After a dreadful start and yet another defeat away at Bournemouth, it looked as if Brendan Rodgers’s days were numbered at Leicester in early October.
Impressive 4-0 wins over Nottingham Forest and Wolverhampton Wanderers were a major factor in that, as was the form of James Maddison, who has contributed to 11 goals in the Premier League already this season – only four players have contributed to more.
Making light work of MK Dons in the cup in midweek suggests that Leicester may be able to pick up where they left off too.
Five straight league wins ensured their spot in the Champions League positions in time for the World Cup break, as they are unbeaten in all competitions since a late defeat at Anfield in August – their only loss of the season so far.
A very settled defence, including the new addition of Sven Botman, and the blistering form of October’s Premier League Player of the Month Miguel Almiron, have made Eddie Howe’s team a revelation.
Like Leicester, they also picked up where they left off by beating Bournemouth in a dominant display on Tuesday in the EFL Cup.
Leicester had seven players at the World Cup, but almost all of them had returned to the club following the outcome of the group stages.
Danny Ward, Daniel Amartey, Wout Faes, Timothy Castagne and Youri Tielemans were among the important players present at the finals, but all exited early and are ready to resume club action.
Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall is fit despite suffering a tweak in his calf during a behind-closed-doors friendly with Sheffield United, but Johnny Evans will be out for a while after an injury picked up against Troyes in their other friendly during the break.
Ryan Bertrand, Ricardo Pereira and James Justin all remain on the sidelines, while Caglar Soyuncu faces a late fitness test for this one as Leicester’s defensive injuries continue to mount.
Alexander Isak is still not ready to return for Newcastle, but the Swedish striker should be back in time for their hectic January schedule.
The Scottish pair of Ryan Fraser and Elliot Anderson should be fit enough to return to the matchday squad here, but Matt Ritchie, Paul Dummett and Emil Krafth all remain out in wide defensive areas for Howe’s side.
Possible starting lineup:
Data will be available at kick off time or sooner.
Leicester City = 35.0%
Draw = 21.8%
Newcastle United = 43.1%
Leicester City 1-1 Newcastle United
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