Everton v Leicester City. One of the more intriguing FA Cup third round ties involves Everton hosting Premier League champions Leicester City. These are two clubs that needs some positivity injected into their respective seasons, and there are few better antidotes to lethargy than a cup run. While Leicester have been sublime in the Champions League – reaching the last-16 stage – their domestic form has been erratic and they have flirted with the relegation zone.
Everton have been inconsistent as well, yet find themselves seventh in the league. With Manchester United nine points ahead of them, it appears that the Merseyside club are in a battle with other sides to finish in the position, so a real attempt to win the Cup is required. The Blues, of course, reached a Wembley semi-final last year, only to be downed by United’s Anthony Martial deep into injury time as they lost 2-1.
Saturday’s opponents last met on Boxing Day, with Everton 2-0 winners. Although, this is a completely different competition and each manager may see it as an opportunity to rest key players. Romelu Lukaku has 11 league goals already and will be a major threat should he be deployed by Ronald Koeman.
With the prospect of a replay still possible, neither side will want a draw given a hectic festive schedule. However, With the Foxes facing a two-legged tie against Sevilla next month, they may be tempted to field a strong side in order to boost their chances of a win at what is a tough ground. Their defence – the linchpin of their title win – has been nowhere near as strong this season and they have already conceded 31 goals and appear vulnerable.
For Everton, it has been confirmed this week that winger Yannick Bolasie may be out of action for up to 12 months, and, while they have been linked with a move for United pair Memphis Depay and Morgan Schneiderlin, their squad is thin.
With all this in mind, the hosts are favourites with Tipbet. The Toffees are offered at 1.85, which would continue their three-match unbeaten streak. A draw (3.65) would see the clubs meet for a third time within a month at the King Power Stadium. City are available at odds of 4.20, though their form is very unpredictable this season.
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