Sunday's Premier League Soccer Pick: Everton vs. Leicester City

Lee Phelps

Saturday, February 21, 2015 4:55 PM GMT

Two teams desperate for wins in contrasting form go up against each other this weekend. William Hill's Lee Phelps has looked at the betting  odds and has picked out some free soccer picks.

Ten points separate bottom club Leicester and Everton in 12th, with the Merseyside team still looking for a minimum of 10 points for Premier League safety from their remaining 13 games.

Leicester need 23 at least and that looks a mountain to climb. Just before we look at the match at Goodison Park, let’s take a look at the Foxes’ chances of staying in the top flight.

I’ve looked back at the last decade of Premier League tables to see what the relegation safety barrier actually is. Going back from last season to 2004/05, to be absolutely safe and not depending on goal difference clubs needed: 34, 37, 37, 40, 31, 35, 37, 39, 35 and 34 points. That averages out at 36. If you take into account a superior goal difference the average safety mark is 35.

Nigel Pearson’s side have managed just 0.68 points per game so far in their 25 games, so need to increase that to 1.5 a game to get to 36. In simple terms the minimum games they must win is four, with eight draws and one defeat between now and May 24th. Obviously the more they win the more they can lose, but can you see a team who have won four all season, winning five or six from the final 13?

Everton
Roberto Martinez men have a losing record on their return from Thursday night Europa League games, but only just. They have beaten QPR at home and Burnley away, so hardly the best opposition, but have lost to Crystal Palace (3-2 at home) Manchester United (2-1 away) and Tottenham (2-1 away), with a draw at Sunderland in there too.

Their best form has been in Europe, with a 6-1 ‘aggregate’ win over Wolfsburg (who beat Bayern Munich 4-1 a fortnight ago) but they can’t afford to let their Premier League form get any worse.

They have drawn their last four home games and only have one win in eight at Goodison, scoring five and conceding six in the process. Add to that two successive nil nil draws with only five shots on target in both games and you could argue a jaded Everton are there for the taking if you attack them.

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Leicester City
Nigel Pearson said after the Arsenal defeat that he was fed up of being praised for the way his side plays, with no points to show for it. They had 11 shots on the Gunners’ goal, with six on target, putting them under intense pressure, but ultimately finishing up as plucky losers.

In the reverse fixture the Foxes came from behind twice to get a 2-2 draw at home to Everton during their purple patch when Leo Ulloa was scoring everything he hit on target. He has a new partner up front in Andrej Kramaric. He has two goals in four starts for his new club having already banged in 21 in 18 in Croatia.

At 4.5 (7/2) on soccer odds board he is far too big a price to ignore to score in this match. I know Everton have been much better defensively, but their demise has been attributed to an ageing defence and midfield, so I don’t see them being any fresher having played in Switzerland on Thursday night. In fact Everton haven’t kept a clean sheet on their return from a European trip this season.

 

Soccer pick
For this Premier league soccer pick I’m really tempted to go for a Leicester win here at 5.5 (9/2) but it instinctively feels like the bookies have got that price spot on. I wouldn’t put anyone off that or the safety first option of Leicester plus one goal on the handicap at 2.15 (23/20), but I’m banking on the away team scoring and that man Kramaric getting it.

Free Soccer Pick: Andrej Kramaric anytime goal 4.5 (7/2)

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