Leicester 2 Newcastle 4 – What have I just watched???
After watching Leicester 2 Newcastle 4, the question has to be why can’t NUFC play like this every match?
I must say, after seeing the performance at Arsenal I didn’t have high hopes for this match.
Add to that seeing Krafth in defence against the in form Ihenacho, I thought the match would be much the same as the other pastings we’ve had from the Foxes in the past. How wrong I was.
The team was completely unrecognisable from last week’s meek performances, on the front foot from the start and pressing at every opportunity. The Leicester back line, not helped by the late drop out of Evans, looked completely lost at sea against ASM and Wilson, and the energy of pressing by Almiron and Willock (finally getting another start) only served to make things worse for the leaderless backline, Willock pouncing on a Soyuncu mistake to make it 1-0 within the first 20 minutes.
Bad to worse for the foxes as a standard corner was routinely nodded home by Dummett for his first goal of the season. Even when Leicester did break through our organised defences, Dubravka was there to pull off some great saves to keep Newcastle on top. Going into the second half, we were in control by some margin.
And then I was having flashbacks to the West Ham game, fingers crossed we weren’t going to allow them straight back into the game. The first 10 minutes were certainly nail biting. After watching for a few minutes, I could see there was a lot more organisation to this defence, there were less heedless desperate defences like in the collapse against West Ham, but a contained effort to frustrate and break, which Wilson did just after the hour mark, getting his 11th goal of the season.
As the game went on, frustrations were very evident among the Foxes, continually denied by a stubborn defence, and I never felt we were in danger of letting this performance slip, even with a couple of late goals conceded (one smashing strike, one more of a fluke), particularly after Wilson’s classy second put the game to bed. It’s never a Newcastle game without a few late jitters…..
Night and Day
I don’t know how many times I’ve said it, but if we played like this every match, we’d have no problems worrying about relegation.
We were positive in attack, organised in defence, and were sharp in midfield. If we can replicate these performances consistently next season, there’s no reason we can’t push for a top half finish in 21/22.
This was our best performance by a country mile in the past few months, probably our best performance of the season. As one famous footballing icon once said, this does not slip!
Willock must start – While we still have him
The energy Joe Willock brought to our midfield from minute one was brilliant, finally it wasn’t just Almiron appearing all over the pitch (although he did his fair share too.) The energy of the pair of them even alleviated some of the pressure on Shelvey to press and move around the pitch at more than a slow trot, and allowed him to perform the coasting role with the occasional good pass we’ve grown used to.
Willock’s pressing clearly unnerved the back line as well, pouncing on a loose touch for the first goal, and chasing every opportunity, winning corners, free kicks and keeping us at the right end of the pitch. We need to make the most of him while we have him and try to get him back for next season!
One player (or lack of) makes all the difference
In hindsight, the loss of Johnny Evans really did kill the game for Leicester.
Three of the four goals we scored were directly from defensive errors, and you’d think they may well not have happened if the veteran defender hadn’t been struck with injury in the warm up. The leaderless defence never seemed to get into a rhythm, in complete contrast to the workmanlike performance our back five put in.
Stats from BBC Sport:
Leicester 2 Newcastle 4 – Friday 7 May 8pm
Willock 22, Dummett 34, Wilson 64, 73
80 Albrighton, 87 Iheanacho
(Half-time stats in brackets)
Possession was Leicester 69% (67%) Newcastle 31% (33%)
Total shots were Leicester 25 (7) Newcastle 14 (9)
Shots on target were Leicester 9 (4) Newcastle 6 (3)
Corners were Leicester 9 (2) Newcastle 6 (5)
Referee: Darren England
Dubravka, Murphy, Fernandez, Krafth, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Willock (Sean Longstaff 77), Almiron (Hendrick 88), Wilson, Saint-Maximin (Joelinton 84)
Gillespie, Lewis, Manquillo, Carroll, Clark, Gayle
Leicester 2 Newcastle 4 – Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Friday’s 6 goal thriller – Read HERE)
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