Everton took the lead against Leicester thanks to an excellent opportunist strike from Richarlison. Holgate forced home an important second goal to seal this vital win.
Robin Olsen started in goal in place of Pickford, with the outfield players unchanged from Saturday's win over Chelsea, and no surprises on the bench; James, Coleman, Digne and Gbamin still out injured.
Everton, wearing dawn grey and sea-foam green, kicked off in front of an empty stadium, hoofing the ball out wide left. Conservative play saw passbacks to Olsen, wellied upfield so that Leicester could take a run at the Everton defence, for Tielemans to lash the ball a foot or two wide.
When Everton eventually got the ball back, Iwobi tried a long through ball to feed Calvert-Lewin, then was set up with a real chance that he had no idea how to control, waving his ankle artfully in the vague direction of the ball from close range, but zero application, zero skill, zero desire, zero finesse.
Richarlison tussled with Justin, who won out as the Brazilian felt a feather on his back and went down: nothing given by Lee Mason. Iwobi won a corner off a handball outside the Foxes area, but nothing came of it.
Allan was dragged over by Mendy, for a daft yellow card for the home defender. Sigurdsson swung in a lovely ball but Fofana got his head to it first, for another corner that ended with a high boot from Holgate, trying to go for glory, catching Mendy. Ndidi pushed over Calvert-Lewin but nothing given.
Olsen was almost caught by a slow bouncing ball, Vardy tempted to nip in. Everton were doing well enough stifling the Foxes attack without much until Richarlison brilliantly took a fine potshot from outside the area, bouncing under Schmeichel's hand and into the net.
The home side responded with a fine move and a glorious gift for Vardy that he kindly headed straight into Olsen's arms! Then a Foxes free-kick was put behind for a corner, headed away by Keane but fired back in by Mendy, deflected wide of the angle for another corner, then a throw-in off Doucouré. Everton finally cleared.
A decent break saw Iwobi cross in but it was hard for either Everton player to control and the chance vanished. Iwobi then won another corner, with a shot from Doucouré deflected for another corner, headed away by Ndidi.
Richarlison got the ball in a good position but chose to chip in a cross rather than try the shot again. But Everton won a free-kick that was headed straight at Schmeichel by Calvert-Lewin, with the whole goal to exploit. But then disaster, as Allan became victim of a hamstring pull – more injury anguish for the Blues that saw Gomes on in his place.
Vardy looked to take a shot or win a penalty but Doucouré's deft touch denied him both as added time gave way to the half-time break on the back of a very comptent and controlled yet not scintillating Everton display, to go off with their noses ahead.
Everton started the second half determined to exert control over the game until the Foxes looked to break and Holgate fouled, getting a yellow card. Godfrey then got a yellow for pulling back Madisson. Everton were more conservative in possession, spurning forward play to piss around with the ball and invite the press from Leicester City that saw them win the ball again and again.
A corner for the home side saw Tielemans drive well wide, but the Foxes were on the attack again until Tielemans again put it behind. Everton were good in defence but poor in transition, until Iwobi decided to run at the home side but with no end result.
Barnes tempted Gomes into a stupid challenge and a yellow card. Barnes responded by running at the Everton defence and setting up Madisson who boldly skied his shot. But the pressure play was moving closer to the Everton goal, and it was perhaps time for another change? Doucouré tackled Barnes brilliantly to stifle another promising run with possession at 66 to 34% in the home side's favour.
Richarlison drew another foul in a decent advanced position, the Brazillian taking his time on the ground, favouring his left hand after taking his body weight. Sigurdsson scooped it forward for a corner as Richarlison returned with his wrist bandaged. From the free-kick, three bites of the cherry finally saw Holgate score off the corner after two reaction saves from Schmeichel off Mina and Calvert-Lewin.
Now oozing confidence, the game was well in Everton's control, Iwobi firing a strong cross that required Sigurdsson to improvise, his shot flying over. Richarlison had a chance to run at goal but was driven wide by Ndidi for a corner. Iwobi tied to profit from the corner but the Foxes broke at pace and came close to scoring but Everton's defence was simply too strong.
