3 Positives and 3 Negatives from Leicester 0 Newcastle 1
Friday night finished Leicester 0 Newcastle 1.
Rafa’s players back to winning form after the past month had seen only one point from three games played..
A complete away performance that restricted Leicester to very few clear chances, whilst Newcastle were always a threat on the break.
Ahead of each match we ask one of our writers to come up with 3 positives and 3 negatives after the final whistle.
This time it is David Punton:
An Away Win
A win. On the road. At Leicester. A club that has spent a fair bit of money on quality players.
It’s a tough place to go but we have managed to win on this ground for a second season running.
The win was vital as it took us on to 38 points and means the chances of being caught by Cardiff City are remote. We were able to soak up everything that the Foxes threw at us, buoyed by their new manager Brendan Rodgers.
Rafa won the tactical battle in this Friday night contest. Nobody really wants to play on a Friday, but if you win them game, it really sets the weekend up nicely.
The performances of three players were really encouraging for United.
Matt Ritchie’s workrate and commitment remains the stand out feature of his game. He put in a hell of a shift here and came up with the assist for the winning goal. There was talk he might be moved on this summer, but despite the fact he can be limited in some games, he remains a key player for United in terms of desire, attitude and sheer bloody hard work.
Then we come to the goal scorer. Ayoze Perez has had his fair share of stick this season and yet he’s a player who has scored some really important goals and he came up with the goods again at the King Power Stadium.
It was a wonderfully directed header that came from a clever run. He makes these movements that allow him to find space to stick chances away. He just needs to add consistency. Not bad for a £1.5m signing from Tenerife.
At the back we were watertight and that was credit to all the defenders out there on Friday night. But more than any other it was Fabian Schar who stood out.
He’s an accomplished ball playing centre half who can turn defence into attack. He makes NUFC tick and has become the mainstay of the team in a back three favoured by Benitez.
He was immense at Leicester. He won all his battles, broke up attacks, passed it well and even had a scintillating gallop up field that should have yielded a goal.
For £3m what a massive plus point to have. It’s no wonder there were a few claims Arsenal were keeping tabs on the Swiss powerhouse.
It’s great to see him bounce back so well from that sickening clash of heads of international duty when he was knocked out cold and ended up playing on.
When Was The Last Time…?
When was the last time we had such a straightforward day at the office?
It was nice for a change to see Newcastle go away from home, score once, and manage to hold on to that score.
There were nerves and I did fear another Wolves debacle when we conceded annoyingly late, but for once, as seems to be the realm of other teams and never us, we managed to see a game out. It went our way on the night.
Leicester have been on a winning run but all runs have to come to an end at some point. We’re nicely set up for the Southampton game. Let’s hope for more of the same.
Where’s Jonjo Shelvey
It was a game where there was another noticeable absence of Jonjo Shelvey.
Fit again but still unable to force his way back into the team. He’s a player I like and when he’s on form he can open up teams with his passing.
This season has been a nightmare for him and for whatever the reason he’s out of favour and the jungle drums are there. He could be sold this summer, which, for me, would be a massive shame.
It was a game that provided another reminder of what a hero Isaac Hayden has become for Newcastle United.
The lad, who is unsettled and wants to leave, has been immense in that midfield engine room. He and Ki hardly wasted a ball.
It will be a shame when he departs and he should go with all our best wishes and will need to be replaced.
Rafa Benitez Contract Situation
The win brought into focus the situation regarding Rafa Benitez’s contract.
Rafa is holding the club together and has been ever since he came through the door. Every game that passes brings us a step closer to him leaving.
There is still no sign of agreement over a new deal, despite the fact Benitez is making all the right noises and seemed to hint on Sky Sports that it shouldn’t be hard to get it right.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Leicester 0 Newcastle 1
Possession was Leicester 72% Newcastle 28%
Total shots were Leicester 12 Newcastle 11
Shots on target were Leicester 5 Newcastle 5
Corners were Leicester 2 Newcastle 3
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Schar, Dummett, Ritchie, Hayden, Ki (Diame 82), Almiron (Atsu 78), Perez, Rondon
Darlow, Shelvey, Fernandez, Muto, Yedlin
Crowd: 32,108 (3,000 Newcastle)
(Reaction from Newcastle fans/writers to the 1-0 win at Leicester HERE)
(Great response from Alan Shearer to NUFC victory at Leicester HERE)
(Excellent footage of Newcastle fans singing/celebrating at full-time HERE)
(Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher discuss the state of Newcastle United HERE)
You can follow the author on Twitter @DavePunton
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