Leicester City faced Champions League hopefuls, Newcastle United, at St James Park in a crucial game for the Foxes’ Premier League survival hopes. Leicester had to pick up points and put pressure onto Everton going into the final game of the season.
Newcastle had won four of their last six games. City had won one, drew two and lost three of their last six games and were running out of time to turn their fate around. A win would place the Foxes in 17th on 33 points and push Everton into the relegation zone on goal difference, forcing the relegation battle to be closer than ever.
The Foxes started off on the back-foot as Newcastle attacked their box time and time again. In the first 10 minutes, Bruno Guimaraes committed a bad foul on Boubakary Soumare. The Brazilian planted his studs onto the LCFC midfielder’s knee and only received a yellow card. As half-time was approaching, Daniel Iversen dropped the ball to gift Callum Wilson an opportunity on goal. His first shot hit the post, before his rebound was headed off the line by Wilfred Ndidi. Not long after, a ball fell for Miguel Almiron, but the Paraguay midfielder’s effort hit the post. Leicester reached half-time at 0-0.
As the second-half kicked off, the narrative was the same as the first. Newcastle dominated the Leicester half with the Foxes struggling to make it past the half-way line. Wout Faes flicked the ball on from a corner, but it fell to Guimaraes. The Brazilian midfielder somehow headed it onto the post from less than a yard out. It was a massive chance to put the Magpies 1-0 up and secure their place in the top four.
As the clock ticked into injury time, Timothy Castagne had Leicester’s only big chance of the game. James Maddison crossed the ball into the box and Castagne connected with it, but his volley was saved by a quick reflex from Nick Pope. Time ran out for the Foxes and the game ended 0-0. City claimed their first clean sheet since November and their fight for survival continues to the final game. Here are our three Leicester City players that impressed against Newcastle:
Leicester City defender Harry Souttar
The Australian had a great game on Monday night and it poses the question of ‘why did Dean Smith not play him over the last few games?’ He looked nervous as the game started, but he grew into the game and was a strong presence in the box. Souttar showed off his qualities, he won headers and cleared crosses well.
The Northern-Irishman’s experience was crucial to the Leicester defence. He brought in control and confidence to the backline. Although the City defender wasn’t up to full fitness, he battled through the pain to clear crosses and limit the chances Newcastle threw at them. It was a shame that he had to go off due to injury. The Leicester captain showed clear fight and passion that has been lacking in the side for some time.
The Belgian defender timed his challenges well and was eager to throw himself into any tackles. He cleared crosses and helped Evans and Souttar to win headers. Faes worked well in the back-line with Evans and Thomas and was aggressive when challenging. He Closed players down well and made it difficult for the Newcastle players to get a shot away. However, he did flick the corner onto Guimaraes, which the Brazilian midfielder should’ve easily headed into the Leicester net.
Overall, the entire defence deserve an honourable mention especially Wilfred Ndidi. The Nigerian international had a great performance, in particular his goal-line clearance, it was a shame he was forced off through injury.
The fight goes to the final day. To stay up, the King Power outfit must beat West Ham on Sunday and hope that Everton either draw or lose to Bournemouth.