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Joel Robles is likely to be in goal in place of Maarten Steklelenburg who has a dead leg.
The push for a mid-season winter break seems to be getting stronger by the year but there is something undeniably special about the Festive calendar and the closest game to Christmas in particular.
Boxing Day away; Evertonians in blue Santa hats; adapted Christmas carols; and, oh, what fun it would be to see Everton get something away! Not since the point they so impressively earned at the Etihad Stadium in mid-October have the Blues got anything from a match away from Goodison Park and it is three and a half months since they last won on their travels.
There is no doubt that the away form is a key area of concern for Ronald Koeman but while the defeat at Watford was another low point in a season full of them, the last two home performances, against Arsenal and Liverpool, have at least established a baseline for the effort, energy, pressing and spirit that is required if a top-six finish is going to remain a realistic goal.
Koeman will have to pick his charges up again from defeat, however, as he prepares to take Everton to Leicester City, the scene of a weak display earlier this year as the Blues rolled out the blue carpet ahead of the Foxes' coronation as Premier League Champions.
The unlikelihood of their title triumph has perhaps been underscored by their struggling defence of it so far this season. Leicester come into this game sitting in 15th place, three points off the relegation zone and 26 points behind the current leaders, Chelsea.
They have shown signs of life recently though with a 4-2 victory over Manchester City that relieved the pressure on Claudio Ranieri, albeit thanks to a hat-trick from Jamie Vardy. The England striker will be missing from their line-up, however, as he serves the first match of a three-game ban.
He will be joined in the stands by two more key members of the Foxes team — both Robert Huth and Christian Fuchs will also be suspended while Danny Drinkwater is a doubt through injury. All four are important members of Ranieri's side and will certainly force the Italian to dig deeper into his squad.
Koeman, meanwhile, will be forced into more changes to his starting XI after James McCarthy succumbed to another hamstring strain and Maarten Stekelenburg was forced out of the Merseyside derby with a dead leg. Gareth Barry replaced the Ireland international to limited effect against Liverpool last Monday but with Tom Cleverley out of favour and Koeman still reluctant to satisfy the growing clamour for Tom Davies' inclusion, the veteran will likely get the nod to partner Idrissa Gueye in central midfield.
Further forward, the extra dimension that Enner Valencia has brought in the last couple of games will likely see him keep his place and while Ross Barkley's erratic has become a topic of much conversation, a lack of alternatives will probably see him continue in his role behind Romelu Lukaku.
While there has been a feeling at the lowest points of the campaign under the new manager that little has changed from the team's struggles under Roberto Martinez, Koeman can go a long way to restoring the positive feeling of progress that he enjoyed at the start of the season by picking up a win at the King Power Stadium. His predecessor was a dead man walking by the time Everton were beaten convincingly 3-1 in early May but this trip to the Midlands offers the Dutchman the chance to engender some much-needed positivity again heading into the final game of the year.
Kick-off: 3pm, Monday 26th December, 2016
Referee: Stuart Atwell
Last Time: Leicester 3 - 1 Everton
Predicted Line-up: Robles, Coleman, Williams, Jagielka, Baines, Barry, Gueye, Lennon, Barkley, Valencia, Lukaku
Full details: ToffeeWeb match page
Reader Comments (33)
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1 Posted 26/12/2016 at 08:45:00
But as ever we hope COYB
3 Posted 26/12/2016 at 08:59:56
We then need to play counter attack while not sitting too deep. No Vardy to run away from us.
5 Posted 26/12/2016 at 09:02:11
6 Posted 26/12/2016 at 09:23:43
Leicester are hot and clod but we must match them for work rate to stand a chance.
7 Posted 26/12/2016 at 09:24:48
8 Posted 26/12/2016 at 10:04:54
9 Posted 26/12/2016 at 10:08:49
Barry and Claverley will likely start but will hardly provide additional energy to the manager's hoof ball tactics.
Two teams in decline, I fear !
10 Posted 26/12/2016 at 10:21:25
11 Posted 26/12/2016 at 10:23:45
Hope my bet goes west and we win!
12 Posted 26/12/2016 at 10:27:44
13 Posted 26/12/2016 at 10:38:35
14 Posted 26/12/2016 at 10:55:27
Just doesn't look like an International defender really. If he was English probably wouldn't get a sniff of the squad but he's a regular starter for Argentina so obviously rated. He always looks like he has a mistake in him and appears a bit awkward. However I agree with most and think a run of games is what he needs to get some form. He was ok last season when he got a run.
