Everton 2-1 Leicester City
- Goals: Richarlison (£8.3m), Gylfi Sigurdsson (£7.3m) | Kelechi Iheanacho (£5.7m)
- Assists: Anthony Gordon (£4.5m), Lucas Digne (£5.7m) | None
- Bonus: Sigurdsson x3, Iheanacho x2, Gordon x1
Dominic Calvert-Lewin (£6.5m) and Jamie Vardy (£9.7m) remain goalless since the Premier League’s restart in mid-June, with both popular Fantasy Premier League forwards blanking in Wednesday’s meeting between Everton and Leicester City at Goodison Park.
The pair managed just one shot between them – a blocked one, at that – on Merseyside, as unrest grows in the Fantasy community: Vardy and Calvert-Lewin are the first and third most-sold FPL forwards of Gameweek 33+ at the time of writing.
It’s sometimes difficult to measure Vardy’s performances, as he has made a habit out of bagging huge hauls despite being anonymous for large periods of games.
He’s the jazz of FPL: it’s about the notes you don’t see, the off-the-ball runs and intelligent movement that can’t be measured by basic underlying stats.
He seldom needs a glut of chances, either, with his goal conversion rate of 30.2% the best among active Fantasy forwards this season.
Two goals in ten matches (both against Aston Villa) tells its own story, however, and he again looked well off his best against the Toffees.
Kelechi Iheanacho (£5.7m) was sent on at half-time to give Vardy some support up top and the Nigerian posed much more of a threat, linking up well with Leicester’s midfield and getting into some promising positions.
If there was some encouragement, it was that Vardy was involved in both of Iheanacho’s big chances after his introduction.
It was the senior striker whose flick had set Iheanacho free in the box for the Foxes’ deficit-halving goal in the 50th minute, although he was deprived of an assist as Mason Holgate (£4.3m) wellied the ball against the Nigeria international’s face and past Jordan Pickford (£5.2m).
Vardy’s knock-down then presented Iheanacho with an excellent opportunity to equalise a quarter of an hour later, only for the budget forward to slice his effort over.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Iheanacho start against Crystal Palace this weekend, it’s just whether it’s alongside Vardy or, unthinkably, instead of him.
Harvey Barnes‘ (£6.0m) position looks in even greater jeopardy.
The Leicester winger, in such great form before lockdown, was hooked at the interval as Brendan Rodgers moved from a 4-1-4-1 to a 4-4-2, with James Maddison (£7.4m) brought on in his place.
Maddison had been an injury doubt going into the game but transformed his side’s display after the break, drifting across the frontline and probing just outside the box.
Speaking of his half-time system and personnel changes, Rodgers – whose side have worryingly won just one of their last eight games – said:
We’ve had to try and change it at half-time to rescue the game. We get an early goal in the second half, and then we were much, much better, which makes it equally as frustrating because we really set out to start with that tempo and aggression, and we didn’t do that.
It felt we had enough of the ball. We got into some really good areas, we just couldn’t quite find that final bit of creativity that could get us the goal. Then, it ended up being a disappointing result for us.
While Vardy has struggled for chances since the restart, Calvert-Lewin has been getting plenty of them: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (£11.0m) is currently the only forward to have had more shots from Gameweek 30+ onwards.
Only one effort was registered against the Foxes but Calvert-Lewin did have another excellent opportunity to score, racing through on goal late in the first half only to allow Caglar Soyuncu (£4.9m) to get back and shoulder him off the ball.
FPL managers will likely cut Calvert-Lewin more slack than Vardy given the price difference (and the fact that he is getting into the right positions) but with Spurs, an in-form Southampton and Wolves up next, the fixtures aren’t outstanding.
At least Calvert-Lewin offers a relative security of starts, having been named in every single Everton starting XI since Carlo Ancelotti’s appointment.
He and Richarlison (£8.3m) have been the strike pairing in every league match when fit and available and the Brazilian opened the scoring on Wednesday, finishing smartly after some fine work from budget FPL forward Anthony Gordon (£4.5m) down the left flank.
Richarlison almost added to his tally but sliced wide from a good position just before half-time and his afternoon was brought to a halt in the 57th minute as he limped from the field of play.
Ancelotti downplayed the severity of the Brazil international’s issue after full-time, however, saying:
It was only a knock on his ankle, he will recover without problem.
There wasn’t to be a third straight clean sheet for the Toffees but there was more encouragment for those FPL managers who own Holgate et al, with the back four all excellent and Leicester’s solitary goal freakish in nature.
Lucas Digne (£5.7m) underscored his attacking threat with an admittedly fortuitous assist for Gylfi Sigurdsson‘s (£7.3m) penalty – Wilfried Ndidi (£5.0m) handling the Frenchman’s cross – and later went on to create a good opening for Richarlison before seeing a shot of his own almost deflect in.
Everton XI (4-4-2): Pickford; Coleman, Keane, Holgate, Digne; Iwobi (Mina 68′), Andre Gomes, Sigurdsson, Gordon (Bernard 79′); Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison (Davies 57′).
Leicester City XI (4-1-4-1): Schmeichel; Justin, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell; Ndidi; Albrighton (Gray 81′), Tielemans (Perez 81′), Praet (Maddison 45′), Barnes (Iheanacho 45′); Vardy.
FPL Lessons Learned from Gameweek 32+
- Aston Villa 0-1 Wolves
- Watford 1-3 Southampton
- Crystal Palace 0-1 Burnley
- Brighton 0-3 Manchester United
- Arsenal 4-0 Norwich City
- Bournemouth 1-4 Newcastle United
- Everton 2-1 Leicester City
- West Ham United 3-2 Chelsea
- Sheffield United 3-1 Tottenham Hotspur
- Manchester City 4-0 Liverpool
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