In Review

Everton vs Leicester: Vardy vs Lukaku in game of the week

Victory for the Foxes would secure top spot in the Premier League over Christmas, but the Toffees will fancy their chances

It's the last weekend before Christmas and it promises to be an eventful one in the Premier League, as the departure of Jose Mourinho from Chelsea reverberates around the country.

The biggest clash of the round sees second-placed Arsenal take on third-placed Man City at the Emirates, but that game is not until Monday night. Before then there are plenty of other contenders, and it is fair to say that all eyes will be on Stamford Bridge on Saturday as Mourinho-less Chelsea take on fellow strugglers Sunderland.

Victory for Sam Allardyce's Black Cats would put them level on points with the champions and could send the Blues into the bottom three.

Although it will be fascinating to see how the Blues get on without the Special One, the game of the week has to be the clash between Everton and high-flying Leicester City.

Aside from Chelsea's decline, the story of the season has been the rise of the Foxes, and if they can register another win against the Toffees they will be sitting pretty on top of the tree at Christmas.

Central to the Leicester resurgence has been the form of strikers Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, but Everton have some big weapons of their own, and the division's three most prolific strikers will all be in action at Goodison Park.

Romelu Lukaku has 12 league goals this term, one more than Mahrez and three fewer that Vardy. And if the Belgium striker finds the net on Saturday it will be the seventh game in a row in which he has scored, putting him on course to challenge Vardy's record of 11 games – set earlier this season.

While Vardy has Mahrez and Marc Albrighton to thank for many of his strikes, so Lukaku can thank Ross Barkley and Garard Deulofeu for their support.

The difference on Saturday could be down to the two defences. On paper, Leicester's defence is creaky. Few people who remember Wes Morgan as an erstwhile Nottingham Forest player would have expected to see him marshalling the defence of the Premier League leaders, and he will be up against it on Saturday without both Robert Huth alongside him for the first time this season. Everton on the other hand should have John Stones fit, after he took a knock against Norwich.

The Toffees are also in fine form, something that their league position of tenth belies, and are unbeaten in eight games. Leicester also have just one win over Everton in 18 league games, but are unbeaten in their last 11 away league matches.

It makes for a confusing picture. Mark Lawrenson of the BBC predicts a draw, the verdict on Goal.com is that Leicester will win, while Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson tips Everton to win.

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