Weblog: The football punter

Leicester can continue strong start against Toon

Newcastle have won on their last two visits to the King Power Stadium but the hat-trick looks set to evade them.

This is a very different Leicester side and even if James Maddison fails to overcome an ankle problem they have more than enough talented players to bag maximum points.

Leicester's only defeat came in a narrow 1-0 loss at Manchester United and they come into this fixture with three Premier League victories in their last four as well as a rampant EFL Cup triumph at Luton.

Maddison's late winner against Tottenham last week further enhanced City's claims for a top-six finish - and maybe even more with some suggesting Leicester can qualify for the Champions League.

There is plenty to like about the Foxes, who have not conceded more than once in any game and clearly carry an attacking threat with Maddison, Youri Tielemans, Harvey Barnes and former Newcastle man Ayoze Perez supplying Jamie Vardy.

Brendan Rodgers' side have averaged 1.82 points per game since he arrived from Celtic in February and the future looks bright for the Foxes. The same cannot be said for Newcastle.

Those last two wins for the Geordies at Leicester came with Rafael Benitez in the dugout and Perez scored in both victories. Without Perez as well as last season's star loanee Salomon Rondon and Benitez, many were predicting a relegation battle.

Five points in six matches added fuel to that fire despite a shock win at Tottenham in August.

In fairness to Benitez's replacement, Steve Bruce, Newcastle have had a tough run of fixtures having already been to Spurs, Liverpool and hosted Arsenal and they were competitive enough in those clashes.

They were undone by sensational forward play against Liverpool and lost 1-0 to Arsenal with Bruce tightening the team up defensively following the woeful performance in the 3-1 loss at Norwich.

Newcastle happily surrendered possession in last week's 0-0 home draw with Brighton with just 29 per cent of the ball in a game where Jonjo Shelvey picked up a hamstring injury.

Shelvey is joint-top scorer for Newcastle this term with one and that's a quarter of their entire total for the league season.

Joelinton is still trying to adapt to life in England and Miguel Almiron is still searching for his first Newcastle goal since joining the club from Atlanta United in the 2018-19 winter transfer window.

With goals difficult to come by this should be a home win, however, given Newcastle are likely to defend deep to deny Vardy space in behind and a doubt over Maddison Leicester may not be able to land a wide-margin triumph.

Best bet
Leicester to win & under 3.5 goals

The Football Site

Like on Facebook