This was the sort of win you associate with the playbook of a wise Italian manager.
Carlo Ancelotti’s teams don’t tend to conform to his nation’s football stereotype, Ancelotti producing expressive sides with an emphasis on creativity down the years.
They’d have liked this one at home, though.
Everton hit the front early, Richarlison scoring on 10 minutes and Gylfi Sigurdsson stroking in a penalty six minutes later.
Brendan Rodgers was forced to rip up his game pan after 45 minutes and one of two half-time Leicester substitutes, Kelechi Iheanacho, fortunately, brought his team back into it six minutes after the break – the first goal Everton had conceded in 267 minutes of Premier League football.
Ancelotti responded, restocking his midfield with Tom Davies when Richarlison limped off after 57 minutes.
Soon after, the defence was being beefed up by the mighty figure of Yerry Mina, Everton shutting down the middle of the field and forcing Leicester to begin their attacks from wide.
Ancelotti tweaked a bit more, pointed and urged and instructed.
And when the whistle blew after six minutes of time added on Everton had another three points.
That’s seven added to the tally since the Blues returned from their shutdown hibernation 10 days ago.
Everton placed a mighty firm grip on this game inside six first-half minutes – albeit both sets of players spent nearly half that time waiting for VAR Craig Pawson to decide on a penalty shout.
Pawson watched over and over, studying footage of the ball connecting with Wilfred Ndidi’s hand after Lucas Digne sent over a free-kick from the left.
For Everton, the wait was worthwhile, the 150 seconds which elapsed between Ndidi foiling Michael Keane’s attempt to head the ball and referee David Coote pointing to the spot a means to an end.
Sigurdsson took Everton’s most recent penalty in a Premier League game – he’ll need a good memory to recall it, it was against Chelsea on 18 March last year – and he grabbed the ball again here.
You never know when the next one will come along.
Sigurdsson made the most of his chance, rolling the ball down the middle as Kasper Schmeichel took off to his right.
Everton had already gained the lead at this stage.
Richarlison emphatically applied the finish form six yards for his 11th league goal this term after being quicker off the mark than Ben Chilwell.
The lion’s share of build-up work was shouldered by Anthony Gordon.
Making only his second Premier League start, the 19-year-old strode onto Digne’s smart headed pass infield before surging into the box to pick out Richarlison with a precision centre.
Leicester went for an immediate riposte, Dennis Praet opening up his body to guide fractionally wide from 18 yards.
Indeed, the visitors had been slightly quicker from the blocks, too.
Digne did brilliantly to read events unfolding at the edge of his own box and was ideally placed to frustrate Jamie Vardy and ease the ball back to Jordan Pickford following Youri Tielemans’ threaded pass.
Pickford came into this game following two clean sheets.
It speaks volumes about Everton’s organisation and resilience in both those games that the England goalkeeper wouldn’t suggest he’d been extended in either.
The same wasn’t true here.
Keane – excellent again – blocked a missile of a shot from Tielemans and when the ball was hooked back in the box it looked for all the world as if Jonny Evans was offside.
So it was a good job Pickford was razor sharp and rapid off his line to deny the Leicester defender.
There were examples of Everton’s appetite for their defensive work everywhere you looked.
Seamus Coleman was magnificent at the back post to stop Harvey Barnes connecting with Marc Albrighton’s deep cross.
Richarlison raced back to surprise Ndidi and Digne blocked at close quarters from Albrighton.
Everton with their two-goal advantage, though, were okay with this.
Drawing Leicester on and springing on the counter.
Caglar Soyuncu’s heart was in his mouth when Dominic Calvert-Lewin went down in the box after racing onto a ball over the top.
Calvert-Lewin was thwarted again when James Justin cut out Alex Iwobi’s attempted return pass and Richarlison got his right-foot effort all wrong when the overlapping Digne cut back from the left.
Iheanacho and James Maddison came on for Barnes and Praet and it took only six minutes for Leicester’s double-switch to take effect.
Nigerian Iheanacho profited from a slice of luck, mind you – and Everton had come close to adding a third when Schmeichel pawed behind Digne’s heavily-deflected 25-yard blast.
Albrighton swung in another cross on 51 minutes, Vardy getting the initial touch to momentarily send Holgate off balance.
The defender recovered and planted his boot through the ball, only for it to smack Iheanacho flush on the forehead and spin into the net.
This was anybody’s now. Richarlison hobbling off following a tackle which earned Ndidi the first booking of the night was a blow for the hosts.
Davies came on to add another body to Everton's midfield, leaving Calvert-Lewin to go it alone up front.
Sigurdsson had a shot charged down by Albrighton after a deft lay-off from Gordon and at the other end Keane blocked from Maddison.
Maddison’s influence was growing and the Englishman hammered marginally over from 20 yards.
Iheanacho was off balance and off target when the ball fell to him 10 yards out – this shortly after Keane had lashed the ball off his own line following a lapse from Pickford.
With 15 minutes remaining Leicester had enjoyed around 66 per cent possession and just wouldn’t let up.
Mina was on by now to form a three-man backline – Gordon at the tip of a midfield diamond with Gomes and Sigurdsson wide and Davies at the base.
Maddison’s run and cross found Chilwell, who skied his volley.
As the minutes ran away from Leicester Chilwell pleaded to no effect for a penalty when his cross clipped Coleman’s hand.
Everton were regaining the upper hand and could have done without six minutes of stoppage time being signalled.
