Leicester City

Foxes Begin 2021 With Success In Newcastle

Leicester City's first Premier League fixture of the New Year saw them beat Newcastle United 2-1 at St. James' Park on Sunday, thanks to goals from James Maddison and Youri Tielemans.
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Manager Brendan Rodgers, six days after City’s 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace, made seven changes to his XI, with Jonny Evans – fresh from signing a new deal with the Football Club – starting on his 33rd birthday, and Wilfred Ndidi making his 10th appearance of 2020/21 exactly four years to the day that he signed for the Foxes.

A signal of City's intent, attacking midfielder Maddison fired wide of the mark with his left foot just three minutes in, before Jamie Vardy had a goal ruled out for offside shortly after, having latched onto a Maddison pass before rounding Karl Darlow and converting from a tight angle.

Newcastle began to frustrate City, though, and on 19 minutes Kasper Schmeichel was forced into his first save of the game as he comfortably held onto Joelinton's close-range header.

A neat phase of play on 39 minutes then saw the visiting side create another goalscoring opportunity, however Harvey Barnes couldn't connect with Timothy Castagne's delivery into the box.

In the second minute of first-half stoppage time, meanwhile, Maddison's corner was met by the head of Wesley Fofana, but the France Under-21s international nodded over and the opening 45 minutes ended goalless.

Just as they had done in the first period, Rodgers' side began the second half positively, with Vardy slicing a half-volley wide of the mark after a fine pass from full-back Castagne. 

City's pressure paid dividends 10 minutes after the interval. Evans found Barnes in his own half, and the Academy graduate darted through the Newcastle midfield before finding Vardy. With Maddison arriving in the box, the No.9 teed up the England midfielder, who drilled a powerful strike beyond Darlow for his sixth goal of the season in all competitions. 

Maddison wanted more, though, as he fired wide of Darlow's left-hand upright on 62 minutes in an attempt to extend City's advantage beyond Newcastle's grasp.

Indeed, Leicester did double their advantage 10 minutes later. A perfectly-weighted pass from Marc Albrighton saw him register his 28th Premier League assist for the Foxes as Tielemans swept home from the edge of the box.

Vardy, eventually flagged offside, then volleyed onto the crossbar, before Çağlar Söyüncü came off the bench to make his first appearance in a month after recovering from an adductor injury.

However, Newcastle halved the deficit with eight minutes to play via substitute Andy Carroll, who came off the bench to volley home and give Steve Bruce's side hope.

Both goalkeepers were tested in the closing stages, with Schmeichel holding onto a Wilson strike before Barnes was denied by Darlow at the other end.

City's No.15, in the third minute of injury time, then drilled wide, but Maddison and Tielemans' earlier efforts were enough to win it in Newcastle.

Major moment

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James Maddison
James Maddison

James Maddison has now scored six goals in all competitions for City this term.

After the first period ended in a stalemate, City knew the next goal would be crucial, and when Harvey Barnes broke through the Newcastle midfield, they had the chance to break the deadlock.

He drifted into space and then found Jamie Vardy, who cut inside and laid the ball off to James Maddison for the England international to slam an effort into the net.

Youri Tielemans added to Maddison's strike with a fine goal of his own, and while Andy Carroll pulled one back for the hosts, Leicester's earlier efforts proved enough to seal three points.

Who impressed?

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Youri Tielemans
Youri Tielemans

The Belgium international midfielder converted Marc Albrighton's pass for 2-0.

Speaking on LCFC Radio’s Matchday Live, Gerry Taggart said: “There are three or four contenders for me. James Maddison has to be in there for his strike and Harvey Barnes was electric in the second half. Jonny Evans, Wesley Fofana and Wilfred Ndidi were all great, but I’m going to give it to Youri Tielemans. His strike was fantastic and today he showed his class and work-rate defensively."

Where do we stand?

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Leicester City
Leicester City

Leicester City celebrate their 2-1 win at the full-time whistle in Newcastle.

After their 17th Premier League fixture of 2020/21, the Foxes have 32 points and occupy third position in the table. They are now just one point behind leaders Liverpool, who travel to Southampton on Monday night.

Coming up…

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Youri Tielemans & Brendan Rodgers
Youri Tielemans & Brendan Rodgers

The Foxes are now third in the Premier League with 32 points from 17 games.

There will now be a 13-day pause in Premier League action for Leicester City, who turn their attentions to their Emirates FA Cup campaign.

Entering at the third round stage, Leicester will head to bet365 Stadium to take on Michael O’Neill’s Stoke City on Saturday 9 January (3pm GMT kick-off).

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