Leicester City vs Everton analysis: How did Nigel Pearson's Foxes fare on their Premier League return?

Leicester City boss Nigel Pearson will be buoyed by his side's second half performance against Champions League chasing Everton

King Power Stadium

As Chris Wood wheeled away after salvaging a 2-2 draw for Leicester City against Everton this afternoon, the majority of the 31,603 supporters who were crammed into the King Power Stadium collectively breathed a sigh of relief.

The first half, which saw Roberto Martinez's side twice take the lead through Aiden McGeady and Steven Naismith, acted as a harsh wake up call to any Foxes fans who thought their scintillating Championship form would continue into the top flight.

Nigel Pearson, the former Southampton and Hull City boss who has now managed the East Midlands club in the top three divisions of English football, inspired his side to a staggering 31 league victories last season.

The likes of David Nugent and Riyad Mahrez, however, were given precious little time to dwell on their previous successes as Everton kept the ball for large periods in the opening forty-five minutes.

Read more: Wood to the rescue for Leicester
Nugent eyeing more England caps after promotion
Cambiasso on Pearson's Leicester wish list

The key to surviving in the top flight - and ultimately thriving - is keeping your patience when the going gets tough and Pearson will have been pleased with how his troops responded to their opponents' impressive ball retention.

Kasper Schmeichel, who revealed earlier in the week that he finds his illustrious surname to be a hindrance rather than a source of encouragement, was barely tested as a backline including Premier League debutants Wes Morgan and Liam Moore stood firm.

Kasper Schmeichel celebrates after Chris Wood's late strike against Everton While saying Leicester weren't required to make a series of last-ditch challenges would be bending the confines of reality somewhat; the hosts were relatively comfortable considering the last competitive fixture to be played at the King Power Stadium was against Doncaster Rovers.

Richie De Laet, formally of Manchester United, was also a threat down the right flank while Paul Konchesky gave the Foxes some well needed top flight experience.

Many pundits have commented on Pearson's low-key activity in the summer transfer window, with some expressing concern over the depth of his squad, but the absences of Matty James and Jamie Vardy were barely noticed.

James was the anchor of their midfield last season, allowing his teammates to roam forward, but a scraped shin proved too problematic to shake off.

Marc Albrighton, signed on a free transfer from Aston Villa, was also missing while Danny Drinkwater, an invaluable presence alongside James, pulled up with a suspected hamstring injury after just 39 minutes.

City adapted well, though, with Andy King and Dean Hammond delivering impressive and combative displays.

The 31,603-strong crowd in Leicester was a source of strength for the Foxes Riyad Mahrez is another player who the Foxes will lean heavily on for a creative spark this season and he produced enough glimmers of quality to suggest he is set to continue his remarkable rise after joining the East Midlands outfit from Le Havre in January.

While there was little to be done about McGeady's marvelous opener, a curled effort too high for Schmeichel to reach, Pearson will have been a touch frustrated by the defensive misgivings which lead to Naismith's strike on the brink of half time.

These lapses in concentration are inevitable in your first season back in the big time but, should they continue into the depths of winter and beyond, they could prove terminal.

The Foxes boss will know this well, however, having been assistant manager to the likes of Kevin Keegan and Bryan Robson in the top flight at Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion respectively.

Chris Wood races towards the King Power crowd after grabbing a late winner for the Foxes Having a striker who is confident in his own abilities in front of goal will be vital and, after beating Tim Howard with a powerful half-volley in the first half, Argentine Leonardo Ulloa introduced himself to the Premier League in some style.

Chris Wood, linked with a switch to Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers, will also be feeling fairly happy with himself tonight while Nugent put in a decent shift behind his new £8m strike partner.

With Pearson refusing to deny his interest in former Real Madrid and Inter Milan midfielder Esteban Cambiasso, it is clear that he values the importance of keeping the ball during the coming campaign.

Finishing with just 36% possession against the Toffees, despite the result, it's evidentially an area in need of improvment.

“I think the players, if you ask the players, will have learned a few key lessons today," Pearson said at full time.

"That would mean that they have to believe very much in their own ability and that we probably have to make a little bit more out of our own possession at times.

“We have shown resilience and belief, and it’s good to get something out of the game against a side which has shown over a number of years the amount of quality they have.

Leicester manager Nigel Pearson watches from his usual position in the stands “It’s encouraging, but we’re under no illusions as to how difficult this division can be. My job as a manager is to keep preaching what we’re about and hopefully we will build on what has been a good performance.”

While it is impossible to predict the events of the coming nine months, for the Premier League continues to live up to its billing as one of the most competitive top divisions in world football, Leicester at least looked the part on the opening weekend.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test