Reinvigorated, Leicester came again and substitute Ayoze Perez’s close-range effort was diverted wide after Vardy’s run and cross.
They had nothing left.
Ancelotti's cunning and Everton's running had won the day.
Anthony Gordon will tell you he hasn’t made it as a footballer. Not yet.
Don’t misunderstand Gordon’s reluctance to get ahead of himself for a trace of self-doubt.
Gordon told Everton’s matchday programme for this game how his schooling went on the back burner because of an inherent confidence he was destined for a career at the top of his sport.
Equally, he conceded last month’s Merseyside derby – when Gordon made his first senior start – wasn’t a game played to his strengths.
The 19-year-old’s performance against Liverpool reflected his maturity and the football brain beneath his ginger top.
His selection for that contest, meanwhile, demonstrated the scale of the faith Ancelotti has in this teenager.
“I still can’t believe it,” was Gordon’s take on having the unmitigated confidence of his illustrious manager.
Gordon helped suffocate Liverpool’s right side 10 days ago. He defended responsibly and his concentration never faltered.
Those traits were in evidence again here, Gordon chasing back to deflect behind a James Justin cross shortly before half-time.
By his own admission, though, Gordon is at his happiest “in the final third, trying to make things happen”.
He is fearless, a mindset Gordon has chosen to adopt to prevent him from becoming dissuaded if a pass goes astray, or a shot is dumped off target.
Gordon – and fellow wideman Alex Iwobi – spend a lot of time infield under the instruction of Ancelotti.
And this is where we found the Everton Aacdemy product when Lucas Digne skilfully improvised to head a pass from Mason Holgate in Gordon’s direction.
Off went Gordon, tearing into Leicester’s box. They were terrified of touching him.
He looked up and spied the onrushing Richarlison, Gordon steering the ball into the Everton forward, who was quicker to the punch than Ben Chilwell to thud home.
A first Premier League assist for Anthony Gordon.
Another step closer to this rare young talent making the grade.
Gyfli Sigurdsson had been waiting 115 days for a competitive start after coming off the bench in Everton’s two fixtures immediately following football’s resumption.
Two-and-a-half minutes biding his time, then, was never going to ruffle the Icelander after VAR Craig Pawson painstakingly pored over footage of Wilfred Ndidi’s handball in Leicester’s penalty area.
Sigurdsson deceived fellow Scandinavian Kasper Schmeichel with a cool penalty stroked down the middle.
Everton were two ahead and the selfless Sigurdsson had his second Premier League goal this term.
The midfielder has by and large been a favourite of Carlo Ancelotti’s – beginning every match for which he was available under the Italian until last month.
He is being used as a conventional central midfielder by Ancelotti, a departure from the position higher up the pitch where we’re accustomed to seeing him.
Sigurdsson was hassling opponents and filling spaces in the opening minutes.
He twice stepped over free kicks to allow Lucas Digne to deliver – the second of which led to Sigurdsson’s penalty conversion.
The Icelander’s reaction to scoring was typically understated – he’s definitely not one you’ll find rehearsing a celebration routine – but inside he must have been glowing.
Sigurdsson will unquestionably have profited from the rest lockdown afforded his body.
The 30-year-old has played football almost non-stop since coming to England to pursue his professional ambitions with Reading as a 15-year-old,
He carries a fair chunk of his nation’s hopes on his slender shoulders and has amassed innumerable air miles during Iceland’s emergence as a team of some renown these past few years.
Ancelotti talks of Sigurdsson in very complimentary terms.
He views the player as a future manager and it was noticeable the pair conferred ahead of Tom Davies’s introduction to reinforce Everton’s midfield.
Sigurdsson chased and closed right to the final second. He was a deserving match winner and will sleep well.
No Let Up From Ancelotti's Blues
Carlo Ancelotti vowed to send out an Everton team ready to fight for European football until this season draws its last breath.
My, how Ancelotti’s players backed up their manager’s promise against a persistent Leicester team that refused to go away after falling two goals behind.
Everton have six games to squeeze in before 26 July but coking out on the right side of this type of encounter does wonders for a team’s reserves.
It is relevant, too, that after scoring once in two matches Everton were ruthless when early opportunities came their way.
Richarlison and Sigurdsson – last season’s joint-top scorers – gave Everton a cushion they needed after Kelechi Iheanacho profited from a fortunate break to halve Leicester’s deficit.
Everton ran their legs off, held their shape, tackled and plugged gaps – all this orchestrated by tactician Ancelotti.
Michael Keane was a leader at the back and deservedly claimed man-of-the-match honours seven days after winning the same award when Everton beat Norwich City courtesy of the defender's goal.
Everton are unbeaten in nine Premier League matches at Goodison Park – seven of those since Ancleotti’s appointment as manager.
They have claimed 25 points from 14 matches in the Italian’s incipient reign – winning seven and drawing four – and Ancelotti is no longer viewed with suspicion when he talks of potential European qualification.
These three points – against a side who had twice overcome Everton in tight encounters this season – move Ancelotti’s team within one point of Tottenham Hotspur in eighth and two behind seventh-placed Arsenal.
The narrative around football’s return has determined home advantage counts for little without supporters in stadiums.
It is to Everton’s credit, then, that they looked like the home team here.
A fast start and early goals backed up by a disciplined backs-to-the-wall effort to get over the line.
Ancelotti, meanwhile, is learning an awful lot about the players he inherited in December.
It is an away date with Tottenham next and this odd season could yet have a profitable finish.