- Everton host Leicester City in the Premier League on Wednesday (6pm kick-off)
- Dave Downie of The Blue Room Podcast discusses the impact of new manager Carlo Ancelotti on Everton’s season
- The Toffees appointed a ‘world-class manager’ who has transformed the feeling around the Club, according to Downie
- Live coverage of the behind-closed-doors fixture begins at 5pm on LCFC TV and 5:50pm on LCFC Radio
City continue their Premier League campaign with a trip to Everton on Wednesday for Gameweek 32 of the season (6pm kick-off). The Foxes remain third in the standings, while Everton are 12th with 41 points from their 31 games so far this season.
Speaking to LCFC TV's City On The Sofa show earlier this week, Dave Downie, of the Blue Room Podcast, credits Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti for the club’s upturn in form.
“I think Everton will be a lot more optimistic than before the previous games because Leicester have ran the rule over Everton for the past couple of years,” Downie admitted. "It’s been quite a difficult time up to the point we hired Ancelotti earlier this season. Since then, there’s been a rapid increase in optimism around Goodison.
There seems to be a serenity around the training ground and he seems to bring the best out of the players as well.Dave Downie The Blue Room Podcast
“Obviously he’s a world-class manager with a stellar reputation and exactly the kind of appointment many Evertonians have wanted to see for quite some time really.
“I feel as if he’s brought a real mentality of calm. There seems to be a serenity around the training ground and he seems to bring the best out of the players.
“While the squad needs massive work and there’s a lot of things to do for him, he’s managed to find a pragmatic way of getting this team to play and pick up results, whilst still not having the talent available to him. So that really excites us going forward.
“You look ahead to transfer windows and it can only get better from our point of view in terms of squad quality, so for him to do this now with not so much at his disposal, it really bodes well for the future that he will have money to spend and he’s able to really bolster that squad.”
Everton have won one and drawn one of their two league fixtures since the restart, taking a point from the Merseyside derby before beating Norwich 1-0 at Carrow Road thanks to Michael Keane’s second-half strike.
Kelechi Iheanacho scored an injury winner when the two sides last met in the league in December.
The defensive resilience shown during those two games, keeping clean sheets in both, has underlined the work Ancelotti has put into the side since taking over, and means the Toffees can start to look up the table rather than down, according to Downie.
He continued: “The first-half of games seem to be about feeling your way back into competitive action. With Everton, it was very much the same.
“The Merseyside derby was a bit of a damp squib overall, but if Everton were going to get anything from that match, with the prowess of Liverpool this season, they had to do it that way. They had to be defensive, contain Liverpool and try to go on the counter attack later in the game. They did that and probably should have won it in the end.
“Norwich away was a difficult fixture simply because they are still fighting for their lives but Everton have also got a lot of pressure on them going there, because they are expected to win.
Everton played out a goalless stalemate with Merseyside rivals Liverpool on their return to Premier League action.
“We haven’t got a great away record this season either, so it’s been a really positive start. To get four points on the board, it eases any lingering doubts about Premier League survival and quickly eradicates them.
“Now we’re four or five points off seventh, which is probably going to be a European position. There’s very much a lot to play for in these final seven games of the season.”
With 23 goals between them this campaign, Everton’s strike force have become a potent threat and one which Downie believes Leicester will have to watch out for.
Brazilian international Richarlison has registered 10 goals this term, but his work rate has also made a difference to the way the team plays, while fellow 23-year-old Dominic Calvert-Lewin has 13 in his 29 Premier League appearances.
“You don’t have to look any further than the front two, simply because they are head and shoulders above everyone else,” Downie added.
Everton's front two have netted 23 league goals between them so far this season.
“There are inconsistencies in this squad and it’s been quite low on quality. We have a lot of injuries but these two have risen to the fore this season.
“Richarlison has been outstanding, his work-rate is immense and his stats read that he’s the best attacker in terms of getting back and winning tackles for his side, which says it all.
“Calvert-Lewin has really found his groove now. He’s a genuine Premier League striker, he’s a genuine goalscorer, so I think the Foxes will have their hands full with those two. I’m more concerned with the midfield battle because I think Leicester have got an immense midfield.”
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