Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin reacts after missing a chance to score against Leicester in their match at the King Power Stadium. (Reuters photo)
Leicester were reinvigorated on Sunday by new manager Claude Puel’s altered team selection and tactics, and produced a devastating counter-attacking goal on the way to a 2-0 victory over Everton at King Power Stadium in Leicester in the English Premier League.
The recalled Demarai Gray went on a stunning run from the edge of his own box to help set up Leicester’s first goal by Jamie Vardy, before adding a slightly fortuitous second himself.
Former Everton player David Unsworth is in caretaker charge of the Toffees following Ronald Koeman’s dismissal, but his side’s display against Leicester will have done little for his aspirations to land the role on a permanent basis.
A fourth game without a win, three of which have been losses, saw Everton stay in the relegation zone with eight points from its opening 10 games.
Unhappy at making just nine Premier League starts last season, Gray almost left Leicester during the summer. The Foxes will be relieved they turned down significant transfer offers to keep hold of the 21-year-old.
Despite that show of faith, Gray had started just one league game this season under Craig Shakespeare, who was fired by Leicester earlier in October.
In his first game in charge, Puel adjusted Leicester’s shape, moving Riyad Mahrez into a more central position to make space for Gray on the wing. It took the England under-21 international just nine minutes to reward his new manager.
Gray picked up the ball on the edge of his own box, using his pace to evade Tom Davies before skipping past the challenge of Idrissa Gueye and releasing Mahrez with a perfectly weighted pass down the right side.
Mahrez matched Gray’s precision as he crossed into the path of Vardy, who was never going to miss from close range.
Just before the half-hour mark, Gray cut in off the left flank to unleash a goal-bound cross, which was deflected in via a clumsy attempt at a clearance from Jonjoe Kenny.
Everton fought hard to get back into the game after the break, but Leicester captain Wes Morgan produced some timely interceptions to preserve his side’s lead.
Leicester are up to 11th and now are unbeaten in four Premier League games.
At Brighton, both the home club Brighton & Hove Albion and Southampton extended their unbeaten runs in the Premier League to three games with a 1-1 draw earlier on Sunday.
The Saints took an early lead through Steven Davis but newly promoted Brighton drew level shortly after halftime thanks to Glenn Murray’s header.
Neither side could complain at the result which stabilizes both clubs’ solid starts to the season, leaving Southampton ninth in the table with a point more than Brighton.
Having scored a stunning winner against West Bromwich Albion last weekend, Sofiane Boufal was given a start by Saints manager Mauricio Pellegrino and the Algeria winger’s confidence was evident from the start.
It was his smart footwork that won Southampton the free kick leading to the opening goal after just seven minutes.