Leicester City climbed up to 7th in the Premier League table after seeing off Newcastle by two goals to nil at St James’ Park. The result means the Magpies have now lost five of their opening seven games and their dreadful start to the season continues.
The fixture got off to a slow start with the Foxes having most of the ball and setting the early pace at St James’ Park. Ricardo, who replaced the injured Demari Gray on the right wing, had the best opportunity in the opening passage yet he could only force a save from Dubravka at his left hand post.
Shortly after, it was Schmeichel who should have been tested yet Joselu wasted a golden opportunity for his side. After being played onside by Chilwell, through on goal and somewhat weirdly not looking for the back of the net, Joselu was quickly closed down by Harry Maguire who had to be careful to not bring the Newcastle’s striker down. As the Spaniard looked for a pass across goal, Maguire slid in expertly to put the ball out for a corner. It has to be said the goal would have been against the run of play as Puel’s side certainly had the better of the game early on.
Despite Leicester being dominant with possession and chances, it was Newcastle who had another great chance to break the deadlock. However, Diame miserably failed in his effort to test Schmeichel in the Leicester goal. With Atsu picking up the ball on the left hand side he delivered a delightful cross to the head of the charging Diame who could only plant his header wide of the goal.
After Newcastle missed two golden chances, it was Leicester’s number nine who opened the scoring with a perfectly placed spot kick. A corner kick was eventually met by Maguire who slammed the ball onto Yedlin; who with arms aloft could not complain one bit as Simon Hooper pointed to the spot. Jamie Vardy duly stepped up and did the rest to put his side one goal to the good.
It was 37 minutes when Newcastle registered their first shot on target. Jonjo Shelvey noticed Schmeichel off his line and went for the spectacular from well in his own half, perhaps from too far out though as he did little to trouble the Leicester goalkeeper.
Despite a bleak first half from Rafa Benitez’s side, no changes were made to either side for the second half and it was the Magpies who had the better of the early second half exchanges. They were adamant they should have been given a penalty on 49 minutes as Perez went down in the box under pressure from Harry Maguire. The home fans showed their frustration as Simon Hooper waved off the appeals much to the relief of the Leicester man.
Rafa Benitez did turn to Murphy and Muto halfway through the second half but both substitutes offered little and it took until 72 minutes for anything too significant to happen as James Maddison’s corner was met to perfection by Harry Maguire who powerfully headed the ball past Dubravka in the Newcastle goal. Despite Newcastle trying to get themselves back into the fixture they mustered up little and the game fizzled out in a fashion which suited the visitors, as they went back to the Midlands with all three points in hand.
The result means Newcastle have lost their first four home games at St James’ Park which has never happened in the league. They find themselves in 18th position with a miserable two points and the pressure is certainly ongoing as a proud footballing town look for a lot more from their side.
Claude Puel slowly silencing his critics
At the start of this Premier League campaign, Claude Puel was one of the favourites with the bookmakers to get the sack. Yet, after his sides’ 2-0 victory today they are now 7th in the table with four victories and three defeats. Notably, two of these defeats were to Manchester United and Liverpool and the Foxes put up superb displays in both fixtures. Puel’s side dominated throughout at St James’ Park and thoroughly deserved the three points in a display which highlighted the effect Puel is having on this Leicester side.
Newcastle’s attacking concerns
Newcastle did little, especially in the first half, to test Schmeichel in the Leicester goal. With Kennedy required to slot in at left-back for the injured Paul Dummett, who missed the fixture due to a hamstring injury, their attacking department was hindered and they severely struggled to get any kind of break through. Shelvey did at times look likely to break through the Leicester defence but Joselu and Perez did not do enough up top to help their side. Their best chance in the second half, which was not a great chance at all, fell to Josh Murphy on the 88th minute, but his effort flew past the post and did nothing to get the Great Dane panicking. It was evident that Newcastle also missed Solomon Rondon up top and they will be desperate for him to return sooner rather then later.
Maddison once again runs the show for Leicester
James Maddison was once again vital in the Foxes’ victory. He was all over the pitch, winning his team free kicks in important areas and being pivatol in most moves that Leicester conjured up. He provided the assist for the Harry Maguire header and is continually impressing in his role for his new side.
Man of the Match: Harry Maguire
The England international was solid all afternoon at the back for Leicester and provided perfect cover for Schmeichel in goal. He saved the Foxes from going 1-0 down in the first half with an expertly timed tackle on Joselu and also put the game to bed for his side with a bullet header. His strength and composure at the back is second to none and his performance had it all today.