Post by Everton News. on Jan 31, 2018 19:09:22 GMT
Seamus Coleman is set to make his return to first-team action after he was handed a start against Leicester City on Wednesday night.
Having played an hour for the Under-23s in their Premier League Cup tie against Portsmouth last week, Sam Allardyce has seen enough to put him straight into his starting line-up against the Foxes.
Coleman has missed the past 10 months after breaking his leg against Wales playing for Republic of Ireland back in March 2017.
He replaces Jonjoe Kenny, who drops to the bench, one of six changes made by Blues boss Allardyce.
Oumar Niasse comes in for January signing Cenk Tosun, while Phil Jagielka and Michael Keane are preferred to Ashley Williams and Mason Holgate in central defence. That means skipper Jagielka will move to 369 Everton appearances, seeing him go level with Kevin Sheedy at 21st on the Club’s all-time appearance list.
Academy graduates Tom Davies and Wayne Rooney are also handed starts by Allardyce.
Jordan Pickford starts in goal, with his back four consisting of Coleman, Cuco Martina, Jagielka and Keane.
Davies and Idrissa Gana Gueye anchor the midfield, with Rooney operating slightly in front of the duo, and Theo Walcott and Gylfi Sigurdsson supporting Niasse up front.
Post by Everton News. on Jan 31, 2018 21:48:52 GMT
Theo Walcott scored his first Everton goals, Seamus Coleman made his comeback from a broken leg and the Blues secured their first win of 2018, as Sam Allardyce’s charge's battled past 2015/16 Premier League winners Leicester 2-1 under the lights at Goodison.
Walcott was the star of the show, scoring twice in the first half to send Everton to victory, in amongst the off-field business associated with the final hours of transfer deadline day.
The January recruit side-footed in a Gylfi Sigurdsson cross on 25 minutes and volleyed home again a quarter of an hour later to seal a first win since mid-December.
Jamie Vardy netted with a 70th-minute penalty but Everton held on for a win, despite a late rally from the visitors who hit the woodwork twice in the closing stages.
It will also be an evening remembered for a fantastic comeback display from Coleman. The defender had played only 60 minutes of an Under-23s’ fixture since recovering from his long-term injury, but he battled through.
Allardyce had hinted in his pre-match press conference that Coleman could get the nod to start and, indeed, the Republic of Ireland captain did - his first appearance in a Premier League fixture in more than 10 months.
Other standout team news was the inclusion of Oumar Niasse who was rewarded for his equaliser from the bench against West Bromwich Albion last time out with promotion into the starting line-up. Back also came Phil Jagielka, Michael Keane, Idrissa Gana Gueye, Wayne Rooney and Tom Davies as Allardyce made wholesale changes.
It was a competitive, even start under the Goodison lights and a stretched, low save from Foxes skipper Kasper Schmeichel denied Walcott from scoring a long-range maiden strike in Everton colours.
Leicester, too, created early chances, both from corners. Centre-back Harry Maguire ghosted in and nodded over, while Nigerian Wilfred Ndidi went even closer when he looped another header goalwards, only to see it rebound back off the crossbar.
From then on it, the remainder of the first period was all Everton, inspired by a stunning individual performance from Walcott.
A promising sight was combination play between the ex-Gunner and Coleman down the right-hand flank. There were signs of the pair building up a fledging partnership when the Blues full-back got on the overlap and centred on a couple of occasions.
Indeed, the game’s deadlock-breaking strike, scored by Everton on 25 minutes, came via a cross from the Blues’ right.
Coleman, however, wasn’t the source - instead it arrived after Cuco Martina picked the pocket of Chilwell, released Sigurdsson and from the Icelander’s precise low cut-back, Walcott darted in at the far post to bury low into the bottom corner. An excellently-worked move, culminating in a first Everton goal for the England international.
Walcott buzzed around all over the pitch during the first half but not so long after scoring, he was left grounded after getting a whack on the head. After an anxious few seconds receiving medical treatment, he thankfully regained his footing and was soon making another telling contribution.
Ten minutes later - and following a glorious chance missed by Niasse to make it 2-0 - Walcott doubled the Toffees’ lead with a second clinical finish of the evening.
Rooney, who had been playing in a deeper midfield role, sent over a searching cross, Keane climbed to head the ball back across goal and Walcott smashed in on the volley underneath Schmeichel.
The Blues could have even had a third before the interval had Niasse managed tighter control on a slide-rule pass from midfield, and Rooney guided a volley goalwards instead of narrowly wide of the target.
The second half was much of the same, with Everton on top and pressing for a bigger advantage.
Coleman continued his swashbuckling comeback performance with a series of forays down the right, one which began deep in his own half and ended when Niasse was unable to steer a shot towards the target just a few yards from goal. An inviting Coleman cross from the right, straight across goal also only needed a finishing touch.
Against the run of play, Leicester found themselves back in the game with 20 minutes to go when Vardy netted from the penalty spot. Rooney was adjudged to have fouled Ndidi off-the-ball and the England striker stepped up from 12 yards to send Pickford the wrong way.
That set the nerves around Goodison and Everton had a huge let-off when a Jagielka deflection was clawed onto the woodwork by Pickford and, from the follow-up, substitute Kelechi Iheanacho turned a hit a shot against the post.
The late introductions of Morgan Schneiderlin, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ashley Williams helped give fresh impetus to Everton as the Blues held on for three welcome points.