A dismal defensive performance meant Leicester City suffered a shock 4-2 defeat at the hands of Newcastle United at the King Power Stadium on Friday.
There were a couple of half chances in the opening exchanges, but neither side really came close to breaking the deadlock in the opening quarter of an hour. The first real chance of the game came from a blistering Newcastle United attack, but Leicester City skipper Kasper Schmeichel was at hand to deny Allan Saint-Maximin.
Newcastle, though, went on to take the lead midway through the first half through Joe Willock, who snatched the ball off Caglar Soyuncu before beating Schmeichel. Ten minutes later, Leicester were two behind, with Paul Dummett heading in from close range to make it 2-0 for Newcastle, who headed into half-time with a solid two-goal cushion.
Post the interval, Leicester were much improved but struggled to breach the Newcastle goal, with the visitors instead scoring their third against the run of play through Callum Wilson, who made it 4-0 shortly after after being set up by Miguel Almiron. Leicester did pull a goal back through Marc Albrighton, before Kelechi Iheanacho made it 4-2 late on.
In the end, though, it was too little too late, as Leicester suffered a shock 4-2 defeat at the hands of Newcastle, in what is a huge blow to their top four hopes, considering a daunting fixture run in the final couple of weeks. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Brendan Rodgers’s men.
Kasper Schmeichel: 5/10
A difficult evening for Schmeichel, who made a stunning save to deny Allan Saint-Maximin early on but was helpless against Joe Willock for the opener after the error by Caglar Soyuncu. The Leicester City skipper did not have a chance for Paul Dummett and Callum Wilson’s goals either.
Timothy Castagne: 4/10
A makeshift centre-back for Leicester due to Jonny Evans pulling out in the build-up to the game with an injury, Castagne unsurprisingly had a few problems against the nippy Saint-Maximin, but held his own for the most part in the first half. However, it was his mistake that enabled Wilson to score the third Newcastle goal and take the game away from Leicester.
Wesley Fofana: 4/10
Stationed at the heart of Leicester’s three-man central defensive unit, Fofana did suffer a little from the absence of Evans and lost Dummett for the second Newcastle goal. Also caught ball-watching when Wilson scored his second, with Newcastle playing around him with ease. Came close at the other end once, but was denied superbly by Martin Dubravka.
Caglar Soyuncu: 4/10
With Evans missing out, Soyuncu was the leader at the back for Leicester. The Turk, though, looked suspect against the Newcastle United counter-attack, getting caught out for pace at times. Made an inexplicable error when the hosts conceded the opener to a Willock goal. Made 5 clearances but he really needed to do better in the crunch moments.
#lcfc defence badly disrupted by Jonny Evans’ withdrawal; such a calming presence this season, organising the back-three. Soyuncu struggling badly. #nufc excellent, especially Wilson, ripping through Leicester. Willock and Dummett goals. #LEINEW
— Henry Winter (@henrywinter) May 7, 2021
Ricardo Pereira: 5/10
A sub-par display by Pereira, who saw a lot of the ball, but did precious little with it. While he did not misplace too many passes, the Portuguese wing-back could not manage to pose a threat with his deliveries. Struggled to support Castagne ably either before being taken off by Luke Thomas.
Youri Tielemans: 6/10
As ever, Tielemans, along with James Maddison, posed the greatest creative threat for Leicester and delivered some dangerous balls from set-pieces as well. In the end, the Belgian was not as hapless as many around him, playing a game-high 3 key passes. Having said that, he should have done so much more in the defensive phases, with Newcastle finding a way past him quite easily.
Wilfred Ndidi: 5/10
Not the best of performances from the usually reliable Ndidi, who was overrun with ease by the rampant Newcastle United attack during their counter-attacking moves. The Nigerian midfielder, who has been linked with Barcelona lately, did not lose possession cheaply, but needed to do more to provide better cover to the Leicester defence.
Marc Albrighton: 6/10
Drafted into the started lineup at the eleventh hour after Evans sustained his injury, Albrighton did look a bit off pace and had some issues defensively. Lost the ball cheaply at times, but ended up producing one of the rare positive moments for Leicester on the night as he pulled a goal back with a peach of a long range strike – his first in the Premier League this season.
James Maddison: 5/10
The Player to Watch in our preview, Maddison started the game brightly as he was involved in the moves that Leicester created early on. Faded thereafter, though, and it was only post the interval that the English international showed any improvements, but that was also only a brief flurry, as he failed to alter the course of the game. Has to start stepping up.
Kelechi Iheanacho: 6/10
📊 Most PL goals since start of March:
1️⃣0️⃣ KELECHI IHEANACHO (9 apps)
7️⃣ Harry Kane (8)
7️⃣ Chris Wood (8)
6️⃣ Gareth Bale (7)
6️⃣ Jesse Lingard (7) pic.twitter.com/fhv4hQWke7
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) May 7, 2021
The in-form player in the Premier League, Iheanacho endured a frustrating first half, having hardly had any chance coming his way, although he was denied superbly by Dubravka. It was more of the same in the second half and he also earned a yellow card after frustration got the better of him. However, he made it 4-2 with a superb finish – his 15th goal in his last 16 outings.
Jamie Vardy: 5/10
A frustrating evening for Vardy, who was left isolated for large parts of the game. Did have one fine chance coming his way in the first half, but could not find a way past Dubravka. Managed to grab the assist for Albrighton’s goal, but he really needs to arrest his slump in front of goal with a telling performance.
Ayoze Perez: 6/10
On for Ndidi, former Newcastle United star Perez was one of several to be denied by the inspired Dubravka, twice. Showed a lot of desire to get Leicester back into the game and ended up providing the assist for Iheanacho’s goal. Not enough for a win in the end, though.
Luke Thomas: 6/10
On for Pereira, Thomas did not see a lot of the ball after coming on, but did create a brilliant chance for Perez with a deft header in injury time. Not tested one bit defensively, though.
Nampalys Mendy: N/A
On for James Maddison, Mendy did not have much time to make an impact after settling in at the back.