Two new managers do battle this weekend in an important clash at the bottom of the Premier League table. Ex-Southampton and Lyon man Claude Puel takes the reins from interim boss Michael Appleton for Leicester, whilst club legend David Unsworth takes charge of his first league game as Everton manager.
Leicester will be buoyed by their improved performances over the past week, following up their league win over Swansea with a comfortable 3-1 victory in the Carabao Cup against Leeds. Puel will be hoping to continue this good form on Sunday.
Riyad Mahrez was instrumental in these successes. He set up both goals against Swansea, one with a vicious whipped cross, resulting in an own goal, the other a beautifully cushioned pass to give Shinji Okazaki a tap in. He also scored with a lovely dribble and finish against Leeds.
If he turns it on this Sunday, Everton could find him difficult to stop.
It will be interesting to see whether Puel puts his faith in the hard-working Okazaki. Former manager Craig Shakespeare never seemed fully convinced by the striker, but Appleton gave him a start last week and he bagged the winner. Despite his limited playing time, he has managed four goals already this season.
Sky Sports are reporting that Sean Dyche is hot favourite to take over at Goodison Park but Unsworth is determined to prove that he deserves the role on a permanent basis. A gutsy performance by the team in the narrow Carabao Cup defeat to Chelsea on Wednesday will have helped his chances.
Unsworth played alongside Wayne Rooney when the latter made his breakthrough into the Everton team at the age of 16. Putting loyalties aside however, Rooney did net an excellent goal against Arsenal in Ronald Koeman’s final game in charge and he is likely to start on Sunday.
Michael Keane was a marquee summer signing that was meant to shore up an ageing Everton backline. However, his poor form saw him dropped for the midweek cup tie, and Unsworth may well choose to partner Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams again in central defence.
Everton’s need for a win is arguably greater, as they are currently trapped in the relegation zone, but Puel will want to make a good impression on a sceptical fan base. Both managers know the importance of a win, so expect an open encounter.