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Newcastle seals Champions League return with Leicester draw

Both teams will likely be satisfied with their draw, as Newcastle clinched a top-four place while Leicester go into Championship Sunday with survival still very much in the cards.

Newcastle United is headed to the UEFA Champions League for the first time since 2003-04 despite being flustered in a scoreless draw with Leicester City at St. James’ Park on Monday.

The draw came after Newcastle dominated the ball but could only manage a point, moving four points clear of fifth-place Liverpool to guarantee no worse than fourth place.

Newcastle’s last European tournament was the 2012-13 Europa League when it lost to Benfica in the quarterfinals.


The point could prove critical for Leicester City, who has 31 points and a vastly superior goal difference to 19th place Leeds.

The Foxes will stay in the Premier League with a win over West Ham on Championship Sunday and an Everton loss or draw versus Bournemouth.

[ MORE: How to watch Premier League in USA ]

Dean Smith’s defensive gambit pays off (in a sense)

Leicester’s boss kept James Maddison and Harvey Barnes on the bench for the first half and soaked up Newcastle pressure to the tune of just 17 percent possession and 34 completed passes.

Maddison would enter at halftime, followed by Barnes and Patson Daka, though not much changed.

Newcastle hit the woodwork thrice, kept 77 percent possession, and out-attempted Leicester 23-1 with an xG advantage of 2.06 - 0.00 until Timothy Castagne was robbed by Nick Pope in stoppage time to raise that number to 0.07.

Yes, those were three zeroes: Leicester was that close to the rare imperfect game.

But Smith was playing for a draw and a puncher’s chance at a win. He got it. Is that too risky, leaving control out of its hands with Everton meeting Bournemouth at home? It would seems so, but it’s a plan that worked.

Leicester vs Newcastle player ratings: Stars of the Show

Bruno Guimaraes

Wilfred Ndidi

Sven Botman

Miguel Almiron

Newcastle vs Leicester player ratings

Eddie Howe reaction: ‘We want silverware’

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe on how vibrant St. James’ Park has been and his hopes for bringing a trophy to the Geordie faithful.

“I think if you’re not united with the fan base, regardless of how you play and performances, I don’t think it’s going to work. The first thing was to show how important it was that we represented the city in the right way, and that’s through sheer hard work and determination.

“The supporters, even in the dark days during the first few weeks, have stuck with us. They’ve galvanized the squad this year without a doubt.

“Whenever you achieve something you’re not just happy to participate. You want to succeed and want success. I want success massively for this football club. We’ll enjoy tonight, but we want to bring silverware here if we can in the future.”

On if he thought about a top-four finish prior to the season.

“It certainly wasn’t top four. I think you always hope, you always believe and you have to dream. But we didn’t feel that we were ready for that. After last season’s battle with relegation it was whether we could consolidate and become a better team.

“To not have that flirtation with relegation and try to give it a go...The lads have been unbelievable for me this year I can’t praise them enough. Their attitude, their mentality. It’s just been incredible.”

(Quotes from the BBC)

What’s next?

Leicester hosts West Ham on Championship Sunday, while Newcastle goes to Chelsea.

How to watch Leicester vs Newcastle live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 3pm ET, MondayTV Channel: USA NetworkOnline: Stream via

Key storylines & star players

James Maddison’s missed time this year and his 19 goal contributions are still heads and tails above the rest of the Foxes. Harvey Barnes leads the team in league goals with 12. Both have been kept on the bench to start as Dean Smith goes for defense first. Risky.

Newcastle’s Callum Wilson remains red-hot. His 18 goals this season put him fifth in the Premier League despite a long dry spell. Alexander Isak is climbing that list, too, and has missed even more time.

Leicester team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: James Justin (calf), Jannik Vestergaard (calf), Danny Ward (finger), Ryan Bertrand (other), Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall (ankle), Caglar Soyuncu (thigh).

Newcastle team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Joe Willock (thigh), Ryan Fraser (other), Matt Ritchie (knee), Jamaal Lascelles (calf), Emil Krafth (knee)

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