MATCH REPORT: Leicester City 1 Newcastle United 0, 14/Mar/16, KO: 8pm, King Power Stadium, Att: 31,824

by • March 14, 2016 • Match reportsComments (22)3246

TRUE15 LUKE 1977 Voucher (1)



Better, much better. United were beaten by the Premier League Champions to be by a narrow margin in a game neither side deserved to win, nor lose. That United lost a game they shouldn’t have and Leicester winning the same – the comparative fortunes of each club were laid bare. Make no mistake though, the changes our new manager made have already had a huge effect.

Predictably leaving Northumberland 40 minutes late we set off in decent spirits with a variety of songs being adapted to fit our new manager’s name. No one was expecting a win or even a point. After suffering the McClaren era, just being competitive was the aim – to make a game of it in ways that we certainly didn’t at Everton and Chelsea. This time United and Benitez faced the hardest game in the league and there was always the possibility that this shell of a side could be done four or five in front of the watching nation.

The team started with the same League One central defensive partnership due to injuries and Colback at left back. Not theLeicesterawayMarch16 best. The rest of the team picked itself with De Jong and Townsend adding a bit of positivity on the bench. No Goufrann either which is proof that Benitez knows exactly what he’s doing. When the game began it was clear that Sissoko was to partner Colback on the left and Perez on the right. The only change I would have made from the starting eleven would have been Saviet for Anita. The Senegelese played OK at Everton in a dreadful side and has yet to really feature since. Strange.

The game started well for us and I looked up 10 minutes in and thought ‘nothing really to fear here’. Leicester are good though not great and they got the rub of the green a few times with their attaching play and United’s bright forays forwards led to little. Overall though, it was a performance that screamed organisation. The players all seemed to know their roles. Partnerships were evident all over the pitch and there was the graft that had been so criminally missing against Bournemouth.

A word on Leicester. Great story. Great manager. Average place and club. I’ve no beef with any Leicester fans but I’d rather they didn’t win the league. The drum. The goal music. The ‘clappers’. The flat pack stadium. The Nandos and Odeon being the closest place for a pint. Keeping the ball in the corner for the last 5 minutes against the second worst side in the league (try and think of any previous Champions doing that). The song book. Every club in League One sings the same songs with the team name changed. Not for me, thanks.

Still it’s around 20 minutes and United are playing well. Competing. Making it hard for once. Jack Colback doesn’t need toTFBadge give the free kick away. Mahrez is going nowhere (as he did all night) and Colback doesn’t need to commit to anything. Don’t give the referee a decision to make. 40 seconds later United are 1-0 down and the game is up.

We tried. Really tried but never looked like we had a goal in us. What impressed me was the amount of times we managed to win the ball back from Leicester in midfield. Under the previous manager we relied on teams literally passing the ball to us by accident. 48 hours.

The rest of the game was played on the counter attack – by both sides. Benitez’s subs were well timed and all made an impact bar the one made so late. A constant presence on the side lines, the new manager is a man who knows how he wants his sides to play. Better, most likely.

Like we have most of the season, we didn’t really look like scoring. Plenty of endeavour, little quality. Rob Elliot hasn’t made a save and Leicester are five points clear. 5 players playing tonight who wouldn’t start if everyone’s fit. Rob Elliot hasn’t made a save.

Better, much better.

ALEX HURST – Follow Alex on @tfalex1892 

Ahead of the game at Leicester we had our match-day Newsletter, The Special available.

Just click here to get The Special. Its really rather good. Its still worth a read after the game.

Make sure you don’t miss future issues of The Special by clicking here and signing up to have it pinged into your in-box each matchday morning.

Its absolutely and completely FREE.

Of course if you are in the mood for a much longer read, may we recommend our current issue of true faith. Issue 124 has been downloaded in the tens of thousands by you lot and the feedback we’ve received has been excellent.

Just click on the image below and you will be transported to Newcastle United’s number one fanzine and the most widely read, independent supporters’ led publication in the UK.

Its also absolutely FREE.


Related Posts

22 Responses to MATCH REPORT: Leicester City 1 Newcastle United 0, 14/Mar/16, KO: 8pm, King Power Stadium, Att: 31,824

  1. Bob says:

    The referee gave us nowt. I thought it was arm to ball but hey ho. There is no doubt they were the better team – passing, second balls, quick feet and speed of thought but for a change we actually put up a fight from the start. Mitro is still frustrating but the only alternative is Doumbia, probably worth a start now. Let’s hooe the improvement continues in a big way.

    • gjbnufc says:

      I agree, I can barely recall getting a free kick all game. The fine margins that contributed to the final result was a kick in the teeth, possible offside for the goal and more than worthy penalty claim. Playing for time after 20 mins, couldn’t believe it when only 3 mins went up, but hey ho.

      Leicester are on the crest of a wave and that provides the bit of luck needed at the top. Special goal won it, not sure we have that in the locker.

      Nowt in the game really, hugged and puffed and certainly an improvement.

