In what was the same fixture that took place exactly a year ago, Leicester City travelled North to Newcastle on Sunday afternoon knowing 3 points would have them starting the New Year in 3rd place and just 1 point behind joint leaders Liverpool & Manchester united. Newcastle would be looking for a better score than last year when they lost this fixture 3-0, but knew were up against a tough side who boast the best away record in the Premier League, winning 6 of their 8 on the road before today.
The game started fast when just 3 minutes into the game, James Maddison struck a curling left footed effort just wide of the goal from the edge of the box. It would have been a great finish.
10 minutes later the visitors thought they had taken the lead when Jamie Vardy finished well from a tight angle, the forward latching onto a pass from Maddison before rounding keeper Karl Darlow to finish into the Newcastle goal. Unfortunately for Vardy and Leicester the linesman had his flag up & the goal was ruled out for offside.
Newcastle replied with a header from Joelinton not long after, the forward could only find the hands of Kasper Schmeichel with his header though as Newcastle looked to take the lead themselves.
That would be the last action of the half worth talking about though, until the last kick of the half when Wesley Fofana diverted over the bar for Leicester after he had got his head onto a Maddison corner. It was one he should have done a lot better with to be honest.
Into the second half and only 3 minutes were played when Leicester had another decent chance, Jamie Vardy firing over after a good ball was put over the top for him to run onto. The linesman had his flag up for offside again, but replays showed this one would have gone onto stand should the striker have finished his chance, the right leg of a Newcastle defender keeping the Foxes forward just onside.
There was nothing to worry about for Vardy and his team though because on 55 minutes, Leicester went 1-0 through James Maddison. Harvey Barnes drove through the middle with pace and power before laying the ball to his left, good foot-work from Vardy to the left of the 6 yard box then allowed him to pick out Maddison who was there to smash the ball into the net to take the lead for his side.
Just after the goal Leicester were nearly caught napping as Newcastle forward Callum Wilson raced forward, seeing a penalty shout waved away for a challenge on that on reflection was a very good one.
Just 6 minutes after the 1st goal there was almost a second for the visitors when it was again the ever involved Maddison who unleashed a brilliant, curling right footed effort that nearly flew in the corner of the net from 30 yards.
With 72 mins on the clock and with there only looking like being 1 winner despite the narrow advantage, Leicester put the game beyond doubt when Youri Tielemans curled home from the edge or the box for 2-0. Good work from Marcus Albrighton set up the Belgian and he unleashed a wonderful, low driven effort with his right foot that curled into the goal. From behind the goal it looked absolutely unreal, the whip he got on the ball was mental.
The lino then had his arm up again for Vardy, this time the forward hit the bar with a quality effort from outside the box. The lino again may well have got the call wrong according to replays.
There would be a consolation for the Geordies though and a tiny glimmer of hope for home boss Steve Bruce. Forgotten donkey Andy Carroll (how this man is steal stealing a living in the top flight really is remarkable) volleyed home his 1st goal in about 20 years ( well.. April 2018) to make it 2-1. In fairness to Carroll it was a very sweet strike off his favoured left foot.
The away side did nearly go further ahead just before the end, Karl Darlow saving well after Harvey Barnes had found himself looming down on goal.
Newcastle suffer another bad result in a game that they were well beaten in. Leicester should and could of had more goals. The Newcastle boss will now face more questions about his future as fans continue to ask whether he is the right man for the job. Many of the 52,000 regulars at St James' Park don't think he is.
Leicester continue to prove everyone wrong. We know they're a good side but i don't think anyone expects them to compete as well in the Premier League as they have been for a number of years now. We all have to finally accept, if you haven't already, that Leicester are here to stay in the top 7, and indeed they main even be regular competitors for the title. It certainly appears they will be this season. It was another good win for Brendan and his side as they keep the pressure on the top 2.
NEWCASTLE 1 LEICESTER 2
Carroll 82 Maddison 55