GW30 Preview: Leicester vs. Newcastle
Newcastle visits Leicester in what could be a match that defines both of the Foxes and Magpies season. Should Leicester win they continue to win over plaudits and roll on to claim the Premier League trophy, a Foxes victory would mean that the Toon only have nine games remaining to retain their Premier League status. Victory for Newcastle could see a turnaround in their season. The Hype Train looks at this intriguing fixture ahead of a reduced gameweek thirty which sees five matches and ten teams.
Fewer teams in this gameweek means a more methodical look at who remains and where the precious points will be, plenty of managers will be looking to buffer their teams with reinforcements as many teams are absent this week. Leicester is an obvious shout as they host a woeful Newcastle who has lost three straight league games. News that Steve McClaren is due to continue his tenure at Newcastle will also please managers hoping for more poor performances to guarantee Leicester points this coming Monday.
What about the match itself? Last time around McClaren called his own Newcastle ‘second best’ when the Foxes hunted down the Toon at St James earlier in the season. Key defensive players are also missing; Fabricio Coloccini and Chancel Mbemba may miss the game leaving Steven Taylor and Jamaal Lascelles to continue holding up the shaky defence. Meanwhile Leicester look set to continue with the predictable main eleven that has made them a roaring success this season, another pleasing bit of news for FPL managers.
Newcastle has only got three results away from home so far this season: a draw against Manchester United in GW3, a win against Bournemouth in GW12, and inflicting Spurs first loss of the season at White Hart Lane during GW16. All in all it has been a terrible season for Newcastle and the last place they will want to be in a relegation scrap is at the home of the top place team. It might take the performance of the season to come out this with points.
Here is how the teams have got in in their last five games.
Leicester Last Five Manchester City 1 – 3 Leicester
Arsenal 2 – 1 Leicester
Leicester 1 – 0 Norwich
Leicester 2 – 2 West Brom
Watford 0 – 1 Leicester
Newcastle Last Five
Everton 3 – 0 Newcastle
Newcastle 1 – 0 West Brom
Chelsea 5 – 1 Newcastle
Stoke 1 – 0 Newcastle
Newcastle 1 – 3 Bournemouth
More worryingly for Newcastle is the rate they are conceding goals away from home, it is common for teams to score more than one goal against them which will put smiles on faces of FPL managers who are searching for points. Here are the statistics that shows the stark difference between the two clubs performance this season.
Top Scorer: Jamie Vardy (19)
Leicester Position: 1st
Leicester Goals: 52
Leicester Conceded: 31 Leicester Goal Difference: +21 Leicester Clean Sheets: 10 Leicester Home Points: 29
Leicester Away Points: 31
Top Scorer: Gini Wijnaldum (9)
Newcastle Position: 19th
Newcastle Goals: 28
Newcastle Conceded: 53 Newcastle Goal Difference: -24 Newcastle Clean Sheets: 5
Newcastle Home Points: 17
Newcastle Away Points: 7
The difference of the clubs is almost parallel in contrast, one team riding the waves, the other trying to swim back to the surface. Leicester looks the team to continue good form.
During Leicester's visit to St James Park they secured an emphatic win over Newcastle by keeping a clean sheet and thumping three past Rob Elliot. Three different strikers scored, and each goal was accredited with an assist. Newcastle had fewer shots with more possession; with 54% possession they only managed nine shots compared to Leicester who peppered the Toon goal with eighteen shots with 46% of the possession. Of these shots Newcastle only managed one on target, whilst Leicester hit seven on target. Clinical. Gameweek 13 Score: Newcastle 0 - 3 Leicester Goals: Vardy, Okazaki, Ulloa
Assists: Ulloa, Mahrez, Simpson
Bonus: Mahrez (3), Ulloa (2), Simpson (1), and Vardy (1)
Leicester had been allowed to play their style of football to lethal effect against one of the leakiest back four in the league; it may be different on Monday with Leicester holding the home advantage. Newcastle has become a team that you can back against for FPL points, and everyone is keen to see another crushing Leicester victory. There could be plenty of goals for Leicester and it just wasn't against Leicester earlier in the season but it is glaringly obvious that the Toon have a serious problem in front of goal. Solely based on the previous result this season it would natural to expect another Leicester victory against a struggling Newcastle.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out why Leicester is ticking so smoothly, they are an incredibly well gelled team fighting for each other. In that team there is insane quality all over the pitch, the two biggest mentions of course go to Vardy and Mahrez who have lit up the league. These two players alone have more goals than the whole of Newcastle so far this season; it is stats like this which lets you better understand why they have been so pivotal to the Foxes success.