  2. Steve says:

    Despite an obvious improvement Mitro is awful. I await to see the player people keep telling me is in there. Sunday is just such a huge game!

  3. mike says:

    eh? no shots no defence and the captain taken off!!!did doumbia touch the
    ball?? Shel worst ever just hoofed it up the pitch MAKE no mistake any team with SLOWTayor anita and Mackem reject Colbeck will NEVER win a game . DROSS.

  4. Tom says:

    My mate is convince that Mitrovic will be a real player for us….next season.
    I just can’t see it. Hold up play is poor,he is very slow and doesnt have a goalscorers instinct.
    I hope I am wrong but he looks another huge waste of money.
    Carr has spend £40m on Cabella,Thauvin and Mitrovic and none of them look like even average PL players.
    We have to hope we stay up so Benitez stays and takes over recruitment.

    • Mark Wallsend says:

      Tom I totally agree with you mate and I posted this on another forum. We need to find an alternative to Mitrovic quickly. The way he plays affects the entire team. I don’t know what that alternative would look like as we’re a bit limited as everyone knows but we need to find it soon. There’s a wet tea towel on my kitchen bench that’s more of a threat than him. Too slow to run the channels or in behind, wins no headers, no flick ons, never on the half turn, hold up play is one in four at best, doesn’t read the game, not strong enough, slow feet, no movement etc etc etc. He offers nothing. When players are not that technical or quick, the minimum they need to be is a nuisance and he’s not even that. Shola looked like Aguero compared to this bloke. It’s like playing with a traffic cone as your centre forward. For most of the team you could say there are better players in there that what they have shown so far. With him, I’m not sure we are not going to get the required improvement in 9 games. This for me, is Rafa’s biggest challenge. if we don’t sort this out we are knackered.

  5. Colin Mccabe says:

    I have to disagree on Mitro, I thought he had a v good game!! Yeah he gave it away a few times but a lot more times he managed to take it down on his chest and lay it off with either huth or Morgan on top of him. He also worked extremely hard and created numerous chances for others, notably DeJong and Gini..

    Overall the commitment levels were so much better as evidenced by Jaanmat and Sissoko both absolutely busting themselvs to get back on a few occasions and Gini winning the ball back numerous times.

    Should have been a penalty, Morgan leans into the ball with his elbow, would have been deserved aswell.

    • Mark Wallsend says:

      I’m sorry Colin, but you are clutching mate and stretching benefit of the doubt to the max. A natural striker would already be thinking of turning and hitting it, not laying it off. And it wasn’t even a clean touch.

      • gjbnufc says:

        I’m a fan of mitro, think the sticks a bit unfair to be honest. He hasn’t crumbled despite being thrown in at the deep end and still getting up to pace with the league. Ideally he would have been brought into it more gradually but we aren’t in that kind of luxury scenario. He’s clearing lacking confidence so will be interesting to see if Rafa puts his faith in him. Doumbia needs a shot as Cisse and Rivière cannot be relied on.

        I think there’s a player in there, he’s scored a lot of goals already in a young career and chances are scarce in this team. Don’t write him off yet

  6. tomb says:

    Poor game but on another day we would have got a result from that performance. Although it looked like we were on top that is their game plan to sit deep and spring the odd counter attack. We have every chance of staying up still even though some people have labelled all of the last 4 games must win. The next game certainly does fall into that category though with the norwich game being a must not lose. On a different note you have to laugh at the Arsenal fans publically throwing their toys out of the pram for not winning the FA cup for a third year in a row and they call our fans deluded. Yes they are a big club but they haven’t finished outside the top 4 for twenty years. Try a relegation battle or two. Liverpool arguably the biggest club in the country haven’t won the title for 26 years. Sorry I digress

  7. tomb says:

    Why is colback getting stick for being an ex Mackem player? I thought the lad was from Killingworth and opted to play for the club he supports. Venison and Bracewell another two ex mackem players weren’t bad for us either. I don’t think he’s a bad player either at least to have as a squad man but his performances have dipped since last year. Not bad for a free transfer though he’s not going to win us the league but not bad for free.

  8. Joe Hawkins says:

    You couldn’t fault the team for effort last night but that was about it !
    Leicester looked nervous all night which is expected of a team who can see the finishing line in sight.
    Although it was a narrow defeat we never threatened them and never looked likely to get back into the game at any stage.

    Mitrovic is getting some stick but he did try to hold the ball up and got his usual bad treatment from the opposition.
    He was never the answer to our goal scoring problems and should never be played as a lone striker because he is only a target man.
    The time has come to try and go to 4-4 f**king 2 to give ourselves a chance and play with some width.
    Go Mitrovic upfront with Doumbia and just sling crosses into the box for both of them and see what happens because it has to be better than what we have tried so far.

    Watching the team last night and I couldn’t help but compare them to the team that went down that day at Villa.
    Fast forward 5 to 6 years and it has basically come full circle with an ineffective squad who cannot win games and don’t really care !
    The similarity was frightening and Mitrovic looked like Viduka those years back huffing and puffing and getting nowhere.

