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Three things we learned from Newcastle - Leicester City

Newcastle - Leicester City

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - JANUARY 03: James Maddison of Leicester City celebrates with team mate Jamie Vardy (l) after scoring their sides first goal during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Leicester City at St. James Park on January 03, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

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Newcastle - Leicester City: Leicester City returned to the win column, holding off a late Newcastle United challenge to win 2-1 at St. James’ Park on Sunday.

All of the goals came in the second half, with James Maddison and Youri Tielemans staking the Foxes to a two-goal lead with hammered goals.

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Andy Carroll pulled one back late for Newcastle, his first goal for the Magpies since Boxing Day 2010.

Leicester moves third, a point back of Liverpool and Manchester City, while Newcastle remains 15th with 19 points after a murderer’s row of fixtures with the three other teams in this sentence.


Three things we learned from Newcastle - Leicester City recap

1. Maddison, Tielemans are class merchants: The combination of skill, trickery, and technique from Leicester City’s goal scorers are apparent time and again, and both James Maddison and Youri Tielemans have little nasty streaks to boot. Maddison and Tielemans both ripped vicious goals past Karl Darlow on Sunday, the latter’s marker a true beauty, giving the midfielders a combined eight goals this Premier League season.

2. Final third wisdom a problem for Steve Bruce: If the Magpies are going to cede possession in the hopes of counterattacking for goals, they need to work smarter (and harder) in the final third. Newcastle labors in attack and Callum Wilson has to do jobs a center forward shouldn’t have to do if you’d like to score goals often. Miguel Almiron failed to find Wilson while leading a rush two or three times, while DeAndre Yedlin, Matty Longstaff, and super sub Jonjo Shelvey sent good balls through the 18 without anyone rushing to meet them. Chances lost.

3. Solid away rebound for Rodgers’ Foxes: Leicester has dominated Newcastle the past couple of seasons but was coming off an iffy performance in a loss to Crystal Palace. With all their key pieces back but rusty at times, the Foxes weren’t flawless but there was rarely any doubt who would take hold of the points at St. James’ Park. As Newcastle’s shown against Liverpool and Tottenham, points aren’t a given when they pack the back.

Man of the Match: Wilfred Ndidi

The Nigerian midfield monster had six interceptions to foil so many of Newcastle’s possession hopes, with two tackles, two clearances, and 90 percent passing.

Newcastle - Leicester City recap

The first 15 minutes was pure Foxes dominance, Newcastle all mixed up under duress at the back.

Jamie Vardy had the ball in the goal from a super acute angle, but was offside with his run.

Newcastle had one or two moments after that, Kasper Schmeichel saving from Joelinton before racing out to deny a long pass to Callum Wilson.

The Magpies grew into the game a bit in the final 20 minutes of the half but it was still mostly Leicester at SJP.

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Leicester came close through Jamie Vardy after the break and Newcastle’s second-half hopes were all about the counter attack.

Miguel Almiron twice tried to slip Callum Wilson through the goal but Wesley Fofana was wise to slide away the more dangerous of the chances.

USMNT back DeAndre Yedlin swept in a promising 51st-minute cross that was absent receiver.

Leicester’s breakthrough was driven by Vardy and a bit of luck, the Foxes’ frontman bid to nutmeg a back bounding into his path for a cutback to Maddison. The midfielder would not mishit his chance in the slightest.

Newcastle had a Callum Wilson penalty shout unheeded moments later, and Youri Tielemans was booked for a harsh takedown of Almiron at the hour mark as the Magpies tried in vain for an equalizer.

Maddison tried a showstopper soon after, missing wide in the 62nd.

Matty Longstaff sent a teasing low ball through the 18 and eventually the six with no receiver at the back post again.

Tielemans put it to bed in the 72nd minute, mildly nervy moments for the Foxes erased by the Belgian’s blast. It took seven touches off a Leicester interception for the ball to cross the line.

Carroll put Newcastle back in the discussion with a solid left-footed hit of a loose ball, and Schmeichel and Karl Darlow traded big saves by the 89th minute.

Follow @NicholasMendola