Leicester 0-3 Newcastle: Player ratings as first-half blitz sends Magpies second

Grey Whitebloom
Miguel Almiron, second from left, slotted in Newcastle's second inside seven minutes
Miguel Almiron, second from left, slotted in Newcastle's second inside seven minutes / Marc Atkins/GettyImages
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Leicester City slumped to a 3-0 Boxing Day defeat at home to Newcastle, shipping a trio of goals barely half an hour back from the winter hiatus.

Both teams cantered into the World Cup break in excellent form but Newcastle immediately rediscovered their zip while Leicester were daydreaming about their Christmas presents.

Newcastle's opener was certainly a gift. Wout Faes followed up a slack pass behind Boubakary Soumare by taking a heavy touch into the path of Joelinton. The Brazilian strode into the area before he was felled by a mistimed stamp from Daniel Amartey, winning a penalty inside the opening 90 seconds. Chris Wood battered the spot kick straight down the middle.

Leicester thumped Newcastle 4-0 when the Magpies travelled to the King Power 12 months ago. The petrostate-powered visitors have spent more than £200m on transfers in the intervening year. Leicester have coughed up £15m. Arguably Newcastle's most transformative acquisition in that period played an instrumental role in doubling his side's advantage after seven minutes.

Bruno Guimaraes pirouetted away from Patson Daka before spraying the ball out to Miguel Almiron's flank. Weaving in off the wing, Almiron rolled a pass back to Guimaraes before scurrying onto his teammate's perfectly weighted through ball, sliding his ninth goal of the season into the bottom corner.

It took two goals to wake the Foxes up. Nick Pope was forced into a swift smother at Daka's feet before Sven Botman slid into a goal-line clearance as Brendan Rodgers' side belatedly emerged from their bleary-eyed stupor.

Yet, Newcastle quickly quashed Leicester's whispers of a fightback, reopening the hosts' set-piece wounds in the process. The introduction of a dead-ball specialist to Leicester's bench coincided with a marked improvement but Soumare didn't even get off the ground as Joelinton leapt to meet Kieran Trippier's delivery, nodding in the first corner Leicester have conceded since September.

In the space of 32 first-half minutes, Leicester gave up as many goals as they shipped between October and Christmas.

Newcastle have conceded the most goals on Boxing Day in Premier League history but focussed on preserving their clean sheet after the break, intermittently swarming forward only when the opportunity arose. Leicester ended the game with two strikers but scarcely threatened after the interval, completing their first shot on target in the 83rd minute.

Pre-game, Eddie Howe insisted: “I haven’t looked at the league once, I genuinely haven’t.” If Newcastle’s manager treats himself to a furtive glance at the table after watching his team sweep Leicester aside, Howe would see the Magpies sat above the reigning champions Manchester City, occupying the dizzying heights of second place.


Leicester player ratings (4-1-4-1)

Leicester City v Newcastle United - Premier League
Leicester had a run of four consecutive clean sheets ended inside three minutes against Newcastle / Nathan Stirk/GettyImages

GK: Danny Ward - 5/10 - Could scarcely be blamed for any of Newcastle's goals.

RB: Timothy Castagne - 4/10 - Barely crept out of his own half, playing a notably subdued role.

CB: Daniel Amartey - 3/10 - Attempted a wild tackle in the opening 90 seconds which was about two minutes too late.

CB: Wout Faes - 3/10 - Embodied Leicester's groggy opening with a calamitous individual start from which he hardly recovered.

LB: Luke Thomas - 4/10 - Teased and taunted by Almiron as the youngster was overrun down his flank.

DM: Boubakary Soumare - 3/10 - A flimsy presence at the base of midfield, offering little resistance to Newcastle's surges.

CM: Youri TIelemans - 4/10 - Struggled to exert a significant influence on proceedings.

CM: Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall - 5/10 - Skirted around the periphery of the contest.

RW: Dennis Praet - N/A - The replacement for the injured James Maddison was forced off with a fitness concern of his own within 20 minutes.

ST: Patson Daka - 6/10 - Posed a nagging threat darting behind Newcastle's backline. Unfortunate to get hooked at half-time.

LW: Harvey Barnes - 3/10 - Endured a clunky, uncultured outing lacking in any composure or even a show of good close control.


Substitutes

Ayoze Perez (17' for Praet) - 4/10 - Flitted in and out of the game, struggling to find a gap in the blockade of his former employers.

Jamie Vardy (46' for Daka) - 5/10 - Brought his familiar dollop of devilment but little end product.

Kelechi Iheanacho (71' for Barnes) - 5/10

Wilfred Ndidi - (72' for Soumare) - 5/10


Manager

Brendan Rodgers - 4/10 - Despite lengthy spells in promising positions, Rodgers' side couldn't recover from a woeful start, lacking the guile sitting on the sidelines in the form of Maddison.


Newcastle player ratings (4-3-3)

Joelinton
Joelinton celebrates Newcastle's third goal with a nod towards a new arrival in the Brazilian's family / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages

GK: Nick Pope - 6/10 - Alert when sporadically called into action.

RB: Kieran Trippier - 7/10 - A key figure backing up Almiron down the right wing while offering a potent threat from set pieces.

CB: Fabian Schar - 6/10 - Ambitious - if a little wayward - with his passing.

CB: Sven Botman - 7/10 - Engaged in a physically full-throttle battle with Daka which he came out on top off more often than not.

LB: Dan Burn - 6/10 - Didn't open up his long stride regularly in a display focussed more on the rearguard.

CM: Sean Longstaff - 7/10 - The red-nosed midfielder energetically led Newcastle's press but was less assured when he actually got the ball.

CM: Bruno Guimaraes - 9/10 - Dictated play with a swagger, strolling around the King Power with a regal air. Off the ball, he launched himself into well-timed challenges which he celebrated fervently.

CM: Joe Willock - 7/10 - Always eager to scurry forward in support of Joelinton.

RW: Miguel Almiron - 8/10 - Picked up from right where he left off, starring on and off the ball in a dexterous but industrious performance.

ST: Chris Wood - 7/10 - Leathered a no-nonsense penalty straight down the middle to kick off Newcastle's restart.

LW: Joelinton - 8/10 - Despite never seeming to be entirely in control of his own considerable frame, Joelinton demonstrated supreme manipulation of the ball and the Leicester bodies that dared to get touch-tight.


Substitutes

Allan Saint-Maximin (83' for Almiron) - N/A

Jacob Murphy (84' for Willock) - N/A

Matt Ritchie (88' for Wood) - N/A

Elliot Anderson (90+2' for Longstaff) - N/A


Manager

Eddie Howe - 8/10 - Such is the quality of the Newcastle setup that the absence of Callum Wilson and Allan Saint-Maximin (from the start) was unnoticeable.


Player of the Match - Bruno Guimaraes

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