“We’re all going on a European tour” sang the Leicester City fans at the King Power Stadium on Sunday, and they could well be right.
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Brendan Rodgers‘ side won 5-0 against 10-man Newcastle United as they moved up to third in the Premier League table.
Issac Hayden was shown a straight red card just before half time to make it a tough outing in an even tougher season for Steve Bruce‘s Newcastle.
Leicester have 14 points from seven games, while Newcastle have five points.
3 things we learned
1. Leicester ready for the top six: Fans of the Foxes were singing about Europe on Sunday and you can see why. Rodgers’ young side have so many attacking options, and even without James Maddison they ripped Newcastle apart. They are balanced, defend well, win the midfield battle and have class on the ball to hurt teams in attack. As long as the majority of their squad stays fit, they will be in the top six all season long. The blend between youth and experience is spot on and Leicester, on paper, have players Arsenal, Chelsea and Man United will want. They could finish above those three aforementioned teams this season with Ndidi and Tielemans the unsung heroes in midfield. Next up: Liverpool away. That will be a true test as to how good this team is.
2. Newcastle in a whole lot of bother: Just one win from the first seven games of the season doesn’t tell the whole story. Newcastle have been totally devoid of attacking intent in most of their games (Joelinton and Miguel Almiron struggled again) and Steve Bruce has a huge job on his hands to turn this ship around. Despite talk of a new takeover bid led by Peter Kenyon, optimism levels among Newcastle’s fans are not high for this season. The red card didn’t help them at all, but it didn’t alter the likely outcome of this game. Newcastle will be in a relegation scrap all season long and their brilliant fans will have to suffer once again. Next up: Games against Man United and Chelsea. Ouch.
3. Vardy is having a party: Vardy has scored 14 goals in 17 Premier League games under Brendan Rodgers and the veteran striker is leading the line superbly. He sets the tone for this squad and with so many young attackers around him, Vardy looks reborn. Rodgers allows him to operate in areas where he’s at his best and the Englishman, now 32, is key to this European push. If he stays fit and in form, Leicester will finish in the top six. If he is injured or runs out of steam, Leicester’s European dream will be in tatters because Rodgers doesn’t have a direct replacement.
Man of the Match: Jamie Vardy – Two goals and a constant menace, Vardy gave the Newcastle defense a torrid time. His runs stretch opposition defenses and his finishing is lethal. He will get plenty of service this season and he is allowed to play his natural game. With five goals in his first seven games of the campaign, Vardy is well on track for another 20-goal season in the PL.
At the other end Newcastle had a few chances on the break and Issac Hayden’s shot across goal could have been diverted goalwards by Yoshinori Muto but the Japanese striker just couldn’t quite sort his feet out.
The Foxes took the lead via a wonderful solo goal as Pereira started the move and then ran almost 30 yards with the ball before rifling home a low shot.
Right on half time Newcastle were reduced to 10 men as Issac Hayden slid in to win a tackle but caught Dennis Praet high with his follow through, and VAR confirmed Hayden was off.
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At the start of the second half Leicester doubled their lead as a long ball played over the top found Barnes who then played in Vardy to slam home at the near post.
Moments later it was 3-0 as Praet was played in on the right and his cross deflected off Paul Dummett and in.
Vardy popped up in the box but missed his kick, while Pereira almost looped in an effort after fine work from sub Marc Albrighton as Newcastle were run ragged in the closing stages of the game.
A lovely cross from Albrighton found Vardy to head home his second and Leiceser’s fourth as the final minutes consisted of Leicester keeping the ball and Newcastle sat deep and hoping for the whistle to blow.
Ndidi scored in the 90th minute to rub extra salt in Newcastle’s wounds as the Foxes flexed their top six credentials.