Leicester beat Newcastle to go third
Fine first-time finishes from James Maddison and Youri Tielemans helped Leicester beat Newcastle 2-1 and move to within a point of the top of the Premier League.
Maddison fired in Jamie Vardy’s pull-back from just inside the penalty area to break Newcastle’s resistance before Tielemans curled home from 20 yards after Marc Albrighton’s pass.
Andy Carroll’s equally impressive volley reduced the deficit, his first goal since rejoining Newcastle in August 2019.
Leicester moved back above Tottenham into third, although they have played a game more than Spurs, leaders Liverpool and second-placed Manchester United.
Having drawn their past two games, Leicester were in danger of dropping off the pace in the title race, but they showed their class in patches at St James’ Park and deserved three points.
Apart from a tidy Vardy finish that was disallowed for offside, they were restricted to very little in the first half, although returning pair Maddison and Tielemans unlocked Newcastle after the break.
Carroll stroked home to put some gloss on the scoreline for Newcastle – his first goal for the club since 2010 – but the hosts saw their winless league run extended to five games.
Returnees provide quality for Foxes
Manager Brendan Rodgers rested Vardy for Monday’s trip to Crystal Palace, a gamble that failed to pay off as Leicester were held to a 1-1 draw.
Rodgers restored Vardy and Tielemans to the starting line-up against Newcastle and was boosted by the returns of Maddison and Timothy Castagne from injury.
The difference was telling as Leicester recorded a seventh win in nine away games this season, the best record in the top flight.
Vardy latched on to through balls from Maddison and Tielemans in the early stages, only to be foiled on both occasions by the offside flag, but the danger to Newcastle was readily apparent.
While the Magpies were able to snuff out the supply for the rest of the opening 45 minutes, they were fortunate when Vardy sliced wide from a Castagne ball over the top early in the second half.
The 33-year-old striker neatly skipped inside Federico Fernandez to tee up Maddison for the breakthrough and later hit the bar from distance, albeit when a belated flag went up again.
Although Vardy did not add to his 11 goals this season, only Harry Kane, Jack Grealish, Bruno Fernandes and Kevin de Bruyne have more Premier League assists than his five.
Late rally not enough for Magpies
As much as Newcastle’s resilient midweek display in holding leaders Liverpool to a goalless draw was rightfully lauded, they have collected only two points from a possible 15 since 16 December.
The struggles of the teams below them mean Steve Bruce’s side, in 15th, retain an eight-point cushion above the bottom three, but they again paid the price for a lack of cutting edge against Leicester.
Kasper Schmeichel had not had a save to make until Carroll’s classy volley flew past the unsighted Foxes keeper eight minutes from time.
That was Newcastle’s first goal in four games and the absence of Allan Saint-Maximin to long Covid continues to have an impact on the service to an isolated Callum Wilson up front.
Newcastle have taken points off Liverpool, Tottenham and Everton – three of the top five – this season, but struggle to follow results up, recording successive league wins on only one occasion.
December’s Carabao Cup quarter-final exit to Championship side Brentford did not help Bruce’s cause as Newcastle seek a first trophy for 50 years, making Saturday’s FA Cup third-round trip to Arsenal an important one for their floundering season.