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Demoralised Leicester City have nightmare Thursday night – Perfect for Newcastle United

1 month ago
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Leicester City put everything into their Thursday night in Naples and still failed.

Needing a win to top their Europa League group, a draw to ensure second and qualification, instead the Foxes ended up losing and finishing third.

After third place meant now having to play in the pointless Europa Conference League, Brendan Rodgers claimed: ‘I’ve got to be honest, I don’t even know what that competition is.’

Leicester City look a world away from the team that finished fifth in the Premier League each of the past two seasons and could and should have finished fourth both times, qualifying for the Champions League.

The Leicester City fans are now having a go at both manager and team, having become used to a certain level of performance and results under Brendan Rodgers.

It was their defending that was once again the big problem, Leicester City losing 3-2 to Napoli and some really poor goals conceded.

After the experiment of dropping Jamie Vardy failed in the defeat at Villa on Sunday, he was recalled last night and played the entire match in Naples.

Brendan Rodgers looks to have played what he considered his strongest team, as he started with eight of the 11 who started against Villa, recalled Vardy for Daka. Then the other two who started against Villa but didn’t make the starting eleven last night – were Lookman and Thomas.

Ahead of the game, Rodgers revealed that seven players hadn’t travelled due to positive covid tests or too ill to travel, a local journalist later revealed these to be Ademola Lookman, Daniel Amartey, Kelechi Iheanacho, Ayoze Perez, Filip Benkovic, Vontae Daley-Campbell and Jannik Vestergaard.

So that explains Lookman’s absence, whilst 20 year old defender Luke Thomas dropped to the bench last night.

In five of their last six games, Leicester have conceded at least two goals, whilst they haven’t kept a Premier League clean sheet since the first game of the season.

This is surely perfect for Newcastle United, as a demoralised Leicester City head back to England after a nightmare Thursday night.

Played their strongest team but still failed, now have to play in the pointless Europa Conference League, only three wins in their last twelve PL matches, Brendan Rodgers now having to decide who he picks from a Leicester eleven who are sure to be in some way feeling the effects of playing last night and the travelling, whilst this added major problem of seven players with illness or ruled out by covid positive tests.

Leicester City still have some excellent players but they are excellent players who are rarely, if ever, performing this season.

Sunday won’t be any kind of easy task for Newcastle United but there are some serious margins pushing in their favour with what appears to be a pretty much full squad for Eddie Howe now to choose from, a squad who are far fitter and better drilled now than under Steve Bruce.

So often it is small margins that decide Premier League games and what an opportunity this is on Sunday for a Newcastle side boosted by that first win of the season and first clean sheet, to go and throw everything at Leicester City. The crowd have already been getting on their backs, so if Newcastle can get the first goal, that will inevitably see a further backlash from Leicester City supporters who have developed certain expectations in recent times.

Brendan Rodgers after Leicester drop into the Europa Conference League following third place and failure to qualify from their Europa League group:

“I’ve got to be honest, I don’t even know what that competition is.

“I was focused on the Europa League and winning this group and at the very least finishing second…but I am sure I will find out soon enough.

“There is a lot of naivety in our team, with a lot of young players and it has been a big demand for them this season,” he added.

“We have played a number of systems but individually it comes down to having that mentality to track a runner or stop a cross.

“We were good offensively but it was nowhere near good enough.”

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