Tuesday, March 15, 2016, 7am AEDT, King Power Stadium, Watch on Fox Sports
Leicester City: First
Newcastle United: Nineteenth
Last five match results
Leicester City: WLWDW
Newcastle United: LWLLL
TWO sides on opposite ends of the Premier League spectrum meet on Tuesday morning with entirely different objectives for the remainder of the season.
Leicester City’s dream of hoisting the title continued on the weekend after recording an important 1-0 away win against Watford.
The win gave the Foxes a five point lead at the top of the EPL table making them clear favourites to win the title with WilliamHill.com.au ($2.60).
Leicester striker Jamie Vardy believes the key to their success has been a constant and consistent message from Foxes’ manager Claudio Ranieri.
“He is not changing anything he has been doing all season, every single day,” Vardy said.
“And I don’t think he will whatever the outcome is, no one knows.
“There are still nine games to go. Just like the team itself, he is enjoying himself. And we will see what happens.
Vardy thinks team unity has also been a contributing factor to his side’s dream run.
“He has a good set of lads on him. He has not has to tweak too much. He has on certain things, but he knew he had a good set of lads and like I say he was not going to chat too much.
“He knows we are fighters and we will do it for each other week in and week out. And that is just what he wants us to keep doing.”
If Leicester’s season to date has been a dream-like then Newcastle’s could best be described as a nightmare.
After barely avoiding relegation last season the Magpies elected to finally splash the cash in the transfer windows.
With the exception of Georginio Wijnaldum – who has scored 9 goals to be the club’s leading scorer this season – the players Steve McClaren brought in to improve his side have failed to make a lasting impact.
The Magpies sit in nineteenth position on the Premier League table and look set for relegation (Newcastle is at $1.45 with Sportsbet.com.au to be relegated this season).
Newcastle striker Ayoze Perez believes the answer to his side’s woes must come from within the squad and not from the club’s hierarchy.
“In some moments we are not a team, we are not as one. Something has to change,” Perez said.
“It’s not enough – we have good quality in the dressing room, but during this season we have not shown it. We need to be a team.”
Speculation has been rife as to whether current manager Steve McClaren will stay in his position after a string of poor losses; culminating in their dismal 3-1 home loss to fellow strugglers Bournemouth over the weekend.
Reports throughout the week suggest that the club is poised to announce that former Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez has accepted an offer to lead Newcastle’s relegation battle.
The board is set to meet with McClaren on Thursday to discuss the former England boss’ future, where it is expected his tenure at the club will come to an end.
Despite the chaos surrounding both McClaren and the club, Perez said the players are behind their coach.
“He is our manager, we have to be with him,” he added.
“If something changes, I don’t know what’s going to happen – but right now we are with him because he is our manager.”
Possible team line ups
Leicester City: Schmeichel; Simpson, Morgan, Huth, Fuchs, Mahrez, Kanté, Drinkwater, Albrighton, Okazaki, Vardy
Newcastle United: Elliot; Janmaat, Taylor, Lascelles, Dummett; Shelvey, Jack Colback, Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Perez, Mitrovic
Match result: Leicester City to win ($1.65 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Correct match score: Leicester to win 2-0 ($7.50 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Total match goals: Exactly two or three goals ($2 with Sportsbet.com.au)
One team is flying while the other team is failing.
Leicester has the chance to extend their lead at the top of the table to eight points while Newcastle is clinging to the hope of Premier League survival.
Leicester has won the last two match ups between the sides in the Premier League, with the last meeting between the Magpies and the Foxes’ ending in favour of the visitors 3-0 at St James’ Park.
This time the match is at King Power Stadium; a venue that Claudio Raneri’s men have turned into a fortress.
The Foxes have an imposing home record – they are unbeaten in their last ten matches at King Power Stadium.
Newcastle’s away form has been nothing short awful.
The Magpies have taken just three points from their last eight away games and have been kept scoreless five times across those matches.
It all points towards a Leicester win – it does not seem like there is any conceivable way that Newcastle can upset the title favourites away from home.
First goal scorer predictions
Jamie Vardy ($4.50 with Sportsbet.com.au)
Leaving the league’s top scorer and the club’s penalty taker off the first goal scoring list would be just asking for trouble.
Jamie Vardy has been an absolute revelation for his team this season, scoring 19 goals; which places him as clear favourite with WilliamHill.com.au to win this year’s golden boot ($2.60).
Vardy scored the first goal the last time the two teams met at St. James’ Park back on November 21st and it would not be surprising to see the 29-year-old opening the scoring at King Power Stadium on Tuesday morning.
Riyad Mahrez ($5.50 with Sportsbet.com.au)
While Jamie Vardy’s praises have been sung by all and sundry for his goal scoring exploits, it is easy to overlook the fact that Riyad Mahrez has netted 15 goals this season.
Mahrez is without question one of the players of the season and is a constant goal scoring threat from almost every angle.
Compound that with his ability to run at defenders and make them lunge at shadows and it is easy to see why the Frenchman has double figure goals so far in this campaign.
Do not be surprised of Mahrez extends his goal tally to 16 on Tuesday morning with the opening goal of the match.
Ayoze Perez ($9 with Sportsbet.com.au)
One shining light in a dismal season to date for Newcastle has been the continual improvement of Spaniard Ayoze Perez.
The 22-year-old possesses blistering speed and a keen goal sense; he is by far the Magpies’ best attacking option in the final third.
If Newcastle are to find the net first in this match, Perez is the man most likely to do so.
Jonjo Shelvey ($5 with WilliamHill.com.au)
After coming to the club via the January transfer market, England international Jonjo Shelvey has shown flashes of brilliance without truly displaying the skill level he possesses for his new side.
The former Liverpool man has the ability to score long range goals and has little reluctance to take any opportunity to shoot on goal when it is afforded to him.
Shelvey is a man who relishes the big occasion – it does not get any bigger than scoring the first goal against the league leaders when your side is immersed in a relegation battle.