Leicester (H) Predicted line-ups, pre-match thoughts & team news

I’ll hold my hands up. I expected Liverpool to absolutely batter us and really didn’t see the players putting in that sort of performance for Steve Bruce.

I was pleasantly surprised by Wednesday night’s display, which was almost reminiscent of those organised, gutsy and energetic performances we saw from Rafa Benitez’s Newcastle United.

Yes, we rode our luck at times and relied on some bad finishing and Karl Darlow brilliance to get us the point, but it was finally a team that was set up with a plan. It was backs against the walls at times, however we at least tried to pass the ball forward an get bodies into the box.

The question is, can we build on that and maintain this high-energy, risk/reward approach against Leicester this weekend?

It’s a fine balance. Get it wrong and a counter-attacking Foxes side will break our press and get in behind with ease, so we have to be aggressive and give them something to think about in attack.

The midweek draw and much improved display was a step in the right direction after an awful week for Steve Bruce, so we must not sit back and revert to being that passive, negative and nondescript side that made fans fall out of love with their team and fume at the manager over the majority of 2020.

Team news

  • Allan Saint-Maximin – Still in France and a few weeks away after struggling with ‘long’ Covid.
  • Jamaal Lascelles – Back in light training after recovering from Covid, but Bruce has confirmed this one will come too soon for the skipper.
  • Ryan Fraser – Likely to miss most of the month with a groin injury.
  • Isaac Hayden – Suspended after picking up his 5th yellow in the 0-0 draw vs Liverpool.
  • Paul Dummett – Missed out in midweek due to ‘illness’ but has been spotted back in training so should return to the matchday squad.

Predicted line up

(5-4-1): Darlow – Yedlin, Fernandez, Schar, Clark, Ritchie – Almiron, S Longstaff, M Longstaff, Joelinton – Wilson.

OUT – Hayden and Murphy?

IN – Sean Longstaff and Almiron?

Martin Dubravka is fit again, but Karl Darlow won’t be losing that ‘No 1’ spot anytime soon after another heroic display in our last outing!

With Lascelles set to miss out again, Fernandez, Schar and Clark looks set to continue at centre-back. Some will ask for Bruce to revert back to a four-man defence, however the Foxes are devastating on the break if given too much space, so I see us continuing with a five.

At wing-back, the likes of Krafth, Manquillo and Murphy are all capable of filling in for Yedlin, yet the American was another who did brilliantly against Liverpool. He’s not played much this season so three games in 8 days could be a stretch, but his pace may be needed against Harvey Barnes if he’s deemed fit enough to go again.

On the left, Ritchie looked a bit more like his old self in Wednesday night’s draw. His lack of pace caught him out at times, meaning Lewis could be recalled against a Leicester side who could expose Ritchie on the break, however I’d like to bet Bruce will stick with the same back five that kept Salah, Mane and Firmino out a few days ago.

In midfield, Hayden’s one-game ban means his highly promising partnership with Matty Longstaff will be broken up. Their energy, pressing and superior fitness levels have been impressive and key to our recent success, so I don’t feel like Shelvey (who also has an ongoing groin issue) would be a wise Hayden replacement.

Hendrick is another who isn’t that mobile, so I can see Sean Longstaff coming back in and partnering his brother in the middle. He’s been sloppy of late, but his ability to press and cover plenty groin could make him the best Hayden replacement available to Bruce.

Out wide, I feel Murphy tired pretty early into the second half against Liverpool so could be replaced by Almiron, while our lack of fit wingers (ASM and Fraser remain sidelined) means Joelinton could be given another run out down the left.

Up top, Callum Wilson will surely get the nod and will be tasked to give us that platform to build on in attack after his movement, hold up play, pace and physicality caused Liverpool problems in midweek.

The opposition

Our ‘ones to watch’ in Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City side:

Jamie Vardy – If we continue to press and play a little higher up the pitch as we did in our last outing, we must pick up his inevitable runs in behind – because he doesn’t often miss when he gets through on goal!

