LIVERPOOL, England — Theo Walcott scored his first goals for Everton in a 2-1 Premier League victory over Leicester on Wednesday.
The former Arsenal winger’s first-half double put the home side in control before Jamie Vardy’s penalty ensured a nervous finish for the hosts.
The victory provided some respite for Everton, which had slipped to within five points of the relegation zone after failing to win its previous six league games.
Leicester’s lack of potency in attack could be attributed to the absence of Riyad Mahrez, who reportedly did not train Tuesday after being the subject of a bid from Premier League leader Manchester City.
However, there was no excuse for Leicester’s defensive frailties, with Everton taking full advantage.
Cuco Martina poached the ball from his opposing full back Ben Chilwell on the edge of the Leicester box, allowing Gylfi Sigurdsson to square for Walcott, who finished neatly from close range to give Everton the lead after 25 minutes.
Walcott, who had made just six Premier League appearances for Arsenal this season before joining Everton earlier in January, continued his fine start with the Toffees when he doubled the lead six minutes before the break.
Wayne Rooney’s cross to the back post was headed back across goal by Michael Keane, with Walcott timing his arrival perfectly to volley past Kasper Schmeichel.
Leicester pulled a goal back in the 71st when Vardy converted from the spot after Rooney tugged back Wilfried Ndidi, but Everton held on for the win.
Leicester, which hadn’t conceded in its three previous league games, drops to eighth in the table with 34 points, three clear of Everton which stays ninth.
There was an additional boost for Everton as full back Seamus Coleman made his first Premier League appearance for 319 days having recovered from a double fracture of his leg.