The ‘Opposition Opinion‘ returns for another round of Premier League football, and this week we’ve been getting some thoughts from the East Midlands ahead of our trip to Leicester today.
Here we are looking to bring you a view from ‘the other side’ before each game, chatting to an opposing fan to gain their opinions on NUFC, some insights into their own side and their thoughts on our upcoming match.
Here’s our chat with Krystian from @FIRST4LCFC in the build up to today’s game:
Q1 – What have you made of your start to the season 6 games in? Keen to know the general feeling amongst Leicester fans ahead of this one..
“It’s hard not to be happy, if it wasn’t for the 1-0 away defeat at Old Trafford we would be unbeaten.
“I think the general consensus is that we should’ve really taken something away from that match so plenty of frustration in regard to the way in which we set up there. However, it’s been a strong start to the season.
“Rodgers seems to be instilling his style on the lads. So far so good!”
Q2 – Ayoze Perez. What have you made of him following his £30m summer move from Newcastle?
“In all honesty, not a lot. At the time of him signing, a lot of Newcastle fans did say he’s relatively hit and miss, but so far it’s pretty much been a miss for The Foxes.
“He’s spent the majority of his time out wide and has really struggled to make an impact.
“You can’t fault his energy but he’s yet to get that all important competitive goal in blue.”
Q3 – I’ve read James Maddison could miss the game. How much of a blow would it be if he he didn’t make it?
“There’s no doubt that he is a key creative spark in our team and most probably one of the first names on the teamsheet week-in-week-out. However, this could open the door for Ayoze Perez to play in-behind Vardy instead.
“Alternatively we could see new signing Dennis Praet given his first
Premier League start alongside Belgian teammate Youri Tielemans in a flat four midfield with a holding mid in-behind.
“Perez played as a lone striker in the 0-4 victory away at Luton in the week and certainly seemed more involved down the middle, but ultimately failed to score but did get an assist for Gray taking us 0-1 up after 34’.
“Praet is a cool operator who has thus far impressed, and could provide better balance if chosen to help control the pace of the game.
“Needless to say we have other players who can control the flow of the game such as Tielemans so whilst having that player who can really take the game forward and probe missing in Maddison, we should still have enough creativity to [hopefully] unlock the Newcastle defence.”
Q4 – What are the strengths and weaknesses of this Leicester side – both as a team and individually? Give us your key men to watch out for and any weak links..
“Our main strength collectively has to be the team ethic. Yes, this may be a cliché but ultimately it’s what helped us win the title and now Rodgers has us purring again.
“We’ve conceded the joint least goals (5) with Liverpool and there’s no doubting that we will be hoping to keep our second clean sheet of the season.
“In the absence of Maddison, I’m going to individually call out our new centre-back Çağlar Söyüncü. He’s taken to being Maguire’s replacement like a duck to water and dare I say made the majority of fans forget about the loss of Maguire.
“He possesses all the traits of a quality centre-back, and if he works on a couple of rash decision making traits he will be one of the Prem’s best.
“In terms of weaknesses to exploit, this is a tricky one. I’m really clutching at straws but I’m going to say the defensive capabilities of our attacking full-backs in Perreira and Chilwell. Chilwell in particular has been known to be found out on occasion and has to develop his defensive abilities.“
Q5 – What’s the Leicester XI likely to start today?
“In the absence of Maddison I’m going to predict the following:
“(4-1-4-1): Schmeichel – Perreira, Evans, Söyüncü, Chilwell – Ndidi – Barnes, Tielemans, Praet, Perez – Vardy.”
Q6 – What do you make of this Newcastle side and which players do you see as the strengths and weaknesses in our team?
“The most I’ve watched of Newcastle this season was your last game vs Brighton, and it was a disappointment.
“A few players who have impressed me..
“Dubravka – On his day can be the difference and has single-handedly kept you guys in games before.
“Schar – Solid international, continues to showe glimses of his quality at Newcastle.
“Almiron – Reminds me of road-runner. If he thought more about his end product he could be very
“Joelinton – A record-signing. Showed signs of promise. Given half-a-chance he could prove his worth.
“Maybe slightly controversial but I’m going to say your biggest weakness is a certain Jonjo Shelvey.
“With the ball at his feet he’s up there as a brilliant distributor of the ball BUT what does he offer in terms of defensive cover? “
Q7 – What sort of game do you think it’ll be and how do you see it panning out? Give us a prediction..
“Time to be sensible. You’ve beaten us at our place on your last two visits, both times being rank outsiders with the bookies.
“However, they were under the stewardship of Rafa who knows the game inside out and there’s no secrets he could face up against the biggest of teams on his day.
“I do see us winning 3-0 on Sunday. We have been known to start games slowly in the past, but this is something Rodgers is desperate to change and if the way we started against Spurs is anything to by, he’s certainly doing a good job of it.
“I predict a fast start and a goal within the first 15 minutes. Vardy to bag a brace and Perez to finally score… Eeek.”
Q8 – Which 3 sides do you see going down this season and why and where do you see Leicester finishing?
“18th – Norwich, 19th – Watford, 20th – Brighton.
“In an article I contributed to pre-season I said Leicester will finish 4th. I’m going to stick with it. You can write Man City and Liverpool off as top two, probably by a greater distance than last season too, but below that you have teams like Spurs, Chelsea, Arsenal and Man Utd who for one reason or another have their own troubles on and off the field.
“I’m expecting this to be the most open season since that title winning season and do honestly expect the top seven to be shaken up.“
Q9– If you could sign one player from NUFC, who would you like to see Rodgers go for?
“I’d go with Almiron.
“We are struggling with wide players since Mahrez left and maybe under Rodgers we could produce a tune out of him!?”
Q10 – Finally, if you had our two squads to choose from and were asked to pick the best possible side, what would you starting 11 be?
“I’ve picked him out a few times in this article. It’s Almiron, put him on the right instead of Perez and see if we have any joy. But otherwise I can’t replace any of our current crop with your players, sorry!
“Schmeichel – Perreira, Evans, Söyüncü, Chilwell – Ndidi – Almiron, Tielemans, Maddison, Barnes – Vardy.”
A big thanks to Krystian for answering our questions ahead of our game at the King Power Stadium today, with it promising to be a real tough test if their recent form is anything to go by.
Next time we’ll be speaking to a Red Devil ahead of Man Utd’s visit to St James’ Park next Sunday.
(Fancy writing for us? Get in touch at NUFCblogsubmissions@gmail.com & we’ll get back to you!)
About Olly Hawkins
Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.