In this fixture there are points all across the pitch for Leicester in attacking and defensive positions, we expect Newcastle to concede and also not pose much threat to the Leicester backline. We have detailed four players in different positions we believe will be the best options going into GW30 if you are short of ideas.
Unfortunately no Newcastle plays make it into our selection of power players because the projected points yield is so low it isn’t worth listing any options.
Riyad Mahrez - Midfielder - £7.3mil
By now if you don't already own the Algerian winger then there are serious problems with your team. Mahrez has been an FPL essential since gameweek one and has been on our list of hype players since day one and looks to be going nowhere. The maverick midfielder who is still priced significantly less than other 'premium' options is always good for points and in the last five games has picked an amazing 35 points. Mahrez would be a great option as captain of your FPL team this week, in 28 appearances he has achieved double figures eleven times, and against opposition that have conceded plenty on their travels you would bank on Mahrez adding to his mighty tally. If you don't already own him, it is still not too late to change your mind.
Jamie Vardy - Forward - £7.8mil
The electric forward had a good return against Newcastle the last time round, he scored in the run up to his record breaking run of games. Vardy could hit his twentieth goal of the season on Monday and is overdue a goal. After obtaining 18 points in his last five games it could be viewed as a mixed bag for the England international. He is pivotal to the way he plays and within a few seconds Leicester can go from defence to attack with Vardy always on the run for more goals. If you are short on strikers he is a solid pick for a striker absent from the gameweek.
Christian Fuchs - Defender - £4.9mil
For a fourth straight week the Austrian defender is the wildcard pick for Leicester, he has obtained 21 points in the last five. The full-back offers returns at both ends of the pitch and could be on a for a big points return against a team that fails to defend from set-pieces and open play. Compared to top-end defenders he is reasonably priced and plays every game in a settled back four. The one big plus for Fuchs is that he tends to pick up lots of bonus points for his efforts which make the few to have selected him very contended with the defender. If you are looking for cheaper options Danny Simpson at right-back would also be worth the investment.
Kasper Schmeichel - Goalkeeper - £4.7mil
The last line of defence for the Foxes is their pair of safe hands in the big Dane. Kasper has been in incredible form all season and has proved value for money over the long run. Having picked up 21 points in his last five games he is considered to be one of the best goalkeeping options with Leicester's run of upcoming fixtures. The keeper also picks up plenty of save and bonus points which is always welcome to any team. Should you have a spare slot open for a Leicester play and short for a goalkeeper with the likes of Petr Cech and De Gea ruled out this week then Schmeichel is your go-to-guy.
On paper this is an open and shut case, the Foxes are expected to extend their lead on the top of the Premier League table with another victory over struggling Newcastle. At The Hype Train we look for obvious signs of traps, where points could be lost for teams and Newcastle offer something different due to their inconsistent performance levels.
Oddly, and contrary to belief Newcastle can turn it on against top teams, their performance is better against top half teams. The Toon has picked up points against Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester United, Stoke, West Ham, and Southampton; meanwhile they lose more points to rivals in the bottom half of the table. There are occasional upsets with Newcastle as they can rain on parades of in-form teams such as when Liverpool visited in gameweek fifteen after the Reds went to the Etihad and dominated Man City and Spurs who hadn’t lost at White Hart Lane. Faced with the prospect of relegation the threat of Newcastle comes from their pressure to stay in the Premier League, for all we know they could turn it on against Leicester and have eyebrows raised across the country. This match is significant because both teams have vital points to play for, one for success, the other for survival.
Newcastle winning this match wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has watched enough of this season to know the unthinkable can happen, that is very much the foundations that Leicester themselves have laid for others to follow. Looking on both sides of the coin this could be a thrilling encounter with lots of back and forth action, two teams gunning for their own aspirations. Newcastle has quality, but it rarely rears its head and that is the problem. Leicester has consistently displayed such qualities and they are top of the league in this amazing season. Looking at everything we know it comes down to who wants it more, and of recent weeks that team is Leicester. Unfortunately for the Toon relegation is a real prospect and it will be losing games on their travels which cost’s them so dearly. Recently we ran a poll asking people who they fought was favourite for the drop and Newcastle topped it, faith in the Tyneside team is barely non-existence which is why they will be backed to lose by FPL managers looking to secure more precious points.
Jamie Vardy’s party looks set to continue long into the night.