Everton vs Leeds – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Saturday 18th February 2023
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we preview Leeds’ visit to Goodison Park. Both sides have been relegation-threatened for much of the season – this is the very definition of a six-pointer. Read on with our Everton vs Leeds prediction.
Everton vs Leeds Match Preview
Everton’s new manager bounce quickly transformed into a thud following a 2-0 derby defeat against Liverpool in which they were out-thought and outplayed. The manner of the defeat will have been particularly jarring for new manager Sean Dyche, as that particular Everton team were a pale imitation of the side that earned a deserved shock 1-0 victory over Arsenal in the previous match. We have to be careful not to be too harsh on Everton for their derby-day capitulation though; for all their struggles this season, Liverpool can call on superior players in pretty much every department and perhaps that derby win will help to ignite their Premier League campaign.
Unfortunately for the Toffees, the Premier League table doesn’t care about sentiment or narratives, and as such, they find themselves in 18th position with a challenging run of fixtures coming up. How challenging? Well, in order; Aston Villa (H), Arsenal (A), Nottingham Forest (A), Brentford (H), Chelsea (A), Spurs (H) and Man Utd (A). Puzzled by Nottingham Forest’s inclusion there? They’re a different proposition at home. This isn’t to say that Everton can’t earn positive results against those sides, more that they need to start taking advantage of their easier fixtures. Leeds aren’t pushovers either but they are in 17th place for a reason.
Leeds found themselves surfing a wave of hope and optimism after earning a 2-2 draw at the home of their hated rivals Man Utd, before being wiped out with a 2-0 home defeat. OK, they weren’t that bad and the game was keenly contested, but they were somewhat fortunate in terms of xG against the Red Devils in the first match so swings and roundabouts and all that. Regardless, one point from two games is still one point from games, and Leeds have averaged less than a point all season. The importance of winning this game cannot be overestimated.
Should Leeds be able to earn a valuable three points here, they’d have a real chance to build some momentum with their following match against struggling, managerless Southampton. While momentum may seem to be a nebulous, catch-all concept, it goes without saying that when teams are faced with a relegation battle, morale-boosting victories or even hard-fought draws are undoubtedly a welcome panacea which helps to build belief and provide much-needed inspiration.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Patterson
Will Not Play: Calvert-Lewin, Townsend
Might Not Play: Cooper, Perkins, Roca, Sinisterra
Will Not Play: Dallas, Forshaw, Gray, Rodrigo
Everton vs Leeds Lineups (Predicted)
Everton (4-3-3): Pickford; Mykolenko, Tarkowski, Coady, Coleman; Gueye, Onana, Doucoure; Gray, McNeil, Maupay
Leeds (4-2-3-1): Meslier; Firpo, Koch, Wober, Ayling; Adams, McKennie; Gnonto, Aaronson, Summerville; Bamford
Everton vs Leeds Analysis
Everton Can Stifle Leeds
Leeds are at their best when afforded the opportunity to attack in transition and, in a new development that was lacking under outgoing manager Jesse Marsch, stretch the play in the wide areas to wreak havoc from the byline. Leeds did this to great effect recently, particularly in the first match against Manchester United. This newly implemented tactical approach could actually play straight into Everton’s hands.
As most of us already know, one of Sean Dyche’s strengths as a tactician is his ability to organise a compact defence that restricts the opposition to (mostly) half-chances in the area. It, therefore, stands to reason that Leeds’ preferred avenue of attack will meet with heavy resistance here, and it would be folly to rely on the possibility of a defensive mistake arising from speculative crosses into the box.
Time and time again we saw Dyche’s Burnley side weather these – well, we hesitate to call them storms, more like irritating gusts of wind – against sides who weren’t prepared or equipped to play patient football designed to force defenders into positional mistakes. Leeds aren’t a particularly bad team – they’ve been rather unlucky on a few occasions this season in the respect that their play arguably merited better results, but this seems like a bad tactical matchup for them.
Everton Can’t Show Too Much Ambition
We realise that both subheadings are Everton-oriented here, but we feel that Leeds’ ability to get a positive result here will depend upon being afforded the time and the space that will most likely be available if Everton overcommit players forward during the game. If Everton turn this game into a war of attrition by sitting in, playing the safe ball in position and transitioning by hitting the ball long while mostly retaining their defensive shape, this could be a long afternoon for Leeds.
However, if Everton don’t show the kind of discipline and resilience that they demonstrated they were capable of against Arsenal, then Leeds could easily overrun them in midfield. The fledgling partnership between Adams and McKennie in central midfield, mirroring their international link-up for the United States, has the potential to become a dynamic partnership worthy of a top-half side in the Premier League.
Despite their lowly league position, Leeds have proven their ability to quickly transition and put the opposition on the back foot when allowed to do so, and their new-found use of width which many observers felt they were crying out for adds another dimension to this match. The performances of Mykolenko and the hugely experienced Seamus Coleman will be absolutely vital here in terms of remaining disciplined and only supplementing the attack when appropriate cover is available from one or two of Everton’s midfield three.
It won’t be pretty, but it doesn’t have to be. This particular tactical battle will likely favour Everton for the reasons we’ve outlined above. Though we admit to feeling a little nervous at the prospect of backing a relegation-threatened side to keep a clean sheet in any match, we believe that Leeds will find clear-cut chances to be something of a rarity.
Everton should be able to put their derby day disappointment behind them – for all their problems this season, even this version of Liverpool would not be a side that Everton would typically target for three points (I’m sure that publicly they would disagree of course). With one or two hairy moments along the way, we think a 1-0 win characterised by dogged defending and the occasional incisive foray forward will be enough for Everton to squeak by here.
Everton 1-0 Leeds
Everton vs Leeds Betting Tip – Everton Odds:
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