Premier League
LeicesterLeicester City4SunderlandSunderland2

Leicester City 4-2 Sunderland

By Aimee LewisBBC Sport
Jamie Vardy scores
Since the start of April, Leicester have won 25 points which is more than any other Premier League side.

Claudio Ranieri's tenure as Leicester City manager began with a magnificent opening-day victory against Sunderland.

The hosts scored three goals in the first 30 minutes, with a deft Jamie Vardy header starting the scoring.

Riyad Mahrez then headed home before scoring from the spot after a Lee Cattermole foul on the Algerian.

Jermain Defoe gave the Black Cats hope but, after Marc Albrighton had struck for the Foxes, Steven Fletcher's late header was mere consolation.

Sunderland's defence falters

The ease with which Leicester scored will worry Sunderland fans, their team seeming to have carried last season's defensive failings into this new campaign.

They began with new recruit Younes Kaboul partnering Sebastian Coates - who made his loan move from Liverpool permanent during the close season - in the centre of defence but the new-look partnership failed on the opening day.

"We clearly weren't at it," said Kaboul. "We were late for every ball. We conceded a lot and we were not sharp enough."

Sunderland conceded two sloppy goals early on, allowing Marc Albrighton's crosses from the left to find two of the smallest players on the pitch. From then on, Leicester gained confidence and Sunderland failed to cope with the home side's quick, crisp movement.

Lee Cattermole
Lee Cattermole clumsily fouled Riyad Mahrez inside the box and was substituted in the 30th minute

'The Tinkerman' returns

Claudio Ranieri made a winning return to the Premier League, 11 years after being sacked as Chelsea manager by owner Roman Abramovich.

Ranieri salutes 'outstanding' Leicester

The Leicester boss, known as 'the Tinkerman' for his constant changing of his starting line-ups, was a surprise replacement for Nigel Pearson in the summer but, should his new team continue to perform with such attacking verve, his first season with the Foxes will be trouble free - although the ease in which Sunderland scored twice is a note of caution.

Ranieri described his side's performance as "outstanding" and, indeed, they could have scored more, with Shinji Okazaki missing one glorious chance in the second half. Mahrez, too, hit the woodwork after the break and forced a fine save Costel Pantilimon.

The coach chose to rely on the players who secured top-flight survival last term by winning win seven of their last nine games to finish 14th, with only one summer signing - Okazaki - in his starting line-up,

Of the familiar Leicester faces, it was striker Vardy and winger Mahrez who particularly excelled, their creativity and pace causing Sunderland problems.

Leicester attack down the wings

Riyad Mahrez's
How Leicester's players combined for Riyad Mahrez opening goal

Sunderland were fragile on the right side of their defence and 42.2% of Leicester's attacks came from that flank. Marc Albrighton caused damage in the first half with his crosses from the left wing and combined well with Jeff Schlupp and Okazaki for the second goal, which Mahrez scored.

'I told players to be warriors'

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri: "It was a very good start and I am very happy with my players in the first match, which is so important in front of our fans. I told my players to be the warriors for them.

"The performance was outstanding from the beginning. Okazaki played very well but I don't like to just say that because the whole team played well."

Sunderland need changes - Advocaat

Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat: "After 10 minutes there were three crosses and three goals. At this level this cannot happen.

"You have to show every minute away from home and we didn't see that in the first half. We have to wait [for new players]. We struggled again. Everybody can see that we need more."

Leicester winger Marc Albrighton: "Claudio Ranieri has come in with fresh ideas to add to the way we were playing. He didn't want to change too much but he has new ideas and we are taking them on board."

Man of the match

Riyad Mahrez's pace and invention posed havoc all afternoon and the Algeria international could have had a hat-trick before receiving a deserved standing ovation from the Leicester fans as he was substituted towards the end of the match.

The stats you need to know

  • Since the start of April, Leicester have won more points than any other Premier League side (25).
  • The Foxes have won six and lost just one of their last seven league games at the King Power Stadium.
  • Jamie Vardy has five goals and four assists in his last 11 league appearances.
  • Jermain Defoe has now scored in 15 different Premier League seasons, and has 129 goals in total.
  • Marc Albrighton ended last season with three assists but already has two after the opening game of 2015-16.

Line-ups

Leicester

  • 1Schmeichel
  • 2de LaetSubstituted forBenalouaneat 75'minutes
  • 6Huth
  • 5Morgan
  • 15SchluppBooked at 90mins
  • 11Albrighton
  • 10King
  • 4Drinkwater
  • 26MahrezSubstituted forFuchsat 77'minutes
  • 20Okazaki
  • 9VardyBooked at 49minsSubstituted forKantéat 82'minutes

Substitutes

  • 7Hammond
  • 14Kanté
  • 19Kramaric
  • 23Ulloa
  • 28Fuchs
  • 29Benalouane
  • 32Schwarzer

Sunderland

  • 1Pantilimon
  • 2JonesBooked at 42minsSubstituted forMatthewsat 54'minutes
  • 22CoatesBooked at 85mins
  • 15KaboulBooked at 73mins
  • 3van Aanholt
  • 6CattermoleSubstituted forFletcherat 30'minutes
  • 11Johnson
  • 7Larsson
  • 8RodwellBooked at 17mins
  • 17Lens
  • 18Defoe

Substitutes

  • 4Bridcutt
  • 12Matthews
  • 16O'Shea
  • 19Graham
  • 23Giaccherini
  • 25Mannone
  • 26Fletcher
Referee:
Lee Mason
Attendance:
32,242

Match Stats

Home TeamLeicesterAway TeamSunderland
Possession
Home44%
Away56%
Shots
Home20
Away11
Shots on Target
Home8
Away5
Corners
Home6
Away3
Fouls
Home13
Away17

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Leicester City 4, Sunderland 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Leicester City 4, Sunderland 2.

  3. Post update

    Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Sebastián Coates.

  4. Post update

    Adam Johnson (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Marc Albrighton (Leicester City).

  6. Post update

    Jermain Defoe (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Christian Fuchs (Leicester City).

  8. Post update

    Corner, Leicester City. Conceded by Younes Kaboul.

  9. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by N'Golo Kanté.

  10. Post update

    Foul by Jack Rodwell (Sunderland).

  11. Post update

    Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Booking

    Sebastián Coates (Sunderland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Sebastián Coates (Sunderland).

  14. Post update

    Jeffrey Schlupp (Leicester City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  15. Post update

    Jeremain Lens (Sunderland) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Yohan Benalouane (Leicester City).

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Leicester City. N'Golo Kanté replaces Jamie Vardy.

  18. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Sebastian Larsson (Sunderland) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jack Rodwell.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Sebastián Coates (Sunderland).

  20. Post update

    Shinji Okazaki (Leicester City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.