Newcastle United, who are vying for the Champions League, welcome bottom dwelling Leicester City to Tyneside for Monday night’s Premier League match up. This will be the final time this season that Newcastle will take the field in front of a boisterous St James’ Park.
Midweek, Eddie Howe‘s team thrashed Brighton & Hove Albion 4-1, while the Foxes’ chances of surviving were dealt yet another devastating blow in a 3-0 loss to Liverpool.
Newcastle United is one point away from clinching their first UEFA Champions League season in two decades after defeating Brighton 4-1 on Thursday to bring European football back to St James’ Park after more than a decade away. Eddie Howe lauded his team’s ability to carry out a game plan based on “high intensity” after that victory over the Seagulls, when his team scored multiple goals for the fifth time in six games.
A slight argument against a home victory stems from the fact that Newcastle hasn’t kept a clean sheet in that time, but the rematch (W 3-0) provided another illustration of the Magpies’ destructive ability. In that Boxing Day TKO, they famously led 2-0 by the ten minutes mark, and after eliminating Leicester City from the Carabao Cup only a few weeks later, the Tyneside team certainly has a fantastic chance to complete their first league double against the Foxes since 1994/95.
Leicester’s Premier League status is on the line just seven years after they became the most unlikely English champions ever. After brutally conceding ten goals so far in May, they are winless in four games (D2, L2), with two losses having them behind by multiple goals at halftime and allowing at least one opponent to score a hat trick.
Even if Leicester scored goals in five of their most recent tests on hostile ground, their current seven games winless road streak (D2, L5) only intensifies the sense that they face a difficult battle to stay up. In addition, Leicester manager Dean Smith has a 60% losing record (W1, D1, L3) vs Eddie Howe on the sidelines.
Joelinton has scored at least three goals in each of Newcastle’s previous five Premier League games, including the reverse match. Harvey Barnes, whose last five away goals have come after halftime, can save Leicester if anyone can, since he scored a second half hat trick on their previous road trip.
Joe Willock‘s apparent hamstring injury, which forced him off soon after the hour mark, was one unfortunate aspect of Newcastle’s thrashing of Brighton. Howe is not hopeful about the 23 year old’s chances of playing this season.
While neither Sean Longstaff (ankle) nor Jacob Murphy (groin) trained during the week, the hosting manager has also expressed concern over a few scrapes and bruises following Thursday night’s fierce brawl. Kieran Trippier and Joelinton will both need late fitness checks.
Emil Krafth (ACL), Jamaal Lascelles (calf), Matt Ritchie (knee), and the exiled Ryan Fraser are all still out of the running, and Elliot Anderson should only get two Premier League starts while Willock starts his recovery.
In contrast, there is better news for Leicester in terms of injuries, as Smith has stated that Kelechi Iheanacho should be ready to play on Monday as he enters the final stages of his recovery from a groin issue, though the Foxes manager did admit that his recovery has been expedited.
While Caglar Soyuncu (thigh) is not anticipated to play again until the final game of the season, it’s possible that Kieran Dewsbury-Hall will play in his final game for Leicester before he moves on to Atletico Madrid.
Additionally occupying beds in the King Power hospital are James Justin (knee), Danny Ward (finger), Ryan Bertrand (fitness), and Jannik Vestergaard (calf). Smith may also think about recalling Harry Souttar, one of the few players who can compete with Dan Burn for height.
Newcastle United possible starting lineup
Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn, Anderson, Guimaraes, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Wilson and Gordon.
Leicester City possible starting lineup
Iversen, Pereira, Evans, Souttar, Castagne, Ndidi, Soumare, Tete, Maddison, Barnes and Iheanacho.
We predict: Newcastle United 2-0 Leicester City 2-0
Given the effort put forward by the hosts in forcing Brighton off the field and the abundance of new fitness issues for Howe to take into account, Newcastle might not be able to put on a similarly tenacious performance for the second time in as many days.
We still anticipate the Magpies to cruise to a routine victory, confirming their spot in the Champions League pots and all but consigning Leicester to Championship football. However, Leicester is a team that is currently almost completely devoid of confidence and is hardly the most difficult proposition away from home.