    Mike Ashley tried to steer away from that time by driving down costs and getting rid of the big earners from the wage bill.
    In a strange twist of fate he has ended up right back where he started and achieved the same end by trying to go about things in a totally different manner.
    You should end up with a squad full of grafters with heart and loyalty if you go down the shoestring route a la Sam Allardyce at Bolton all those years ago.
    He had that for a while with Nolan, Barton, Carroll, Harper and that squad probably would have got a result at Leicester last night.
    He ripped the heart out of that squad through a row over money which is so much of the crux of the problem with his regime and it has slowly brought us to this point.

    Those players were the last who had something about them and we never looked like losing a Derby game but the bonus sheet row saw Ashley weed out “The Toonpuddle Martyrs” to disastrous effect.
    That ushered in an era which saw Ashley plump for young foreign talent which was meant to be bought to sell on like Arsenal were doing so the club could generate it’s income that way.
    Well that was the patter but in reality Ashley just wanted naïve impressionable young players who wouldn’t give him and trouble and if they were any good make him some cash.

    Newcastle have one more chance on Sunday against Sunderland to get a win which would stop the rot in Derby games but more importantly get 3 points which would give them a massive confidence boost going into the final games.
    Can they do it ?, From what I have seen it is highly doubtful and we could be looking at 7 straight losses in this game because of the way we play.

    Llambias and his five year plan speeches look laughable now because the only thing they are challenging for is relegation yet again in that time frame !
    Ashley is not cut out for football ownership and he needs to look at himself in the mirror and realise that it doesn’t matter which way he tries to do things it doesn’t work for him and he has failed miserably.

    • Anton says:

      Bang on about the similarities with 2009: this is not a lazy squad. This is a limited squad.
      Every Pardew, McClaren and Rafa has come in to try and mold it, rather than accept it for what it is and try to make the most of it. It’s like trying to fit a Ford Fiesta with go-faster stripes and low tyres – waste of effort and money.

      4-4-2 and “keep it simple stupid” is the only way to go with our lot.
      You cannot be finishing a must-draw game with the only bright sparks of the season (Shelvey and Perez) on the bench, while De bloody-injury-bingo Jong and Mitrovic are on the pitch.
      You cannot be throwing in an attacker with 4 minutes to go, while taking off the only man who can supply him with the bullets.

      By the way, if Pardew or McClaren had started with Anita and made those sort of substitutions, we’d have turned the air blue. And, seriously, we boo Gouffran and Riviere but we are ok with De Jong sporting the captain’s arm band?

      Let’s be honest, Leicester were not very good yesterday and we should have had a penalty, but it all amounts to another hard luck story as told by Pardew and McLaren over the last 6-7 years. We are still clutching at straws (“we only lost 1-0”) in the same way we did at the beginning of McLaren’s tenure (“we only lost 2-0 to Southampton, but at least it wasn’t 4-0 like under Pardew”). Unless we really go for it with players who have a bit of mobility next week , we can wave bye-bye to the Premiership.

  9. Peter Ward says:

    Let us hope Benitez can pull off a near miracle and a couple of the other teams implode! It’s all been left far,far too late and already some of the euphoric (at Benitez appointment) are already in deep despair. Can we survive? I hope so but wouldn’t bet a penny on it. I hope they have the riot police on standby on Sunday because this is a tinderbox game and then some! If we are relegated then what? Benitez has been given a near impossible task. He should have had at least 15 games but the stupidity of the incompetents running the club has left us with this latest of a long line of disasters. Imagine a scenario where we are relegated and Benitez takes up the break clause – which he will – then the fix we are in will only increase in magnitude. I doubt whether there would be any quick return to the Premiership.

    • Joe Hawkins says:

      Yes Peter every phone box and horse in and around Newcastle will be shatting themselves on Sunday lol

  10. david says:

    give it a chance we still have hope last week we didnt

  11. rich says:

    Aye true Peter, great appointment but too little too late in my opinion. I’m hoping for the best but fearing the worst. You never know Rafa may take pity on us and stick with us for a year if we do go down.

  12. Rob says:

    Bit churlish about Leicester there Alex. Closing out a game is the sensible thing to do no matter who you are playing and given this will probably be Leicesters best ever shout at winning the title they would be daft to do anything else. If we had have been more professional at closing out the last five minutes of games we wouldn’t have thrown away 4 points (and the title with them) at Liverpool and Blackburn in 96.

  13. Peter Shearer says:

    The effort was there, but scoring goals is hard for us. I think Mitro does have some good touches (not always!) but Perez is a more natural goal-scorer. Mitro does need better supply and in the box I think his presence can give Perez the chances. I am still trying to work out what Ashley is really planning here.

  14. Peter Ward says:

    As far as Ashley is concerned be afraid, be very afraid.

  15. David says:

    We have some hope now. Benitez’s appointment may well be too late, but I’d rather have him there at the moment than almost anyone else.