Leicester 2-4 Newcastle
- Goals: Marc Albrighton (£5.2m), Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.3m) | Joe Willock (£4.7m), Paul Dummett (£4.4m), Callum Wilson x2 (£6.5m)
- Assists: Jamie Vardy (£10.3m), Ayoze Pérez (£6.0m) | Matt Ritchie x2 (£4.9m)
- Bonus points: Wilson x3, Iheanacho x2, Albrighton x1
NOT YOUR AVERAGE JOE
A 4-2 win at Leicester on Friday night helped Newcastle assets continue their string of impressive auditions for investment in the last two matches of the campaign.
Steve Bruce’s men face Sheffield United (home) and Fulham (away) in Gameweeks 37 and 38 respectively and can offer form as well as fixtures ahead of that appealing short-term schedule.
The Magpies have won as many points in their last five Premier League matches (10) as they managers in the 15 before that run.
Newcastle have scored in four of those five most recent matches, finding the net at least twice on three occasions.
“We were disappointed last week against Arsenal. But once the big players have returned over the last two months, I think we’ve lost two in 10, something like that. The performances and the big players getting fit makes a difference. We struggled a while with COVID, illness and people being injured. Them coming back has been the real major change.” – Steve Bruce
The 0.2%-owned Joe Willock (£4.7m) has been at the forefront of that, adding his fourth goal in six matches against Leicester. During that time, only Gareth Bale (£9.1m) and Jesse Lingard (£6.6m) have found the net more often.
The Arsenal loanee also became the first Newcastle player to score in four consecutive Premier League matches since Papiss Cisse in April 2012 (six games).
Any concerns about his chances of starting were put to rest by his Friday-night performance as he came into central midfield amid high praise from his manager, who looks set on using him from the beginning more often.
“We’ve brought in Joe because he deserves to start. He’s come off the bench two or three times and we like was he’s done.” – Steve Bruce, speaking pre-match
“We said before the game that he’s forced his way onto the pitch by what he’s done as a sub. He’s a really smashing young player. A wonderful return since we took him in January.” – Steve Bruce
Callum Wilson (£6.5m) is sure to also feature on the Fantasy radar ahead of Gameweek 37 after his brace in Newcastle’s Friday-night win and the fact he has now started two in a row since Bruce phased his return from injury with three substitute appearances.
The former Bournemouth forward now has four goals across his last two starts away from home having generally performed better on the road this season.
In 1,049 minutes at St. James’ Park, Wilson has produced five goals and three assists in 2020/21 while recording seven goals and three assists away from home.
Meanwhile, of the top-six best-scoring FPL forwards this year, Wilson’s total tally of 134 points means he has the best minutes-per-point (15.5).
“When he did his hamstring – being out for two months was difficult. That’s the same with Allan – you can see the difference they bring to the team. He leads the line for us with pace and power and he’s a huge team player too which is vitally important.” – Steve Bruce
“I’m just getting back into the swing of things with being injured for a while. Nice to get my second 90 minutes in a week. We’ll work hard next week and make sure I’m ready for the next game.” – Callum Wilson
Admittedly, there were a few mitigating factors that aided Wilson’s haul at the King Power Stadium.
Leicester were forced to shepherd Newcastle’s increasingly confident attackers without Jonny Evans (£5.6m) at short notice after he picked up a knock in the warm-up.
After his warm-up injury, Leicester retained their 3-4-1-2 shape but had to play Timothy Castagne (£5.8m) as part of the back-three with Marc Albrighton (£5.2m) and Ricardo Pereira (£5.9m) operating at left and right wing-back respectively.
Unable to rely on Evans’ steadying presence, Caglar Söyüncü (£5.3m) and Wesley Fofana (£5.0m) were more error-prone than usual, the former especially culpable on more than one occasion.
Meanwhile, Newcastle’s third and fourth goals came after Brendan Rodgers tried to chase the game by removing the protective presence of Wilfred Ndidi (£4.8m) to introduce Ayoze Pérez (£6.0m).
“We lacked concentration. If you do that against good players, they’ll punish you. Too many mistakes. We weren’t as clean as we could have been.” – Brendan Rodgers
“(Losing Evans was) very disruptive. We’ve always said he’s the brain in our defensive line He’s a great talker. With Caglar and Wesley, they are both fantastic talents but Jonny is the brain in there and he organises them. So, for him to come out was a big blow for us.” – Brendan Rodgers
“He seemed fine in the warm-up but 15 minutes before kick-off he felt discomfort. He’s a warrior so you know if he can’t even give it a go he’s struggling. We’ll see how he is and assess his availability.” – Brendan Rodgers
KEEN AND KEL
Despite Leicester’s slow start on Friday, Kelechi Iheanacho (£6.3m) managed to continue his impressive scoring run once again.
The Leicester forward has now netted 10 Premier League goals since the start of March, the most of any other asset. Meanwhile, the only player to score more goals over this period in Europe’s top five leagues is fellow Nigerian Simy (12 in Serie A).
Furthermore, in claiming two bonus at the King Power Stadium, Iheanacho has collected additional points in six of his last nine Premier League appearances.
Arguably the most impressive element of Iheanacho’s latest score was how he managed to get on the scoresheet despite a relatively quiet performance.
For the second match in a row, Leicester struggled to use their wing-backs to properly stretch the opposition defence and create for the centre-forwards. As a result, both Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy (£10.3m) spent large spells of the match dropping deep and into the channels to try and fashion their own opportunities which, of course, meant they were in dangerous positions much less than usual.
That dynamic will certainly be troubling for those still invested in the Leicester attack ahead of their last three matches of the season: Manchester United (away), Chelsea (away) and Spurs (home).
Leicester City XI (3-4-1-2): Schmeichel; Söyüncü, Fofana, Castagne; Albrighton, Ndidi (Pérez 63′), Tielemans, R Pereira (Thomas 69′); Maddison (N Mendy 77′); Vardy, Iheanacho.
Newcastle United XI (5-3-2): Dúbravka; Ritchie, Dummett, Fernández, Krafth, Murphy; Almirón (Hendrick 88′), Shelvey, Willock (S Longstaff 77′); Saint-Maximin (Joelinton 84′), Wilson.