Newcastle v Leicester preview: Magpies look to end six-game winless streak
Last Updated: 09/12/17 4:42pm
Newcastle will look to arrest an alarming six-game winless streak when a resurgent Leicester travel to St James' Park on Saturday (kick-off 5.30pm).
After making a solid start on their return to the Premier League, Rafa Benitez's team head into Saturday's game with Leicester having lost five of their last six outings - a run that has seen the club slip to 15th in the table.
Claude Puel, meanwhile, takes the Foxes to Tyneside looking for a third win on the spin, but the Frenchman is under no illusions at the tough task at hand.
"We have a lot of respect for Newcastle," he said. "They are a good team and have a great manager with quality on the team.
"We need to keep a good concentration and focus on this team. It will be a difficult atmosphere because there will be 50,000 people cheering them on.
"It's another good challenge. It's important to play a good game, to continue to work and to keep building our momentum and confidence."
Leicester have no new injury problems ahead of their trip to the north east. Demarai Gray will be hopeful of keeping his place in the team after scoring the winning goal in last weekend's 1-0 victory over Burnley.
Robert Huth (ankle) and Matty James (Achilles) remain out, with the former yet to make an appearance this season, and no date has been set for the pair's comeback. Adrien Silva remains unregistered until January.
Newcastle skipper Jamaal Lascelles has provided manager Rafael Benitez with a major boost ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash. The central defender, who has missed the last four games with a foot injury, is available once again, as is winger Christian Atsu after shaking off a groin problem.
Full-back Paul Dummett, who has not played since damaging a hamstring on the opening day of the season, was due to play for the U23s on Friday as he steps up his comeback.
Newcastle have lost their last three Premier League games against Leicester by an aggregate score of 0-7 - they'd only lost three of their previous 17 against them in the division (W9 D5).
Leicester have won just two of their last 17 league visits to St James' Park (D1 L14), though their last such visit ended in a 3-0 victory in November 2015.
The Magpies haven't failed to score in three consecutive home Premier League matches since February 2014 (a run of four).
Dwight Gayle has scored 25 goals in all competitions for the Magpies since his debut in August 2016, nine more than any other Newcastle player.
Jamie Vardy is one goal away from becoming the first Leicester City player to hit 50 Premier League goals. If he does score against Newcastle, he'll be the 12th quickest English player to hit that milestone in the Premier League (currently on 120 apps).
Rafael Benitez has never lost three consecutive home Premier League matches as a manager - this is his first home Premier League match in December since 2012, when his Chelsea side won 8-0 against Aston Villa.
Newcastle are not on a good run at the moment, and they really need a win here, but Leicester are a dangerous team.
Newcastle will have to go at Leicester, and they could be picked off, like Bournemouth did to them. Leicester have bought into Claude Puel's thinking. Jamie Vardy is back and Riyad Mahrez looks like he fancies it again. Away win.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2 (17/2 with Sky Bet)
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Newcastle are marginal favourites at 8/5 with Sky Bet, who gives Leicester a 15/8 chance while pricing the draw at 23/10. However, it is Jamie Vardy who heads the first goalscorer market at 4/1, with three Magpies frontmen tied at 11/2 to net first. Meanwhile, Riyad Mahrez is enhanced from 7/1 to 9/1 to net first in Sky Bet's Price Boosts.