Friday 21 September 2018

Shelvey pulls strings to drag Newcastle away from danger

Leicester City 1 Newcastle United 2

Ayoze Perez celebrates his goal. Photo: Steven Paston/PA Wire
Ayoze Perez celebrates his goal. Photo: Steven Paston/PA Wire

Paul Doyle

Mathematicians could quibble but Newcastle United have practically banished the threat of relegation thanks to this accomplished victory at Leicester, their first away win in the Premier League since New Year's Day.

Goals by Jonjo Shelvey and Ayoze Pérez, before Jamie Vardy pulled one back for the hosts late on, took Rafael Benítez's side to 38 points, a tally that will almost certainly ensure they finish above at least three other clubs. Newcastle played here like a side that knows it belongs in the Premier League. Coming into the game on the back of two home wins, Benítez's team showed confidence and polish. They were helped by another sluggish start by Leicester, a bad habit that Claude Puel's outfit have fallen into in recent weeks.

The King Power crowd were treated to free beer and fireworks before kick-off to celebrate the 60th birthday of chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, but the home team were not supposed to be generous to the opposition. Leicester's early diffidence seemed like an invitation to Newcastle to take the initiative.

It was no surprise that Shelvey was instrumental when they opened the scoring in the 18th minute. After Pérez picked him out on the edge of the area, Shelvey used a foxy dummy to send Wes Morgan and Harry Maguire on a wild goose chase. Then he guided a shot past Kasper Schmeichel, with a slight deflection off Ben Chilwell.

Not until the 37th minute did Leicester show the class they undoubtedly possess. Adrien Silva was to thank for that, as he opened up Newcastle with a wonderful pass to Riyad Mahrez. As the winger wound up for a shot from 15 yards, Paul Dummett slid in and took him down - but referee Stuart Attwell took a lenient view.

Leicester were working up a head of steam but the visitors stayed cool enough to stop them creating clear chances. And then, in the 75th minute, Leicester's defence imploded. There seemed no trouble when Florian Lejeune punted a long ball forward but Morgan and Maguire looked slack-jawed at it as if it were an unidentified flying object. Their bewilderment allowed Pérez to dart in and send a 25-yard lob over the stranded Schmeichel.

Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez in action with Newcastle United's Paul Dummett. Photo: Peter Cziborra/Action Images via Reuters
Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez in action with Newcastle United's Paul Dummett. Photo: Peter Cziborra/Action Images via Reuters

Vardy stabbed the ball into the net from close range in the 83rd minute after a knock-down by Shinji Okazaki but Newcastle would not be denied a precious win.

Observer

Newcastle United's Florian Lejeune (left) and Leicester City's Shinji Okazaki battle for the ball. Photo: Steven Paston/PA Wire
Newcastle United's Florian Lejeune (left) and Leicester City's Shinji Okazaki battle for the ball. Photo: Steven Paston/PA Wire

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