Leicester City supporters have been pretty happy in recent times after seeing their side pick up two victories in the space of four days.
Claude Puel’s men got the better of Huddersfield Town 3-1 in the Premier League on Saturday to return to winning ways in English football’s top-flight, having lost to both Liverpool and Bournemouth in their preceding outings. And the Foxes also made it through to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup in midweek with a penalty shoot-out victory at fellow top tier side Wolves on Tuesday night, thus setting them up perfectly for their trip to Newcastle United this afternoon.
As such, there are many expectant and optimistic Leicester fans ahead of their team’s clash with Rafa Benitez’s Magpies today, what with the North East giants yet to pick up a victory in any competition so far this season.
Nonetheless, a trip to St James’ Park is tough for any side, and such is how resolute Newcastle are and have been under Benitez, Leicester’s hopes of victory again rest in the hands of £19.8 million-rated James Maddison (as per Transfermarkt).
The 21-year-old made the move to the King Power Stadium after seriously impressing at Championship side Norwich City last season, and while there were concerns among some that he may not be able to translate that form into the Premier League, he has quashed those doubts in the early stages of his Foxes career.
The England Under-21 international has bagged three goals in just six league games for Puel’s side so far and also has an assist to his name, thus meaning that he has contributed to more goals than any other Leicester player in the Premier League this term.
As such, it’s pretty clear that Puel will again look to the attacker to be the difference this afternoon, but even more so against a Newcastle side that, under Benitez, have proven difficult to beat in recent times.
Ultimately, while the Magpies have picked up just two points from their six league games this term, all four of their defeats have been by just the single goal – clearly, Benitez’s men are well-organised and defend well as a unit to restrict the opposition.
Thus, it will be up to the supremely talented and technical Maddison to produce those moments of quality in the final third to pull the Newcastle defenders out of position and make life uncomfortable for them – he has done it at times already this season, and will have to do so again.
And with his evident quality over set pieces, as evidenced by netting the second in their 3-1 win over Huddersfield last weekend, the 21-year-old will also have to be efficient with those as well, especially if the Foxes aren’t getting much luck in open play.
Clearly, this afternoon’s trip to St James’ Park will pose a tricky test for Puel’s men, but in on-song Maddison, they certainly have a player who can win them the game in the North East today.
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