Last weekend Leicester City finally gave us a comfortable win. Or least, comfy enough after falling behind early. Again. All it took was a visit from one of the league’s worst teams. On that subject, the Foxes head to Newcastle this week, for another game against opponents rooted to the bottom.
We’ve broken down some of the key areas and individual match ups that could decide the outcome.
1. CB pairing vs Joselu
It’s difficult to really pick out the attacking tendencies of a team that have scored just four goals, but half of those have come from the head of Joselu, who’s likely to be the main striker again Saturday with Rondon struggling for fitness.
No team has been forced out wide as much as the Magpies so far, with just 21% of attacks coming down the middle. It should be relatively simple to push them out to the wings and force crosses into the box, likely aimed for Joselu. Such a defensive tactic was our staple under Ranieri and can be very effective.
It does require aerial strength and communication between the two CBs, though. The first of those should be no problem, especially if Morgan returns alongside Maguire. The second has been a much bigger issue so far this season, and it needs to be sorted for this game.
2. Newcastle vs the press
The Magpies have been pinned back so far. Obviously their difficult early fixtures haven't helped, but they've spent more time than any other team in their own defensive third. While they've found defending much easier than attacking, other teams have shown that if you camp out for long enough, chances will come.
We know better than most that passing accuracy is not as important as it’s painted to be. Still, Newcastle are right among the worst teams in the league there, and play plenty of long balls. If Vardy and co. can harass them high up the pitch, I suspect they’ll get unfordable and start playing it long.
With Maguire (and others) back there, thats exactly what we want. It allows us to win the ball back, stay pressed high up the pitch, and continue to look for openings. We’ve struggled with that, so getting as much time up the field as possible will help a lot.
3. Vardy and Iheanacho vs The World
As good as it was to just win again, one of the most excited parts of the Huddersfield game was the partnership we saw between Jamie Vardy and Kelechi Iheanacho. It’s something we’ve hoped for since the Nigerian’s big money arrival, but it never seemed to click.
Last week it clicked, and the two found a way to pick each other out for assists. Like I said, along with conceding early, this team’s biggest weakness has been picking out our strikers in the box. If these two can continue to develop the partnership and provide more good chances for each other, I think most defences would struggle to keep them contained, Newcastle very much included.