Leicester City

St James’ Park

Premier League

Wednesday 1st January 2020

3pm

A new decade will be ushered on Wednesday with the visit of Brendan Rodger’s upwardly mobile Leicester City.

The Foxes arrive on Tyneside in second spot, and will no doubt, more than fancy their chances. For the most part they’ve been a revelation this season, playing swift attacking football, with a decent defensive record to boot.

They have players throughout their side of high quality and possess a particularly strong spine. From custodian, Schmeichel and impressive new central defender, Söyüncü through to midfield star, Maddison and of course, perennial goal machine, Albert Steptoe up top. Their current high perch in the table is no fluke.

From mid September to December, the Foxes we’re unstoppable. They went on an amazing eleven match winning spree. During this period they humbled Newcastle 5-0 and went to St Mary’s, battering the Saints 9-0. They’ve only been held up in more recent times by a coupon busting home draw to Norwich and defeats by the traditional top two, Liverpool and Manchester City. Ominously, they fielded virtually a second string on Saturday v West Ham, and still managed to come away from the London Stadium with all three points. They will travel to the North East both confident and more rested than their hosts.

On to United…..

All looked ‘hunky dory’ a couple of games ago. At that point we moved up to ninth, with 25 points from eighteen played. We were also ten points clear of the bottom three. Since then, a pathetic display, culminating in a shoe-ing at Old Trafford and a narrow home defeat to a resurgent Everton have the doom-mongerers well, doom-mongering and many of us looking nervously over our shoulders again.

We were the victims of some simply awful refereeing at home to Everton. I felt that we were unfortunate not to claim a point from a pretty even affair. However, I’ll concede that overall this season, we’ve mainly huffed and puffed for our points. We’ve also (amazingly) enjoyed a decent ‘rub of the green’ throughout.

The problem here is, hard work will only get you so far and luck is generally a poor ally – apt to desert you, when needed most.

Injuries are suddenly mounting, and a glance at January’s fixtures send a cold shiver down Geordie spines. I don’t think I’m being over dramatic in wondering where the next points are coming from?

Adding to the lengthening ‘fettled’ list are defenders Schär and Lejeune. Also striker(?), Joelinton. We currently have nine out, many of whom are influential first team members. This would hurt many clubs, but it’s a disaster for us, with our threadbare squad.

We desperately require a few injections of quality in the January sales. I shouldn’t hold your breath, though. Mike is good at maths and doesn’t mind a gamble. We probably require another thirteen or fourteen points in the second half of the season (for survival). When it comes to sticking or twisting, he’ll more often than not, plump for the former.

Prediction :

I’m sorry, but I’m struggling to see how we get anything out of this one. Our visitors are better than us in every department plus we’re decimated and look a bit knackered. I think they’ll win 2-0 without getting too much of a sweat on. To get owt we’ll require a bit more love from Lady Luck and a continuance of my dubious scoreline soothsaying. Not much to hang your hat on, is it?

Anyways, enough of depressing NUFC for a minute. My advice is to enjoy your Hogmanay, forget about that cockney bastard for the night, and go get roaringly drunk with your nearest and dearest. Have a good one.

Until the next time….

Nick Clark

@Clark5Nick