Jagielka. Great servant but he is pretty much done. Possibly injuries taken a toll but his yard of pace and agility have dwindled. Still good for some games but not a regular starter anymore.
15 Posted 26/12/2016 at 11:04:03
Coleman Williams FunesMori Baines
Deulofeu Barkley Valencia
Hewelt, Jags, Holgate, Davies, Lennon, Mirallas, Calvert-Lewin
16 Posted 26/12/2016 at 11:11:30
17 Posted 26/12/2016 at 11:28:31
With the number of midfielders we have in the squad its amazing how few decent options we have there. Personally I'd try a back three and have Baines and Coleman push up a bit so we can switch from 532 to 352 depending on how things are going, Holgate next to Williams and Jagielka. Valencia and Lukaku up top.
Just hope whichever team is put out there runs their socks off and comes back with a result.
19 Posted 26/12/2016 at 12:09:34
Sometimes a few injuries force a manager to change track, which is what Koeman, has got to try and do, if our fortunes are to change, instead of just waiting for the money?
20 Posted 26/12/2016 at 12:16:41
That being said for the first time in my life I'm just not arsed; I'm pissed off with watching a stuttering side with, if we get lucky, TWO chances on goal. I'm pissed off seeing a team crying out to be 4-4-2, playing the same way until they 'get it' or he brings in players that do.
I'm listening to big Sam's first interview as the Palace manager, and he said he wants to get the system to fit the players- how simple is that, how non-rocket science is that.
Obviously I'm not calling for big Sam or anyone like that, but managers/coaches are sometimes too clever by half. Pre News Years resolution: a ban on square pegs in round holes, oh and 3 pts doday.
21 Posted 26/12/2016 at 12:34:43
22 Posted 26/12/2016 at 12:50:11
23 Posted 26/12/2016 at 13:16:18
Up and at 'em you Blues - keep that Arsenal/early derby tempo going!
And Happy Boxmas everyone.
25 Posted 26/12/2016 at 13:45:27
Several players approaching their last performance for Everton. May well see some 'shop window' inclusions between now and Southampton.
Soundly beaten today. Koeman a grave disappointment.
26 Posted 26/12/2016 at 14:01:31
A point at the King Power will be a good return. I expect Koeman to play one up top and pack the midfield.
If we are still in the game with 20 minutes to go, then He might go for it.
1-1 for me.
27 Posted 26/12/2016 at 14:05:46
It's not just feeling there's good statistical evidence for it.
The games against Arsenal n Liverpool were a free swing, not expected to win. The pressure returns today and for Hull n Southampton as they are winnable games.
True to form Koeman goes defensive with 5 at the back. Very few reasons to feel good about that side.
28 Posted 26/12/2016 at 14:06:22
We'll play well on the break and be 2 up by half time. Mirallas to start and get first goal. 3:0
29 Posted 26/12/2016 at 14:06:33
Coleman Holgate Williams Baines
Holgate is ready, proved that earlier in the season and coming on recently. Same for Davies, both need to step up to the first team or they will be lost to mediocrity. Gueye to play behind the front two, his energy used further up the field. The front 2 and Barclay/ Davies to capitalise. Barry playing across the back 4. Lukaku and Valencia working closer together and in tandem drag their back four about, no standing about. Defend from the front. Because of the increased work rate of the front 2 Calvert-Lewin to come on. Lukaku who if he puts a proper shift will have scored 2 be knackered and replaced after 60 mins.
30 Posted 26/12/2016 at 14:10:10
31 Posted 26/12/2016 at 14:12:57
A positive move in my opinion. Just hope Lukaku doesnt get isolated and that Davies gets his chance.
32 Posted 26/12/2016 at 14:15:12
If we watch a shambolic display and get stuffed anyway, then Koeman should face the flak. Let's hope it works.
33 Posted 26/12/2016 at 14:15:38
34 Posted 26/12/2016 at 14:24:01
35 Posted 26/12/2016 at 14:25:35
36 Posted 26/12/2016 at 14:30:24
Why don't we ever get a manager who thinks we should be going out to win every game?
38 Posted 26/12/2016 at 14:46:01
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