This evening sees Leicester City host Everton at the King Power Stadium, with the Foxes, depending on results elsewhere, hoping to go top of the league.
Indeed, should Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur play out a draw in their 8:00pm kick off, Leicester would sit top of the Premier League table by beating Everton come the end of the night.
The Foxes have got off to a flying start in 2020-21, winning eight of their first 12 league matches to date as well as qualifying for the Europa League knockout stages as group winners.
Everton also enjoyed a solid start to the campaign and were widely lauded for their recruitment in the summer. Manager Carlo Ancelotti managed to bring some big names to Goodison Park, including Napoli’s Allan and Real Madrid’s James Rodríguez.
But who has the stronger starting XI? To get to the bottom of the question, GiveMeSport has gone through both clubs’ squads and put together, what we believe to be, the strongest combined starting lineup.
Goalkeeper: Kasper Schmeichel
Where better to start than between the sticks? Leicester’s Schmeichel gets the nod here.
Jordan Pickford may have been England’s hero of the 2018 World Cup, but his form since has left a lot to be desired. His decision making in particular has been called into question, and beyond his solid distribution, we pretty much give Schmeichel the edge in every other attribute.
Centre-backs: Çağlar Söyüncü and Jonny Evans
This was a tough one. While Michael Keane and Mason Holgate are undoubtedly talented defenders, the real head-scratcher was picking two from Evans, Söyüncü and Leicester’s new boy, Wesley Fofana.
In the end, we opted for the old guard: Evans has won Premier League titles with Manchester United and remains a pillar at the back, and Söyüncü was named in the Premier League team of the year last season.
The Turkey international has struggled with injuries this campaign — and Fofana has been impressive during his absence — but we’re going to have to go with Çağs, simply because he’s proven himself over a longer period of time.
Left-back: Lucas Digne
After the sale of Ben Chilwell, this was an easy one for us. Digne has been one of the Premier League’s best left-backs for over two seasons now, putting in consistently high performances with defensive solidity and attacking threat down the flank.
It’s been rumoured that Leiecster’s new signing Timothy Castagne will take up the left-back spot for the Foxes once him and Ricardo Pereira are fully fit, and while he’d be an upgrade on James Justin or Luke Thomas, he’s still not at Digne’s level.
Right-back: Ricardo Pereira
Séamus Coleman has been a phenomenal right-back over the years, and has even enjoyed a mini renaissance under Ancelotti, but the Irishman’s best days are behind him, meaning the obvious pick here is Ricardo.
Leicester’s form fell off a cliff last season and it’s no coincidence that it coincided with Ricardo picking up an ACL injury. The former Porto man carries a huge attacking threat and is the main source of his side’s creativity.
Holding Midfielders: Wilfred Ndidi and Allan
One man from each club here. Ndidi has forged a reputation as one of the best defensive midfielders in world football, let alone the Premier League, so his inclusion is all but carved in stone.
Likewise, Allan has a fantastic European pedigree, having represented Napoli on over 200 occasions. The Brazilian has helped Everton tighten up, shielding the backline superbly, and just pips Youri Tielemans for his place in this team.
Wingers: James Rodríguez and Richarlison
This is an area where Everton dominate. Richarlison was the Toffee’s second most expensive signing of all time — after Gylfi Sigurðsson — and has been a talisman for the team ever since joining back in 2018.
On the other side, Rodríguez has arguably been the Premier League’s signing of the summer, and oozes class every time he steps out onto the pitch. Both wingers are a cut above Leicester’s Harvey Barnes and Cengiz Ünder, so comfortably warrant their places here.
Attacking Midfielder: James Maddison
With stiff competition from the likes of Abdoulaye Doucouré and Gylfi Sigurðsson, choosing a number 10 wasn’t quite as straightforward as some of the other positions. But in the end Maddison won out for his overall quality.
Leicester’s playmaker has put up steady numbers in terms of goals and assists since signing from Norwich in 2018, and clearly has the potential to get even better.
Striker: Jamie Vardy
While Dominic Calvert-Lewin is enjoying a breakout season with Everton, we feel Vardy remains on another level. Vardy won the golden boot last season and is only one goal off Calvert-Lewin in the top scorer charts this time around.
We’ll have to wait and see whether Calvert-Lewin gets called up to the England squad for Euro 2021, but if Vardy hadn’t retired internationally, we’re pretty confident he’d be on the plane, and that alone was enough to sway our vote.