Newcastle United have picked up just two points in their opening six league games, their third worst start to a Premier League season in the club’s history. The last time they started the league season off in this fashion was in the 2015/16 season, a campaign in which they were eventually relegated. The importance of picking up points is clear then, as the club still fights for their first win of the season.
Last weekend was crucial for the club. After a string of difficult fixtures to begin the season it was vital for Newcastle to come away from Selhurst Park with a positive result. Even though the club are still without a win so far this season, the Magpies picked up a solid point away from home.
Their opponents, Crystal Palace, had been yet to win at home this season and Newcastle were hoping to keep things that way when they travelled to Selhurst Park last weekend. Newcastle showed positive signs in the first half with chances from Ayoze Perez and Jamaal Lascelles going begging, but Palace had the best opportunity as Luka Milivojevic’s free kick went through a crowd of players and struck the outside of the post.
Mamadou Sakho missed the best chance of the game for Palace in the 82nd minute. Martin Dubravka came off his line from a corner but failed to clear. The cross found Sakho at the back-post, but he missed the target with an open net in front of him. It may not have been quite the performance Rafa Benitez had been hoping for but the Magpies took a vital point back to Newcastle.
So, what about Newcastle’s next opponents, Leicester City? The midlands club have picked up 9 points from their opening 6 fixtures and currently occupy 9th place in the Premier League. Last weekend they came from 1-0 down in the early stages to finish up 3-1 winners against Huddersfield at the King Power Stadium. Zanka opened the scoring after Laurent Depoitre flicked on Phillip Billing’s long throw in. Kelechi Iheanacho equalised on the counter attack in the 19tg minute, and Leicester would take the lead in the second half when James Maddison beat Jonas Lossl from a direct free-kick. Jamie Vardy raced away from the Huddersfield defence and finished with a delightful chip over Lossl to seal the win for Leicester in the 75th minute.
Leicester City have almost become renowned for their quick, direct style of football. Against Huddersfield two of their goals came from almost nothing, as one or two passes were enough the beat the defence and the pace of their strikers meant they had one-on-one opportunities with the goalkeeper that were not squandered.
Should Newcastle earn a result at home this weekend, their defence will have to be prepared for the threat that players such as Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho can offer with their sensational pace and ability to make runs in behind the defence.
Newcastle predicted line-up:
Dubravka; Yedlin, Fernandez, Lascelles, Dummett; Ritchie, Shelvey, Diame, Kenedy; Perez; Joselu.
Leicester predicted line-up:
Schmeichel; Pereira, Maguire, Evans, Chilwell; Ghezzal, Ndidi, Mendy, Maddison; Iheanacho, Vardy
Predicted final score: Newcastle 0 – 2 Leicester