Newcastle United require just a point from the final Monday Night Football fixture of the season to secure a place in the Champions League. Leicester City need a win to climb out of the relegation zone with the former Premier League winners staring down the barrel of relegation. The stakes couldn’t be higher at St James’ Park as broadcaster Kieran Burke previews the game for us.
NEWCASTLE v LEICESTER – 8.00, Sky Sports – Double The Odds First Goalscorer
Having overcome a potentially tricky task against fellow European chasers Brighton this day last week, Newcastle United will again be hoping the St James’ Park crowd can help push them over the line and into the Champions League for the first time in two decades.
Only Liverpool and Arsenal have emerged from the home of the Geordies with three points this season and with Leicester City currently on a seven game winless run away from the King Power this looks an almost ideal fixture for the Toon to complete their top four mission.
Tonight marks the third meeting between the two sides this season with Newcastle dumping Leicester City out of the EFL Cup after a 2-0 win at St James’ while they also won the reverse league meeting 3-0. In fact Newcastle have won their last three H2H’s against the Foxes and another win tonight will leave Leicester on the brink of relegation just seven years on from their extraordinary title win.
Newcastle’s run of nine games without a clean sheet will give Leicester hope that they can hurt the home side but the Foxes sequence of scoring in five consecutive games came to an end last time out in the 3-0 home defeat against Liverpool.
Sunday’s home game against West Ham looks a far better opportunity for Leicester to claim three points with the Londoners already focusing on the Europa Conference League Final. Even a win on the final day of the season may not be enough to keep Leicester up though, they’ll be looking for favours from Bournemouth (v Everton) and Tottenham (v Leeds).
Back to tonight’s game, Callum Wilson has been in immense goal scoring form of late with the England striker scoring 8 in his last 6 matches and as a result is 5/2 to score first in this Double The Odds First Goalscorer contest.
Worryingly for Eddie Howe, he could be without a number of key players tonight through injury with midfielder Joe Willock definitely ruled out while there are doubts over Sean Longstaff, while Joelinton, Jacob Murphy and Kieran Trippier.
Leicester have been without Nigerian striker Kelechi Iheanacho for their last four matches but he may be set for a return this evening and had scored in consecutive games against Man City and Wolves just before his injury.
Caglar Soyuncu remains unavailable due to a hamstring injury while Danny Ward, Jannik Vestergaard and James Justin are also still on the sidelines.
Leicester have scored more goals than any team in the bottom half but their defence is the reason they find themselves in such a perilous situation. The pressure that the St James’ crowd will apply here could see Leicester cave, especially given their poor away record this season (lost 12/18 away).
BEST BET: Newcastle win & BTTS (8/5)