Timothy Castagne – The fit-again Belgian is a marauding full-back who played more like a winger when I watched Leicester earlier this season! A bit like Matt Doherty during his time at Wolves, he makes a habit of arriving late in the box. He and Justin (their other wing-back) are two to watch in wide areas, with Harvey Barnes (left wing) also a strong runner who tore us apart in the reverse fixture last season.

Ayoze Perez – The former Mag makes his return to Tyneside 18 months on from his £30m move to Leicester. He’s struggled for game time at times this season, but has been handed the odd start recently and knows a thing or two about scoring at St James’ Park!

James Maddison – It remains to be seen if he’s fit, but he and Youri Tielemans are the pass masters in this Leicester side and capable of unlocking the door. Also worth noting that his set piece delivery can be wicked, with him also capable from distance if given too much room to shoot.

Predicted Leicester XI: (4-2-3-1): Schmeichel – Castagne, Fofana, Evans, Justin – Ndidi, Tielemans – Perez, Maddison, Barnes – Vardy.

Prediction

If we can show the same sort of organisation and intensity then you’d fancy our chances of another big result, but do we have enough left in the tank to do so against a Leicester side who not only come alive away from home but also rested several key players in their 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace earlier this week?

I don’t think we’ll be as passive as we’ve been in previous home games, however I do fear our pressing and energy levels without Hayden will drop by 10-20% – and that could prove costly against a devastating Leicester attack who come alive on the break.

Let’s hope Steve Bruce and the 11 he selects this Sunday prove me wrong once again and give us a positive start to 2021!

PredictionNewcastle 1-2 Leicester

HWTL!

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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.

44 thoughts on “Leicester (H) Predicted line-ups, pre-match thoughts & team news

  1. Looks like Big Fat Sam has an uphill battle at West Brom. He was so smug after that Liverpool game. Just a pity that Arsenal are coming into form before we play them twice.

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  2. Bif Fat Sam really is a c0ck. He called Arsenal relegation rivals. Does anybody except the odd idiot on Arsenal Fan TV think they are in danger of being relegated. They had a drop off in form coinciding with Aubamayang’s slow start. But remember they won the FA Cup against Chelsea, beating City in the semi. They then beat Liverpool in the Community Shield.

    They supposedly have some good kids coming through and they have the money to buy a couple of difference makers. They may not be top 4 but “relegation rival” Fat Sam!

    The Baggies fans seem like a good bunch and they dont deserve Allardyce. Probably the only way to get rid of him is to get relegated. That would take that off his CV and would be a massive fall from grace for the Smug One after Managing England only a few years ago. He can drown his sorrows with a couple of pints of wine. His pundit pals would make the excuses though. They would be right if they said West Brom have 1 of the worst 2 squads in the league but Fat Sam bet on himself that he could work with it.

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  3. Olly’s team is probably close although I think Joelinton needs a rest and I think Almiron might play there with Murphy keeping his place. The big question for me is does Bruce still trust Sean Longstaff after his mistakes cost us a couple of goals? I would have him as sub at best. He does not offer enough at the moment to make up for his lapses in judgement. He is not the type of player to dribble out of his own box. He is better keeping it simple.

    I am really on the fence about Sean. Was he really that good when he first got into the team or did we see him with rose tinted glasses because he is a Geordie? The Man U interest says he was good but he has shown very few glimpses of quality since his injury. Did he ever play for the England youth or U21/23 teams?

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  4. Watching Arsenal slaughter West Brom. Not wanting to look beyond Leicester but I am very worried about Arsenal. They have added Tierney, Smith-Rowe and Saka to Lacazette and Aubabyang. By the end of the year their crazy fans will be asking Mezut who? I might have to amend my thoughts on them not finishing top 4. They are capable of going on a winning run and Spurs, Chelsea, Leicester and Man U are capable of fcking up.

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  5. As Arsenal’s 4th went in I realised that last time they went down they had Pards and Ugly John. Now they have Big Fat Sam. Having seen all 3 up close I am heartily sorry for all Baggies fans. They are not even half way through the season and they have to put up with another 21 games of anti-football.

    Still, we have Bruce so my sympathies are also with us. Can you believe the “managers” we have had under Ashley? JFK and McClaren. Shearer had no experience, not even as a coach. Remember he had to get an exception to even get the job because he didnt have his coaching badges. Then he brought in Ian Dowie FFS.

