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Match Reports

‘Message for Bruno Guimaraes after 2 goals and MOTM – I think that deal may already have been struck old son’

4 weeks ago
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We approached this game at a slightly odd point in the season.

The win versus Wolves had created a gap that looked like being comfortable to sail through to the end of the season in safety…but varying degrees of uncertainty persisted.

This may have been a degree of anticipation of difficult fixtures ahead at the end of the month, paranoia about Burnley’s managerial change creating an unlikely resurrection, or just consistent nervous anxiety as to how much we stand to lose should this season succumb to the relegation that seemed so likely for so long.

Suffice to say, a win today would do wonders to placate any terrifying thoughts, especially as Burnley simultaneously began their post-Dyche experiment at West Ham. The gap at close of play tonight could be definitive, and there was some encouragement when the Leicester team showed eight changes from the side that had produced an impressive win in Eindhoven, less than 72 hours earlier. This wasn’t as encouraging as it might have been though, as the starting XI still included dangerous types like Lookman, Daka, Dewsbury-Hall and a rare start for a man with a point to prove in Ayoze Perez, whose scoring history in this fixture is more than decent.

The hope would still be to get stuck into the fairly unfamiliar Foxes line-up but Newcastle still showed the lack of killer intent that has stigmatised the relative struggles of recent matches. ASM was still battling against the pressure of multiple markers, coupled with the expectation of being the main attacking outlet. Most dribbles ended in possession being robbed, wild strikes, or misplaced passes. He’s going to score a belter soon. Almiron on the opposite flank had a busy game, showing pace and endeavour, but if I were Chris Wood I’d be wondering what price I needed to put on a ball in the box, as last week’s match winner cut an isolated and frustrated figure.

One striking similarity to last week was the obvious candidate for man of the match, as the magnificent Bruno once again showed his class. Leicester had the lion’s share of possession but most of the time they barely got past the halfway line as Bruno constantly dispossessed them and created counters, with Shelvey proving an admirable foil for the Brazilian. Add a killer ball to this team and it’s Keegan era scores, I’m telling you.

The killer ball was sadly lacking unfortunately, so it turned out to be the visitors who made the breakthrough. It was training ground perfection to be fair, as Dewsbury-Hall fired a corner to Lookman on the edge of the box and his first time shot was fumbled in by Dubravka, clearly poorly sighted by the sea of bodies in front of him. Scrappy and disappointing but at least these days you can hope they’ll learn from it.

The overall feeling was that United might serve to underwhelm here and there were some slightly subdued moments as a result. This prompted the Leicester fans to start shouting “where’s your famous atmosphere?” and I’m sorry but I’m not letting this one go.

The famous atmosphere was clearly in evidence by yet another outstanding, full ground display from Wor Flags, accompanied by raucous noise at a time when games at the KP stadium are soundtracked by silly little toys that are provided to make a banging sound to drown out the embarrassment of nothingness.

The atmosphere rose at the sight of the tribute to club legend David Kelly, in appreciation of his critical goal that defined our recent history, on a day when Leicester fans took to Twitter to abuse the man who scored their first ever FA Cup final winner for not picking someone up.

David Kelly Banner Wor FlagsThe atmosphere would come back to bite you in the backside when Newcastle scored and you got both barrels of noise from the crowd, as opposed to the contrived musical interlude that drowns out the golf claps at the cut and paste identikit stadium in Leicester. The atmosphere was there and you knew it, and you added nothing at all to it by shouting “Ahhhh!” at every one of our goal kicks.

I have enjoyed Leicester’s success of recent years, as they continually deliver bloody noses to the establishment and give some overdue good times to a fan base that has always been there. If this is how they choose to be as a result, then they should be held up for me as an example of precisely how not to go on, should fortune smile on your club. Which you know, it might round here very soon.

