clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

League Cup Match Report: Newcastle United 2 - 0 Leicester City

The better team won.

Newcastle United v Leicester City - Carabao Cup Quarter Final Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

Leicester City crashed out of the Carabao Cup by a score of 2-0 on Tuesday evening at St. James’ Park against Newcastle United. The hosts dominated the first half but couldn’t find the final touch. They took the lead on the hour mark through a Dan Burn goal and Joelinton settled the tie ten minutes later.

I cannot tell you how many similar posts I saw. I can tell you that I agree with them.

With a bench thinning more rapidly than my hair and no reinforcements available yet, manager Brendan Rodgers had to get creative with the lineup again: Danny Ward, Timothy Castagne, Daniel Amartey, Wout Faes, Luke Thomas, Wilfred Ndidi, Youri Tielemans, Marc Albrighton (C), Ayoze Perez, Harvey Barnes, and Patson Daka.

The Foxes were fortunate not to be behind on just 45 seconds. The Geordies’ counterattack carved open the Foxes’ defence as Miguel Almiron carried the ball half the length of the pitch and found Joe Willock behind the defenders on the right. His cross found Sean Longstaff alone at the far post, but he somehow put the ball over when just letting it carom off of him would have resulted in a goal.

Leicester were hanging on, but it wasn’t until the 18th minute that Ward was called into action. A free kick pinballed in the City area and fell to the foot of Longstaff just 8 yards out. His snapshot was on-target, but Ward did exceptionally well to turn it wide of the post. The Newcastle midfielder had another chance moments later. Ward again came to the rescue, gathering at Longstaff’s feet before he could get his shot away.

City spurned a golden chance to take the lead against the run of play on the half-hour mark. Castagne somehow dribbled through the entire left side of the Newcastle defence. He curled the ball to Daka who had only keeper Nick Pope to beat. It was a tough angle, but you’d have expected him to blast it towards goal. Instead, he tried to pick out Barnes at the far post and only found Kieran Trippier.

Newcastle United v Leicester City - Carabao Cup Quarter Final
The Getty description is not accurate. This shot was not, in fact, on target.
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

The rest of the half was pretty much one-way traffic, with the hosts pinging the ball through the left side of the Leicester defence and Luke Thomas finding himself in 2-on-1 situations with Trippier and Almiron. That worked about as well for us as you’d imagine, but Ward was able to deflect the few shots that were on-target and see us through to halftime at nil-nil.

The second half started almost eerily like the first, with United nearly taking the lead on just 45 seconds. Joelinton found himself in acres of space on the Leicester right. He cut inside Castagne and shaped to shoot. Albrighton got back just in time to get a toe to it, but it still needed Ward to turn it onto the near post and out for a corner.

After seeing chance after chance spurned or saved, Newcastle took the lead in truly daft fashion. Closed down on the wing, Albrighton attempted to play the ball off a Newcastle player and out of play. He got the angle wrong, and the ball stayed in play, but it fell to Castagne. The Belgian tried the same thing, he also failed, and it bounced to Dan Burn. The defender waltzed through the defence, nutmegged Amartey with his shot, and saw it settle inside the near post.

We’re going to hear “Good with his feet for a big man” for the next five years aren’t we?
Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

Rodgers made his first changes on the hour mark, withdrawing Thomas and Daka in favour of Kelechi Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy. Let’s call the new shape a 3-5-2. It didn’t do anything change the run of play, as the Geordies doubled their lead in almost equally silly fashion. This time, it was a throw-in in midfield that undid the Foxes. Almiron received the long throw and just slid it into the path of Joelinton, who outraced Albrighton and finished calmly.

The Foxes should have had one back almost immediately. A glorious ball over the top into the right found Ayoze’s run. The former Newcastle striker slid it to the unmarked Vardy in the centre. With the entire goal to aim at and ages to do it, he slid the ball wide. He spurned another chance just 30 seconds later as he put the ball just inches wide from a tight angle.

Sadly, on 75’, that was it for Leicester’s chances to get back into the match. It’s not that Newcastle turned the screws, we just weren’t able to mount another attack for the last 15 minutes of regular time and the 5 minutes added on. Nampalys Mendy came on for Ayoze. Youri tried one of his signature long-range efforts, but it didn’t quite come off. It was just a third of an hour playing out the match with the Foxes already beaten.

That’s harsh. When he scores his first goal for us, I’m sure the floodgates will open.

This one really hurt. Not because we lost, but because I think there’s just no denying what we are. We’re not a team challenging for Europe in a bad run of form. We took on a top-four side for the second time in two weeks and they thrashed us both times. It was always going to be a big ask, facing a full-strength Newcastle at St. James’ without Madders, KDH, Justin, and Soumare. You can’t say we didn’t compete; we did. We just aren’t that good.

This was probably also the last chance for Vardy, Albrighton, and Amartey to complete their domestic punch card. Time is as harsh as it is inevitable. A younger Vardy probably would have scored at least once, but let’s not kid ourselves: Newcastle outshot us 22-7, with 9 shots on goal to our 1. We weren’t really in this match and it would have been a real smash-and-grab to get a result.

Next on the docket, we visit our best friends, Nottingham Forest on Saturday. We host Brighton and Hove Albion on the 21st before resuming our FA Cup campaign at Walsall.