High-flying Newcastle United utterly outclassed Leicester City at the King Power Stadium today, strolling to an overwhelming 3-0 victory to solidify their position in the Premier League top-four race.
Eddie Howe’s men picked up where they left off in November, flying out of the traps to dispatch lowly Leicester and climb to second in the standings.
Only three minutes into the game, Daniel Amartey’s reckless challenge on Joelinton sent Chris Wood to the spot. The New Zealand international made no mistake from a resulting penalty to fire the Magpies into an early lead.
Things soon went from bad to worse for the Foxes as Miguel Almiron’s ninth goal of the season handed Newcastle a sensational two-goal cushion after just seven minutes.
After exchanging a neat one-two with Bruno Guimaraes, the Paraguayan winger single-handedly penetrated Leicester’s fragile backline, slotting the ball past hapless Danny Ward.
Slow to react after falling behind, Brendan Rodgers’ men looked up the creek without a paddle, giving away possession cheaply while failing to hurt Howe’s team on the counter.
When it looked like the hosts could regain the foothold in the match and embark on fashioning a comeback from a massive disadvantage, Newcastle landed a hammer blow.
Kieran Trippier whipped the ball in from a corner, with Joelinton heading home to triple the visitors’ lead in the 32nd minute and kill the game off with an hour left on the clock.
Following his side’s woeful first-half showing, Rodgers tried to shake his man at the break by introducing talismanic striker Jamie Vardy, yet it paid no dividends.
Aware they had a mountain to climb after half-time, Leicester reasserted control of possession, pinning Newcastle to their opening third but to no avail.
Despite enjoying an eye-catching 73% ball possession in the second half, the Foxes struggled to create anything meaningful in front of Nick Pope’s goal for most of the game.
The devastated King Power crowd had to wait until the later stages of play for Leicester to put Pope to the test, though it was a wasteful attempt from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall that gave the Englishman no trouble.
Wilfred Ndidi then tried to hurt Newcastle from long range, but his first-time effort forced the Magpies’ shot-stopper into a comfortable save in the final highlight of the match.
And while Newcastle’s stunning unbeaten Premier League run now stands at 11 straight outings, Leicester’s hopes of building a gap on the relegation zone took another blow.
With Rodgers’ job now in the balance, the Foxes remain only four points clear of 18th-placed Wolverhampton Wanderers, who eked out a last-gasp 2-1 win at fellow bottom-half underachievers Everton.
Danny Ward (5/10) – Since three out of Newcastle’s five shots on target finished in the back of the net, it’s hard to say he had a good game.
Luke Thomas (5/10) – Massively struggled to deal with Almiron’s pace while barely venturing forward.
Daniel Amartey (4/10) – Committed a wayward spot-kick to pave the way for the Magpies’ victory, failing to recover ever since.
Wout Faes (5/10) – Far better than his abovementioned defensive colleague but still failed to live up to expectations.
Timothy Castagne (6/10) – Arguably the best-performing Leicester defender today. Offering himself constantly up top while making several crucial challenges at the back.
Youri Tielemans (5/10) – If there was a player expected to help Rodgers’ side establish control in the engine room, it was the Belgian. Yet he collapsed big time.
Boubakary Soumare (5/10) – Another underperforming midfielder in the home team, the one that let this fixture pass him by.
Harvey Barnes (4/10) – One of his worst performances for Leicester this season. He couldn’t come along with the ball the whole match.
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (7/10) – Perhaps the only attacking player on the home team who caught the eye today.
Dennis Praet (NA/10) – Picked up an injury early in the game when his side already trailed by two goals.
Patson Daka (5/10) – Another dreadful performance from Vardy’s successor.
Jamie Vardy – (6/10)
Kelechi Iheanacho – (5/10)
Wilfred Ndidi – (6/10)
Nick Pope (7/10) – Could have done the crossword during the first half but held up to his end of the bargain after the break.
Kieran Trippier (7/10) – Another assured performance from the right-back. In addition to delivering another assist, made sure to prevent Leicester from creating anything meaningful on his watch.
Sven Botman (7/10) – A composed display from the towering Dutchman, although he’s had tougher challenges.
Fabian Schar (6/10) – Like his centre-back partner, the Swiss international barely put his wrong throughout the game.
Dan Burn (6/10) – Won numerous aerial duels while keeping things tight at the back when Leicester hoped to hurt his side on the break.
Bruno Guimaraes (6/10) – He won’t get the acclaim for this win, but his ability to drop into the defensive line was crucial to Newcastle’s build-up plays.
Joelinton (8/10) – Ran the midfield today and was rewarded for his effort with a fine header.
Sean Longstaff (6/10) – One of the rare Newcastle players who slipped under the radar but did plenty of dirty work in the middle of the park.
Joe Willock (7/10) – Even though his poor decision-making let him down a few times, he was still one of the liveliest performers on the pitch.
Miguel Almiron (9/10) – Once again proved his outrageous form ahead of the World Cup was no fluke as he propelled Newcastle to a clear-cut lead with a sublime finish.
Chris Wood (7/10) – Apart from converting the spot-kick, he participated massively in his team’s attacks with smart movements and aerial presence.
Allan Saint-Maximin – NA/10
Jacob Murphy – NA/10
Matthew Ritchie – NA/10
Elliot Anderson – NA/10
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