Leicester City 2 – 2 Everton
Everton got the season underway at Leicester today in much the same vein as we started last season, with a draw away from home against a side who were always ready to cause problems.
The Blues looked much more comfortable than the home side and piled on the pressure with Gareth Barry pulling the strings at the heart of the Everton midfield while Leighton Baines and Steven Pienaar rekindled their “Bainaar” partnership on the left.
It was Aiden McGeady who opened the scoring though with a sublime finish after having a mixed start to the game. After an Everton corner the ball broke to the Irish international who had Kasper Schmeichel in close attendance but McGeady kept his cool and curled a delightful shot in off the far post.
Everton’s lead lasted just 90 seconds though, as set-pieces once again seem to be a downfall for Roberto Martinez’s men. Sylvain Distin’s clearance blasted against the arm of Leicester’s record signing Leo Ulloa who coolly slotted the ball home to level for the home side.
Once again though, Everton assumed control of the game and always looked like scoring more goals. Their next came just before half time on the end of another scintillating move from Baines and Pienaar. The South African latched onto a pass from Lukuka before backheeling to Baines whose drive back to Pienaar found the skilful midfielder off balance, but his touch sent the ball to Steven Naismith who smashed home off the underside of the bar from 12 yards.
The Blues were proving that pre-season form means nothing as slick passing was combined with silky skills all over the pitch, although shaky defending at times had hearts in mouths as Phil Jagielka and Tim Howard showed a lack of communication early in the first half to allow Leicester through, although John Stones coped well with what little he had to do at right-back.
Leicester emerged from the half time break having clearly had a rocket lit under them, but for all their bluster early on in the second period it was once again Everton who took control of the game.
The home side left it late to equalise as New Zealand international Chris Woods capitalised on a lack of organisation at the back for Everton after the changes with John Stones caught out leaving Woods in acres of space to slot past a despairing Tim Howard in the 86th minute.
Leicester clung on despite growing Everton pressure and Lukaku had a chance to win it for Everton in injury time but his header drifted harmlessly over the bar.
A draw away at a newly promoted side who worked as hard as Leicester did today is not to be sniffed at, especially after the injury to Ross Barkley yesterday and the lack of full match experience in pre-season for our key players.