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  6. kimtoon:
    Think Leicester will be a tough game, would be happy with a point tbh.

    I read some of their fans’ comments in The Mag and they seem to be taking this for granted. I dont blame them but when you feel entitled it has a habit of biting you on the ar$e.

    As Vardy gets older he looks more and more like Albert Steptoe. I wonder if Sharpy and Olly, who are a few years younger even know who Albert Steptoe is 🙂

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  7. I dont want to play this Arsenal team. They are a central defender and centre mid from top 4. I will make a prediction that Auba will find his shooting boots against us. He is too good a player to lose form for a long time. Their youngers look better than the players they replaced.

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  8. There’s talk of us looking to loan Choundry from Leceister – I hope that comes off with an option to buy.
    I think he’s a quality young midfielder who’s been unlucky not to get more game time with Leceister.

    Him & Jetro would be good additions imo.

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  9. How’s the vaccine rollout going over there. It sucks here. They promised 20 million inoculated by the end of the year and deliver 2 million. There is not central coordination and Trump has not provided the States with any money to provide this additional much needed service. Everything he touches turns to sh!t. Then you have some Trump Mini-Me’s like the Governor of Florida.

    I am sure most of you know that there are many retirees in FL because of the warm weather. It seems logical that you would give the most needy the first jabs – so that would be care homes, elderly (and there are many over 80) and those with pre-existing conditions. You would also target the workers in hospitals and those giving out the jabs.

    What does mini-me do? Says all over 65 get it on a first come first served basis. Now you have lines of Geriatrics in cars and on lawn chairs waiting hours if not days. They just do not have a clue and every decision they make is worse than the last one.

    I see the Fulham game is off again.

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  10. I reckon if Hendrick is fit and not fatigued he will start. I just would not trust Longstaff the taller. We have given him a free ride. He has been absolutely crap but if he does a couple of decent things in a game then some fans rave about it. There has been a very low bar set for Sean Longstaff and even that has been too much for him. He needs to prove himself as a sub before he ever starts again. Better still, loan a centre mid as we desperately need one and give him and Shelvey time to think. I wouldnt play either against Arsenal either. We will be overrun.

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  11. Ed Harrison has lost the plot. He says we dont need another central midfielder. Of course we do. We desperately need a box to box type. We dont have one. Look at what we have and tell me we cannot upgrade all of these:

    Matty: has played 2 games

    Sean: has had one decent game in 18 months

    Hendrick: who knows? Can he play central midfield?

    Hayden: a defensive mid and needs a partner who plays further forward.

    Shelvey: plays 1 good game in 5. We are not suited to his quarterback tendencies when we play 1 up front. It is a very low percentage game which is why we cannot rely on Jonjo Hollywood. He is capable of brilliance but it is low percentage.

    Am I missing anybody? Not even sure if any of these would start for West Brom, Fulham or Sheffield. Jury out on Matty and Hayden is decent. Is he top half though, I dont know?

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  12. You cannot tell me that if we put Gary Speed or Rob Lee in this current team that it would not get us 4 or 5 more wins in a season. I know that is pie in the sky but I am illustrating a point 🙂 Hell, I think Joey Barton would get us a couple more wins in between sendings off. Imagine Joey with VAR, would he ever play 🙂

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  13. Sharpy17:
    There’s talk of us looking to loan Choundry from Leceister – I hope that comes off with an option to buy.
    I think he’s a quality young midfielder who’s been unlucky not to get more game time with Leceister.

    Him & Jetro would be good additions imo.

    isn’t he the lad who crocked Ritchie ❓

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  14. Olly got the team spot on. I still dont know why we are playing Sean Longstaff. Hope he proves my doubts wrong.

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  15. Kim – I’d take Ices word for it. I honestly can’t remember 😳🤷🏼‍♂️.

    I just remember watching him a few times and being quite impressed.

    If it were him or Bentalab though, I wouldn’t mind upsetting Ritchie a bit 😂

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  16. Ball hit the Ref 3 times. Needs to get some advice from Mike Dean when he does his Balletic leaps over the ball.

