Mason Holgate seals precious Everton win over lackluster Leicester | premier league
Fifteen minutes after the final whistle, a bouncing fuzzy blue end looked like being locked in a pub and Frank Lampard said he understood Everton fans’ reluctance to return home after watching their side record a precious victory in the fight for the Premier League. survival.
After all, they had a first win away from Goodison Park since August to cherish and, better still, the victory lifted Everton to 16th place, one point above the relegation zone with the advantage of a game in less on those below them. Even a calamitous confusion between Yerry Mina and Séamus Coleman, which allowed Patson Daka to cancel out Vitalii Mykolenko’s superb volley, would not tarnish this day, with Mason Holgate exposing Leicester’s vulnerabilities from set pieces to head for a winner.
Four days since Tammy Abraham launched into a corner to send Leicester into the Europa Conference League at the Stadio Olimpico, Brendan Rodgers has found himself with another nerve-wracking clip to go through. Richarlison smashed a free header towards the goal from former Leicester winger Demarai Gray’s corner kick and, with Kasper Schmeichel unable to get the ball to safety, Holgate feasted on the rebound.
“Mason was sick yesterday, couldn’t train with us, couldn’t travel with us, showed up at the hotel separately,” Lampard said. “He said, ‘I’m playing this game’ and that’s the attitude that will get us where we want to be this season.”
For Everton, who again had to thank Jordan Pickford for a catalog of fine saves – the best of which arguably prevented Nampalys Mendy from finding the top corner with a curled shot – successive wins for the first time since September breathe life into their hopes to remain with four games to go, the first a trip to relegated Watford on Wednesday.
Ukraine full-back Mykolenko opened the scoring in style in the sixth minute, sending a sweet left-footed volley into the top corner from the edge of the penalty area. “This goal for him is the culmination of a difficult period, arriving here in the Premier League mid-season, [with] what’s going on at home, no one can imagine how his head is going with it, and he’s been brilliant,” Lampard said.
Such joy proved short-lived as Leicester hit back in comical fashion five minutes later, seconds after Abdoulaye Doucouré nearly doubled Everton’s advantage when Schmeichel requested help from a post to prevent the midfield effort. Schmeichel kicked the ball downfield to Kelechi Iheanacho and at that moment a burlesque moment unfolded. Mina and Coleman collided as they searched for the same bouncing ball and the pair eventually allowed Daka to pass cleanly and finish past an exposed Pickford.
But on the half-hour, Everton regained the lead, feasting on a softer defense from Leicester, who were without James Maddison and James Justin through injury. The hosts improved when Harvey Barnes came on in the interval, but their fans left completely unsatisfied, prompting Rodgers to have “honest conversations” with his players.
“After games I normally don’t say much,” he said. “Normally, I will drop the next day and think. But it was extremely disappointing. We need honest feedback so we can move forward.
Youri Tielemans’ scoreless pass midway through the second half, which was gobbled up by Pickford, offered a microcosm of a painstaking performance.
It is now seven games without a win for Rodgers, who looked to Jamie Vardy for inspiration in the 66th minute. Barnes forced a few fine saves at Pickford, the first after Daka kept Iheanacho’s cross alive at the far post, and later when he sent a header from narrowly wide from a Timothy Castagne cross. The pained and passionate expression on Pickford’s face said it all. The same could be said for Rodgers.
Leicester, who have been booed full-time, have conceded 23 set-pieces this season, including 18 from corners. “The biggest disappointment was the corner,” Rodgers said. “Coming back into the game and conceding that, given that I changed the system to try to give more height to the team because I think that was something that we lacked, that player profile. But I thought it was sheer determination, to defend the ball in the box. It’s on me. I have to keep looking at this to try and get it right until the summer when we can actually do something on this subject.
I thought we started the game well, but then we undid our good work.
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