A first away victory since August saw Everton haul themselves out of the relegation zone at Leicester City’s expense on Sunday, with the Toffees holding on for a crucial 2-1 win.
A frantic opening quarter of an hour yielded two goals as Vitaliy Mykolenko’s stunning opener was cancelled out following a horrible mix-up at the back for Everton.
The visitors were ahead inside six minutes. Alex Iwobi’s cross picked out Ukraine international Mykolenko on the edge of the box, and the full-back produced an unstoppable, arcing volley that dipped into the bottom corner.
Leicester wouldn’t have to wait long for an equaliser, scoring at the end of a sequence of play that was emblematic of the back-and-forth nature of the early exchanges.
Abdoulaye Doucoure somehow squeezed a weak effort beyond Kasper Schmeichel and hit the post. The ball was then launched down the other end and Toffees defenders Seamus Coleman and Yerry Mina collided to allow Patson Daka a clear run in on goal to finish.
The Foxes seemed to be in the ascendancy and went close again shortly afterwards when Daniel Amartey blazed over from range. However, they would find themselves behind again before half-time.
It was yet another goal conceded from a set piece for Brendan Rodgers’ side, as Richarlison rose to meet a corner unmarked. His downward header was parried straight back into the danger zone by Schmeichel and Mason Holgate was on hand to nod home.
For the second week running Jordan Pickford emerged as Everton’s hero in the second half, making a string of fine saves to keep his side in front.
First, the England international made a flying stop to push Nampalys Mendy’s long-range strike away, before reacting brilliantly to deny half-time substitute Harvey Barnes from close in and then again when the winger let fly from the edge.
Barnes was heavily involved off the bench and went agonisingly close with eight minutes remaining but could only guide his downward header the wrong side of the post.
It finished 2-1 to Everton. Here’s how the players rated…
Daka pounced to equalise / Matthew Lewis/GettyImages
GK: Kasper Scmeichel – 4/10 – No chance with the opener. Lucky not to be beaten straight before the leveller. Parried into such a dangerous area as Everton re-took the lead.
CB: Daniel Amartey – 5/10 – Sent a zinging drive just over the bar. Helped keep Richarlison quiet. Booked for clattering the Brazilian.
CB: Wesley Fofana – 6/10 – Passed astutely and won all of his duels both aerially and on the ground, largely keeping Richarlison at bay. Did mis-time his leap as Everton restored their lead, though.
CB: Jonny Evans – 5/10 – Put in several hefty challenges but somehow avoided a booking. Solid enough and not at fault for either goal.
RWB: Timothy Castagne – 5/10 – Lost Holgate for the second goal. Supported the attack well enough.
CM: Nampalys Mendy – 4/10 – Bypassed pretty easily by Everton. Booked for a nasty raking challenge on Anthony Gordon. Fired a wicked effort at goal but kept out by Pickford.
CM: Youri Tielemans – 4/10 – His indifferent form continued. Nowhere near the influence you would expect. Lost a lot of duels and loose with his passing.
LWB: Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall – 5/10 – Bizarre decision to shunt him out wide. Nowhere near as influential as he is centrally. Moved back to his usual position in the second half and was much improved.
RW: Patson Daka – 6/10 – Composed finish after being presented with a glaring opportunity by Everton’s defence. Fairly quiet thereafter although almost a clever assist for Barnes.
ST: Kelechi Iheanacho – 5/10 – Willing runner but didn’t really do anything of note.
LW: Ayoze Perez – 3/10 – Completely ineffectual in an anonymous first half. Hooked at the break.
SUB: Harvey Barnes (46′ for Perez) – 6/10 – Brought some much-needed attacking thrust. Must have thought he’d scored but denied by Pickford twice, and went close again.
SUB: Jamie Vardy (66′ for Mendy) – 5/10 – Didn’t really have any openings in his time on the pitch.
SUB: Ademola Lookman (80′ for Daka) – N/A
Mykolenko unleashes his screamer / James Williamson – AMA/GettyImages
GK: Jordan Pickford – 8/10 – Quiet game until he was forced to claw away Mendy’s strike. Fantastic reaction save to deny Barnes soon after, and kept the winger’s long-range effort out too.
RB: Alex Iwobi – 7/10 – His cross turned into a perfect assist for Mykolenko. Supported the attack well and put in a really strong defensive shift.
CB: Seamus Coleman – 5/10 – Poleaxed by his own teammate as he got caught under the ball in the lead-up to the leveller. Shored up thereafter.
CB: Yerry Mina – N/A – Horrible mix-up with Coleman from a long ball when he should have done better, leading directly to the equaliser. Picked up a knock shortly afterwards and was forced off.
CB: Mason Holgate – 7/10 – Not all that defensively before popping up with a simple header to restore the lead. Improved as the game went on.
LB: Vitaliy Mykolenko – 8/10 – What a goal! Expertly-taken volley into the bottom corner from the edge. Eventually forced off injured.
RM: Anthony Gordon – 6/10 – Escaped punishment for a kick out at Jonny Evans. Didn’t have many clear openings but such a willing runner and his crossing caused issues.
CM: Abdoulaye Doucoure – 6/10 – Came so close to squeezing the ball home before Leicester went straight up the other end and scored. Ran hard but faded somewhat.
CM: Fabian Delph – 7/10 – Typically tenacious display as he popped up everywhere, even throwing in a Cruyff turn on Tielemans. Marshalled the midfield expertly.
LM: Demarai Gray – 6/10 – Similar to Gordon on the opposite wing. His hold-up play relieved some pressure.
ST: Richarlison – 5/10 – Free header led to the second for his side. Typically hard-working display but to no avail this time.
SUB: Michael Keane (18′ for Mina) – 6/10 – Slotted into the backline seamlessly.
SUB: Jonjoe Kenny (66′ for Mykolenko) – 5/10
SUB: Salomon Rondon (74′ for Gray) – N/A
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