Leicester need to carefully weigh momentum vs. rest against Everton

Leicester City can all but mathematically secure Premier League safety with victory at Everton -- a place they have already won 2-1 at this season in the FA Cup.

The Foxes are hoping to make it seven straight wins in all competitions. Their current victory streak is an astonishing feat and had Leicester found this kind of form a little earlier in the season they might well be challenging for Europe.

City now have significant breathing space after beating Sunderland 2-0 last time out despite being below par in the game. They are not only highly likely to beat the drop but potentially finish in the top half of the table.

Mid-table mediocrity and a Champions League run is precisely what the club's Thai owners (and most realistic supporters) would have wanted at the beginning of the season.

It should also be pointed out during the club's so-called "glory years", at least prior to Claudio Ranieri guiding the Foxes to the Premier League title, Martin O'Neill only managed top 10 finishes in the Premier League. Thus, if Leicester were to repeat that achievement it certainly shouldn't be underestimated or deemed flat despite what happened last campaign.

Leicester can actually afford to lose at Everton this weekend, but will clearly want to build momentum ahead of their Champions League quarterfinal with Atletico Madrid next week.

That game is now more important than a trip to Goodison Park and considering how tired a number of key players looked against Sunderland last Tuesday Craig Shakespeare is likely to make a fair few changes.

Riyad Mahrez and Shinji Okazaki looked especially fatigued against the Black Cats. In-form Jamie Vardy -- who has scored five goals since Shakespeare replaced Ranieri -- could also be benched.

Shakespeare will be aware that Leicester's bit-part players already won once at Goodison Park, albeit against a second-string Toffees side in January. Ahmed Musa scored the winner in that game and could be given rare minutes.

Islam Slimani will also probably start after impressing off the bench against Sunderland and scoring the opening goal. The club's record signing has actually been better in the Champions League than Premier League and will be desperate to put in another stellar display in order to try and push for a start away at Atleti next week.

Everton will be wary of Leicester's sensational form but also know it's a very good time to host the Foxes. City's core stars won't want to get injured or leggy ahead of a showpiece game at the Vincente Calderon. That's not to say the regular starters won't give 100 percent or will be a touch reserved, but if the hosts score early we may see the toothless pre-Shakespeare Leicester return.

The Foxes main motivation, though, is carrying momentum into that match up with Diego Simeone's side. The only way Leicester can stun Atleti is with swagger and confidence -- the qualities they showed in abundance when they beat Sevilla in the last-16.

Vardy, Mahrez and other crucial players will want to play at Everton as a result and it's Shakespeare's first test at managing his dressing room and determining whether to treat Everton as the match that can pretty much secure safety or simply view it as an inconvenience. The fact it's taking place on Sunday not Saturday is certainly not ideal and that may sway Shakespeare to prioritise Europe over the Premier League. No one could blame him for doing so as Leicester prepare for the biggest game in their history, but if he does the Foxes will probably leave Merseyside pointless.