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  17. Eric, I’d work hard if I was playing. We’d be a better team with anybody in instead of him. He truly is the worst striker I’ve seen at NUFC

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  18. Teilemans has been really wasteful as well. Cancels out Joelinton to make it 10 against 10.

    Sean has been absent so far.

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  19. 40% possession which is a bit more than usual. Thought Almiron and the defense have done well. Wilson better watch himself as i think Schmiekel wants to take him out.

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  20. Bruce will justify his awful tactics by saying they scored after we had attacked.

    Well, Steve, this progress you talk about really is slower than you’d like. It’s in reverse.

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  21. Well I am shocked! Exactly the same performance as every other game we have played under Bruce

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  22. Andy Carroll? Why even have Gayle on the bench? Shelvey has a good relationship with Gayle so try that FFS.

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  23. Well, it wasnt that terrible.

    My holiday fixtures expectation was 13 against 2 for and no points.

    I suppose a point and only 4 against is a bonus.

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  24. As Pep said we now know which City players have Covid. Looking at the teams now they seem evenly matched if Werner can find his shooting boots.

    The commentators over here were saying ours was a decent game. Really? I thought it was scrappy but at least we didnt have 10 behind the ball for 90 mins. I think we even broke the 40% possession barrier.

    Strange subs by Bruce. You need a goal and you have Gayle on the bench. I know Carroll scored but that is his 1st since April 2018. That’s more than 2 and half years. Usually we brig Carroll on to defend corners.

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  25. Oh well, that’s another 90 mins I will not get back. Only good thing was Andy finally getting his goal, and a good one at that. We never looked in it. We just cannot pass the ball to each other. Murphy made a difference when he came on but too late. Leicester are a good side, within fast players and a decent manager! We are not good, too slow and have a really sh.it manager. No contest really.

    Liverpool were complacent and sloppy. That’s the only reason we got a point. Normal service resumed today.

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  26. Okay, I’m going to try and keep some perspective on this – Leceister have the best away record of any club in the league – 19 points away from home (22 now) – and are a good team with top players.

    That said, we offered very little at all today – especially up top.

    Joelinton was poor again – but Almiron was truly hopeless as well.

    Midfield was – Sean ran a lot but I’m not sure he touch the ball much, and certainly didn’t put a tackle in.
    Matty – ok on the ball, but I reckon I can run fast than the lad 😳.

    Gayle must be leaving in Jan. If he can’t get on today & his contract is up at the end of the season I think.

    Bruce bangs on about how much he rates him and that he tried to sign him twice before – then continues not to play him.

    I actually think his pace would have caused Leicester problems today – especially later in the game.

    We desperately need new players in now imo, if for no other reason than to lift the players through a really difficult run of games.

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  27. We have to give Gayle a 2 year extension. We need cover for Wilson and hopefully they can play a few games together. Sean has to be dropped and will be for Hayden to return. Didnt realise Matty is as slow as he is but he is still better than Sean who needs to be sent out on loan and replaced with a loan of our own.

    Joe has to be on the bench. Any promising move we had was stopped as the ball bounced off him. He falls over quite a lot as well, I thought I was watching a bigger Ayoze Perez.

    Wilson was getting no service and had to go to the wings. That takes him out of the box and makes no sense. If you are chasing the game and know that Leicester are a fast counter attack team why bring on the slowest player at the club – Shelvey. And if you do, at least give him the one player he is proven to like to play with – Gayle.

    As usual, some very odd decisions by the Corbridge Cabbage.

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  28. Going back to Ed Harrison who says we dont need a new central midfielder. I think he must have his Geordie homegrown glasses on because Matty has shown little and Sean has shown nothing. That leaves Hendrick, Hayden and Shelvey. That’s bottom 6 quality.

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  29. Watched it while eating lunch, not the worst i have seen us but we really offer nothing in truth. Midfield getting bypassed and carrying a couple of players as well.
    Andy’s goal was good though.

    We have a few running down their contracts now, don’t normally allow so many to do that, either Mike expects new owners by the summer and then it’s their issue or he wants wages off the bill ready for our visit to the championship 😉

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