Newcastle United 15th (4-3-8) vs Leicester City 9th (5-5-5)
Saturday 12:30 AM, St. James Park Live on NBC & the NBC Sports app
Last time out, Demarai Gray was the hero for the Foxes when he threw himself at a parried shot and crashed into the post as he sent the ball into the back of the net. Leicester also held on for their first clean sheet in five matches.
Newcastle have managed only one point in six games, a 2-2 away draw at West Brom. While four of those matches were away from the lights of St. James, the two home matches saw the Magpies shut out 1-0 to Bournemouth and 3-0 to Watford.
Newcastle has been shut out six times so far this season and lack of a consistent goalscorer has left them just five points above the relegation zone. While it’s probably too early for such talk, the fact that their joint top goalscorer is defender Ciaran Clark with two goals isn’t helping. Heavy squad rotation at the forward position is also making it difficult for Newcastle to have any consistency up top.
Leicester took six points in a week at home and got some well deserved rest before travelling just under 200 miles north and kicking off part two of their grueling holiday schedule. With their late game on Saturday they play next Wednesday at Southampton and then again in the early kickoff next Saturday, thankfully at home against Crystal Palace. While they have the most difficult holiday season of the whole league, I would say Leicester have one of the strongest squads able the handle the schedule.
Jamie Vardy is just one goal away from making club history by scoring his 50th goal for Leicester in the Premier League and I think he gets his reward on Saturday. Vardy scored 24 goals when Leicester won the title in 2016 and should he net 50th Saturday, it would have been done in only 3 1⁄2 years, a feat in itself.
Leicester are undefeated in their last four games across all competitions against Newcastle. Their last loss came in October of 2014, a 1-0 defeat at St. James Park. In their last four victories, Leicester have scored eight goals and managed clean sheets in every match.
I think a 2-0 victory to the Foxes would be a fair result given the run of form for each squad. An early goal would do wonders since Newcastle don’t exactly possess the squad to squeeze the pressure on a counter-attack ready Leicester like say a Manchester City can. Should Newcastle manage the first goal, Leicester are more than capable to fight back for a draw.