Leicester outfoxed by Rafa masterclass.
Newcastle United all but secured another season in the Premier League tonight with a vital three points against a Leicester team who’d won their previous 4 games.
A superb header from Perez just after the half hour mark was enough to Rafa’s men after another masterminded performance from the Spaniard and his charges.
United were good value for their win too, and could have won by more, restraining the Foxes to just one real chance all game which Vardy duly put over the bar.
The result leaves the Magpies 13th in the table before this weekends fixtures, a point total that already eclipses that achieved in the 15/16 regulation season.
STARTING XI: Dubravka, Manquillo, Lascelles, Schar, Dummett, Ritchie, Hayden, Ki (Diame, 82), Pérez, Almirón (Atsu, 78), Rondón
United had taken this one by the scruff of the neck from the first whistle. And whilst the Foxes would enjoy more than 70% of possession on the night, much of what the home side would manage would be impotent against Rafa’s well organised and spirited side.
As early as the first minute Newcastle would make their intentions clear. Compact at the back for devastating moving forward, with pace and power, an early corner would see a Lascelles header saved.
That same direct approach would lead to Newcastle gaining a free kick on just 15 minutes. And from fully 30 yards Rondon would hit a direct strike at goal that would beat Schmeichel all ends up only to smack the under side of the bar and bounce back into play and to safety. An unbelievable strike.
Almiron and Rondon would see further attempts come to nothing before the breakthrough.
A run to the byeline and a wonderful whipped cross, by Man Of the Match Matt Ritchie, would be met by the glancing head of Perez, his attempt curling over the Leicester keeper and into the unguarded goal. His third headed goal of the season, and a peach at that, with 32 minutes on the clock.
The home side would continue to dominate the play but offer little to nothing going forward despite the threat of in form Maddison, Gray, Tielemans and Vardy.
Into the second half and it was more of the same. United threatening on the break and Leicester offering little. Almiron would see another couple of decent attempts come and go.
It would take until the last 10 minutes for the home side to finally expert any kind of pressure on the Magpies goal. Vardy with a decent effort to flick over Dubravka would also clear the bar after a lovely ball by Thielemans. Whilst Leicester would also have a half shout for a late penalty waved away by Chris Kavanagh.
A wonderful three points and only Newcastle United’s third away of the season. Timely indeed.