After a much needed break, Newcastle United will resume their rather dull Premier league campaign, hoping to get 3 points at home against a promoted side and start things afresh. The magpies have yet to win a league game this season game so far, a win-less run of eight games that has seen them last beat a relegated Cardiff side 3-0 at home, in May 2014. With 4 draws and 2 defeats in their opening 6 games, that includes the hammering at St.Mary’s, manager Alan Pardew is walking a very thin line having already lost the backing of the fans – rightfully on the brink of a sack. His side though has yet to lose a game at St.James Park this season, something that makes this game and absolute must-win.
The visitors have been the surprise package so far in this season as they have managed to get some stunning results (3 D, 1 W) at home showing real promise and the will to stay up while the results have not been that impressive on road. Saturday’s game will see Leicester boss Nigel Pearson return to Newcastle – where he once worked as a coach and eventually took up the role of a caretaker manager, for a short period. His current side though will look to get a result at Newcastle, taking advantage of the negativity that has been engulfing the Tyne side and their supposedly clueless gaffer.
Injuries that saw Tim Krul (elbow), Daryl Janmaat (hamstring) and Paul Dummett (muscle) withdrawn from international duty, have all improved and the trio are expected to feature on Saturday, should come as good news for the Newcastle supporters. Speaking at Thursday’s pre-match press conference, Alan Pardew confirmed that Gabriel Obertan will keep his place in the starting XI – meaning that the Frenchman will start back to back Premier League games for the first time since January 2013. No time frame has been given for the return to action of Davide Santon or Siem De Jong, but Rolando Aarons may be available for the visit of Liverpool to St.James Park next month.
This international break has seen 11 City players away with their nations with two debutants in Harry Panayiotou for St Kitts and Nevis and Alie Sesay for Sierra Leone. Centre-half Matt Upson continues his recovery from a foot injury while Zoumana Bakayogo remains a long-term absence after an operation on his anterior cruciate ligament. But the Foxes boss will have to wait until Friday before he can assess wingers Riyad Mahrez and Jeffrey Schlupp, who will return from their African Cup of Nations qualifiers, accoring to the official Leicester City website.
Head to head record (all competitions):
Last three meetings:
City 0-0 Newcastle
Newcastle 1-0 City
Newcastle 3-1 City
Papiss Demba Cisse – Newcastle United
Papiss Cisse has popped up with crucial goals in a lackluster campaign so far, his two braces against Hull City and Swasnea City have come at the right time while some of the Newcastle fans would have hated him for scoring those vital goals that have bought the manager more time to sort himself out and find a way to get Newcastle winning again. He’s got 4 goals in 3 appearances already with a remarkable 2.7 shots per goal. A man in form, Cisse has not been bad at his passing as well with a 79% pass accuracy, a respectable figure which would only improve as he gets more playing time as the season progresses. His link-up play with midfielders will be crucial and so will be his ability to be clinical in pressure situations as these, if the men in black and white are to get their first win of the season.
Leonardo Ulloa – Leicester City
The Argentine has been one of the best players in the league thus far without a shadow of doubt, netting 5 goals in 7 appearances with several of them contributing to their lofty league position. He’s scored goals with his feet and head – a dynamic forward that never stops running and helping out defenders putting in a shift when needed. With just 1.7 shots per goal and a good 60% of shots on goal, the towering record signing from Brighton has created 5 chances for his teammates with a passing accuracy of 72%. He’s hit the ground running right away and having delivered in most of the games he’s played in, there is little doubt that he could hurt the home side and have a say on the outcome, when he is on his game.
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Newcastle United are struggling with issues both on and off the field. Nonetheless, this is a must win game for them and it’s high time they sorted their act and started winning football games. Taking Newcastle United’s long winless streak into consideration and factoring in Leicester City’s encouraging start, I just cannot see a home win on Saturday. A score draw is written all over this game.