after returning to training following a serious knee injury.
Gerard Deulofeu (knee) is out for Everton, with Phil Jagielka (hamstring) unlikely to feature, but Gareth Barry (groin) and Seamus Coleman (hamstring) could return.
Leicester City (from): Schmeichel, Schwarzer, Fuchs, Moore, Morgan, Simpson, Wasilewski, Albrighton, Amartey, Dyer, Gray, Inler, James, Kante, King, Mahrez, Schlupp, Dodoo, Okazaki, Ulloa,
Everton (from): Howard, Joel, Stanek, Baines, Browning, Coleman, Funes Mori, Galloway, Hibbert, Holgate, Jagielka, Oviedo, Stones, Barkley, Barry, Besic, Cleverley, Gibson, Lennon, McCarthy, Mirallas, Osman, Pienaar, Kone, Lukaku, Niasse, Rodriguez.
Referee: Andre Marriner Assistants: S Chilld, S Ledger Fourth Official: G Salisbury
– The last five matches between these two sides on Leicester’s home ground have all been draws.
– Everton have lost just once in the last 12 Barclays Premier League contests with Leicester, but this was the reverse meeting in December (W2 D9 L1).
– 68 per cent of BPL matches between Leicester City and Everton have been draws, the highest ratio of any fixture in the history of the competition that has been played more than 10 times.
– The champions are unbeaten in the past 14 league matches at the King Power Stadium (W9 D5 L0).