Forget Rafa’s contract for a second, we’re a few bad results away from being sucked back into a relegation battle.
We actually controlled the game for the most part in last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at home to Crystal Palace, but, in reality, you’re never in control of a game if you fail to take your chances, with our inability to convert at one end always leaving us open to a Palace counter at the other end.
Leicester are a good side who are in strong form – winning their last 4 and 5 of their last 6 – with them currently 7th and vying for a big finish to secure Europa League football next season.
It’ll be a tough game against a side full of attacking intent and quality, with us having to sharpen up at both ends if we’re to come away anything here.
The above line-up seems the most likely to me, buT I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rafa go back to a 4-man defence, with Dummett slotting in at left-back and Schar partnering Lascelles following Lejeune’s season-ending injury. Fernandez also has every chance of coming back in, having done very little wrong this season and waiting patiently for his chance.
I’d like to see Shelvey start, but he arguably changed the game for the worse against Palace, so it may well be two of Ki, Hayden and Diame in the middle for this one.
Preferred NUFC XI – (4–2-3–1) – Dubravka – Manquillo, Lascelles, Schar, Dummett – Hayden, Shelvey – Atsu, Perez, Almiron – Rondon
Here’s a few ‘ones to watch’ in Brendan Rodgers’ side:
Jamie Vardy – A bit of an obvious one, but he’s hard to ignore on current form. He has 8 goals in his last 8 league games and 3 in his last 2 games, with him bagging a brace and an assist in their 4-1 win at Huddersfield last time out. The major one to watch; especially with Lejeune out.
James Maddison – A brilliant technician who has lethal from set pieces; with him having David Beckham-esque delivery from corners and free kicks. He could be the key man to stop when it comes to the supply into Jamie Vardy.
Ben Chilwell – The left-back bombs forward and has real pace and drive about him. He impressed me in our meeting at St James’ Park earlier in the season and will fancy his chances; whether he’s up against Yedlin or Manquillo.
Youri Tielemans – The Belgian international arrived at Leicester in January and has had an immediate impact, weighing in with an impressive 4 assists and 2 goals from central midfield in his last 6 games.
Predicted Leicester XI – (4-1-4-1) – Schmeichel – Pereira, Morgan, Maguire, Chilwell – Ndidi – Gray, Maddison, Tielemans, Barnes – Vardy.
Florian Lejeune has been ruled out for the season after picking up another devastating cruciate knee ligament injury in the 0-1 defeat to Palace on Saturday. Mo Diame looks set to return to the squad after missing out last weekend, but Sean Longstaff will miss out again; although he does appear to be recovering well.
Harry Maguire looks set to return for the home side after missing their 4-1 win at Huddersfield last weekend.
Marc Albrighton looks likely to miss out once again but centre-back Jonny Evans is back from a hip injury.
They are solid at the back and dynamic in attack, having goalscorers, creators and pace out wide, so I think we’re going to be in for a tough night.
That said, it still must be seen as a winnable game and one we could easily get a draw from if we turn up, but we’re going to have to be much better than we’ve been on the road in our last few games to get a result.
West Ham are the ONLY team outside the top 6 to have beaten us on the road this season, however I’m not overly confident heading into this one.
With safety not yet secured, let’s hope the lads turn up and prove me wrong!
Prediction: Leicester 2-1 Newcastle
Howay the lads!