As Newcastle fans find themselves at the end of the familiar Mike Ashley cycle of hope, poor performances, protests, dwindling attendances and fictitious take-over rumours, they can only look on in envy as they travel to Leicester this Sunday and see what a properly ran football club looks like.
The running theme of Newcastle’s season so far has been disorganisation, ever since Jetro Willems mistakenly thought he was playing CM instead of wing-back in the opener game, and it’s rarely been much better since.
Although Steve Bruce has been held back by some early season injuries to key players, the shape and discipline of the team has not been what the Geordies have become accustomed to over the last three years.
But, with the return of Sean Longstaff this weekend, Bruce will again be able to employ his most prudent tactic and copy Rafa Benitez’s playbook.
Firstly, a big outside tip. Newcastle will shape up in a 5-4-1 and absorb pressure from Leicester so that that Miguel Almirón or Joelinton can nick a goal on the break.
They will be hoping for a repeat of their away fixture to Spurs last month, or the 1-0 win former Magpie Ayoze Perez got them at the King Power Stadium last April.
1-0 from a Joelinton goal is exactly what Newcastle should, and will be aiming for, and at 53/1 it’s surely worth a punt.
Leicester have flourished against top 6 sides recently because they play their best football in open games with other teams coming out to attack them.
Jamie Vardy might struggle to effectively use his piercing runs against Newcastle side likely to park the bus.
This means Leicester could be forced to take a lot longer shots, and the biggest shooter from range for The Foxes has been Youri Tielemans. He averaged 1.8 shots from outside the box over this season and last, and he’s been boosted from 9/1 to 12/1 to score from outside the area on Sunday.
The playing styles of both teams make me lean towards a low scoring game, but Newcastle’s lack of structure makes me feel like they could capitulate after conceding. Both Teams to Score (No) at 4/6 looks the best bet for anyone wanting a short odds winner.
Scorecast: Newcastle to win 1-0 and Joelinton to score – 53/1
Youri Tielemans to score from outside the box – 12/1
Both Teams to Score (No) – 4/6
* All odds correct at time of posting.