Gomes was tempted to tackle Perez and Lee Mason called a penalty but he had touched the ball fractionally as Perez went down, and Mason changed his mind after reviewing the VAR footage!Richarlisn was caught by Fuchs who was shown a yellow card, setting up a deep free-kick as Anthony Gordon was readied but it was Mina who headed weakly goalwards. More stalwart defending against the runs of Perez and Ihenacho was required. Perez scored off the corner but a slew of players were offside.
With the match won, Everton professionally played the game out to celebrate a very fine and important victory.
Scorer: Richarlison (21'), Holgate (72')
Leicester City: Schmeichel, Justin, Fofana, Ndidi, Fuchs, Tielemans, Mendy [Y:15], Ünder (62' Pérez), Maddison, Barnes, Vardy.
Subs: Morgan, Albrighton, Ward, Iheanacho, Praet Thomas.
Everton: Olsen, Holgate [Y:48'], Mina, Keane, Godfrey [Y:49'], Sigurdsson, Allan (41' Gomes [Y:64']), Doucouré, Iwobi(90+2' Kenny), Calvert-Lewin (90' Gordon), Richarlison.
Subs: Pickford, Tosun, Bernard, Davies
Referee: Lee Mason
VAR: Darren England
Everton's busy December continues tomorrow evening with a trip to Leicester City as Carlo Ancelotti looks to build on Saturday's spirited win over Chelsea.
The Toffees ended a run of just one win in seven with a 1-0 triumph over Frank Lampard's title-chasing outfit thanks to Gylfi Sigurdsson's penalty and it is likely that the manager will opt for the same starting XI at the King Power Stadium.
That's because both Seamus Coleman and James Rodriguez have been ruled out again with hamstring and calf injuries respectively, although there is hope that both could be back in time for the League Cup quarter-final against Manchester United next week.
“The squad is practically the same,” Ancelotti said in his pre-match press conference. “I don't want to take a risk on Seamus Coleman. At this point we prefer to leave him out of this game so he is ready for the next game on Saturday.
“We have James out who is starting his individual rehab and we will check in [with him] day by day. Also Delph is out but the others are all okay.
“I don't know [about James for the weekend]. It's an easy problem. Maybe if he is not available on Saturday, he will be available next Wednesday.”
Leicester have gone through an erratic patch of their own over the past couple of months, losing back-to-back matches against West Ham and Aston Villa at home in October and then falling to Fulham at the KP at the end of last month.
However, successive wins over Sheffield United and Brighton have lifted them back into the top four, three points off the summit. With Jamie Vardy back among the goals and James Maddison fit again, Brendan Rodgers's team look a daunting prospect once more.
The Foxes will be without some key defensive figures in the form of Johnny Evans, who is suspended, and both Caglar Soyuncu and Ricardo Pereira, who are out injured. Timothy Castagne, who made a flying start to life in the Premier League before succumbing to a thigh injury, could play for the first time in two months, though.
The same line-up as Saturday, with four centre-halves across the back, two of whom have good speed, would set Everton up as well as possible to deal with Vardy's pace in attack and Leicester's propensity to play on the counter-attack.
It promises to be another difficult encounter but, with the East Midlanders having shown themselves to be fallible at home and Everton hopefully exhibiting some renewed confidence, Ancelotti will be hopeful of coming away with a good result.
Victory for the Toffees would pull them to within a point of the Foxes in the Premier League table and put them back on the heels of the leaders heading into Saturday's game against struggling Arsenal.
Kick-off: 6pm, Wednesday 16 December 2020 n Amazon Prime Video
Referee: Lee Mason
VAR: Darren England
Last Time: Leicester City 2 - 1 Everton
Predicted Line-up: Pickford, Holgate, Mina, Keane, Godfrey, Allan, Doucouré, Iwobi, Sigurdsson, Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin