James Maddison leads the way as Leicester demolish Newcastle United | premier league

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How Leicester City, mired in sluggish Premier League form, reeling from disappointment at their Europa League exit in Naples on Thursday and with their squad rocked by Covid positives and general illness, needed something to raise them. James Maddison provided it.

The playmaker had already won the penalty in the 37th minute which Yuri Tielemans gave them the lead – a little dubiously, it must be said – when he made a pre-assist of such quality that he not only shredded Newcastle’s bottom line but shattered their collective spirit. .

Addressing a short pass from Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall into the inner left channel, halfway up halfway through Newcastle, Maddison had seen Harvey Barnes’ run and done the math. With the outside of his right boot, he sculpted a ball for the first time that allowed his teammate to run clearly. Barnes faced off against Patson Daka, who was replacing Jamie Vardy at rest, and he did the rest.

Maddison was not finished, not by far. He took a low cross from Daka after Luke Thomas won the high ball before ushering in Tielemans for 3-0 and there was still time to get on the scoresheet.

Newcastle support refused to be intimidated but their squad were shattered and it was too easy for Leicester. Substitute Marc Albrighton won the ball against Joelinton and found Maddison, who traded passes with Daka, rounded Fabian Schär and shot into the far corner.

For Brendan Rodgers there was the bonus of a first clean sheet in the league since opening weekend of the season and for him and his team it was like a knack that they had been working on for much of the first half. Maddison would leave for a standing ovation when substituted in the 88th minute, plus a bear hug from Rodgers.

Newcastle won their first game of the league season last weekend – at home against Burnley – and it looked like an opportunity for them, ahead of games against Liverpool and Manchester clubs. They failed to take it, flattering to deceive ahead of time despite Allan Saint-Maximin’s best efforts – their repeatedly mediocre final decisions – before alarmingly capitulating.

Youri Tielemans of Leicester celebrates his third goal against Newcastle. Photograph: Peter Powell / Reuters

The score was harsh for Newcastle, given their efforts in the first half and, while the turning point was easy to spot, it was a source of bitter frustration for their manager, Eddie Howe.

The penalty follows Newcastle’s clumsy attempt to play from behind. Jonjo Shelvey – put in trouble by Jamaal Lascelles – took a big throw-in, with Tielemans squeezing and slicing the ball towards Maddison, who was too quick for Lascelles. He felt soft in real time, Lascelles was rushing but quickly checking the challenge; Maddison seeks contact, feels it, and descends. The impression was only confirmed by the reruns.

If the referee, Peter Bankes, had not made the decision, it seemed unlikely that the VAR had intervened. On the other hand, this was one of those that was never going to be negated by technology, even though Howe argued that Bankes should have consulted the pitchside monitor. Tielemans’ conversion was high and unstoppable.

“When you see the penalty in detail [on replays], you see the player pass before contact is made, ”Howe said. “It’s not a penalty.”

Before kick-off only three clubs had conceded more league goals than Leicester this season, one of them being Newcastle, and it looked like a battle of questionable defenses. Initially it was Newcastle who asked the questions and it was certainly not part of Rodgers’ scenario of losing Jonny Evans to a hamstring injury in the sixth minute. The manager was forced to drop defensive midfielder Wilfred Ndidi back as a makeshift center-half. The prognosis for Evans was “not good,” according to Rodgers.

Leicester had been nervous at first, giving the ball cheap and inviting Newcastle to settle in. There were flickers from the visitors in the opening quarter although nothing clear, and it was questionable if they would show the necessary edge.

Leicester measured their threat in the first half with set pieces. Maddison curled a free kick just above while Ndidi’s header from another Maddison free kick extended Martin Dubravka. The effort seemed to go just beyond the far post.

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Newcastle’s best bet was Saint-Maximin, who has this invaluable ability to get things done in tight spaces. But it was Maddison who made the difference, his pass that triggered the decisive second goal, a marvel. Daka’s tumbling celebration was as extravagant as the tap-in was simple.

Newcastle’s only second-half moment came when Timothy Castagne made a mistake with a back pass, not seeing Kasper Schmeichel was far from his goal. Schmeichel stepped back to scratch his line and it’s up to Leicester to turn the screw.

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