It certainly did in the context of this game. The crowd was roused by the insult for the underfilled away end and the team responded. Targett’s corner was won easily by Burn and Bruno turned his knockdown through the legs of the onrushing Schmeichel. The goalie managed to stop it between his ankles, but Bruno just stretched through and poked the ball in, a scramble mess that was always going to get flagged as a foul given the involvement of a goalkeeper. However, the VAR quickly realised that Schmeichel had never got his hands near it and the goal was a result of a fair and opportunistic challenge. There was one of those delicious moments where the VAR invites the ref over to check the goal on camera in a way that always ends in the decision being changed. 1-1 and no need for Kasabian to help amplify the noise.

The second half was quite the non-event, as United seemed to struggle to keep possession without ever looking in danger of conceding again. I did get a bit concerned when Leicester started subbing on some big guns, specifically perennial pain in the backside Maddison for Lookman (who was not getting a kick off the excellent Krafth) but Leicester seemed to get flat themselves, as their exploits in the Netherlands maybe caught up a bit.

It was getting to the point that the highlight of the second half was news of West Ham equalising against Burnley. Fortunately, we were soon set to forget about the situation with the bottom three. With four minutes of injury time gone, Leicester attempted an ill advised long ball that Targett dealt with and played forward to release Willock. Little Joe did brilliantly in letting the ball run through his legs before leaving Tielemans for dead (cue internet abuse from fickle ingrates) and steaming towards the box.

Bruno GuimaraesHis cross ballooned off the foot of Amartey and fell neatly for the onrushing Bruno, who had bust a gut to get in the box and head the winner. Atmosphere was resoundingly demonstrated to all concerned, without any need to press play.

This was a classic moment as surely any relegation thoughts are now banished. It will be nice to utilise Wednesday’s game against another side that should have a cup hangover to rubber stamp this (and Eddie says it’s not over) but this may well be the moment we look back on where the first big challenge was successfully and maybe unexpectedly overcome.

The absolute class of Bruno flowed on the pitch all afternoon and didn’t stop with the whistle. A child was pictured taking home his discarded shirt as a souvenir and the Brazilian then proceeded to conduct post-match interviews in English, having not had a word some three months ago when he rocked up here to buy in completely to a project that was so fraught with short term danger. He believed in Newcastle when the likes of Lucas Digne would prefer safer options like Aston Villa, who we overtook in the table following this result, having been 11 points and eight places behind them when he made this sage choice, but potentially a consequence of judging your managerial appointment on how good he is at free kicks.

Bruno didn’t need to say anything further to endear himself, but he still managed to raise the bar, saying “I want to play hundreds of games here, I want to be a legend.”

I think that deal may already have been struck old son.

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 2 Leicester 1 – Sunday 17 April 2.15pm

Goals:

Leicester:

Lookman 19

Newcastle:

Bruno G 30, 90+5

Possession was Leicester 69% Newcastle 31%

Total shots were Leicester 8 Newcastle 16

Shots on target were Leicester 2 Newcastle 7

Corners were Leicester 5 Newcastle 3

Referee: Jarred Gillett

Crowd: 52,104 (2,400 Leicester)

Newcastle United:

Dubravka, Krafth, Schar, Burn, Targett, Shelvey, Guimaraes, Joelinton, Almiron (Murphy 70), Saint-Maximin (Gayle 90+1), Wood (Willock 69)

Unused Subs:

Darlow, Dummett, Longstaff, Ritchie, Fernandez, Lascelles

(Eddie Howe perfectly sums up Newcastle 2 Leicester 1 – Reflecting on Bruno and this massive win – Read HERE)

(Garth Crooks bizarre description of Newcastle 2 Leicester 1 as picks NUFC star in PL team of the week – Read HERE)

(This is brilliant from Brendan Rodgers after Newcastle 2 Leicester 1 – Fair play to Foxes boss – Read HERE)

(Watch brilliant Bruno Guimaraes winner HERE – Newcastle 2 Leicester 1 match highlights)

(Bruno Guimaraes with Easter message for Newcastle United fans after Sunday afternoon – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 2 Leicester 1 – The three big points that I’m taking from the match – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 2 Leicester 1 – Match ratings and comments on all the NUFC players – Read HERE)

(Newcastle 2 Leicester 1 – Instant NUFC fan / writer reaction to Sunday afternoon victory – Read HERE)

You can follow the author on Twitter @Mr_Dolf

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