Leicester and Newcastle United get back down to business in the Premier League on Boxing Day (3pm). The pair will do battle at King Power Stadium, where the Foxes look for a third successive league win. Can they come out on top? Or will the Magpies upset the hosts and maintain their own winning streak?
Prior to the winter stoppage for the World Cup, the Foxes has begun to turn things around after what was a dreadful start to the campaign. Brendan Rodgers has come under serious pressure, but that pressure was alleviated somewhat when his men beat Leeds, before trouncing Wolves on the road in October, scoring six goals and conceding none in the process.
After those positive results, they did lose out to Manchester City, but they played well and their defeat was a marginal one, so there were positives to take for the Leicester boys, who went into the break off the back of wins against both Everton and West Ham. As a result, they’re on the up and are now just two points off the top half.
For Newcastle, it’s been an excellent season, as Eddie Howe continues to steer the Geordie ship on course. The Magpies currently sit in a lofty third position, and it’s now been 11 games since they last tasted defeat in the league.
Before the World Cup stopped their flow, Newcastle United had won five Premier League games on the spin, and they weren’t just beating weak teams, oh no. During their five-game winning run, they went away to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and returned with all three points, while they also got the better of Chelsea last time out, winning by a goal to nil. Make no mistake about it, this team means business.
Foxes on the up
As touched on above, before the mid-season break, the Foxes started to get their acts together. Not only did they win their last three in all competitions before the World Cup, but they came straight back with a win last time out, beating MK Dons by three goals to nil in the League Cup. Sure, they faced inferior opposition on that occasion, but they got the job done well. That effort has allowed them to build some momentum ahead of this tricky fixture.
The way in which Rodger’s men have kept teams out in recent times is impressive, but their consistency in front of goal is perhaps more important. They’ve scored two or more in four of their last five in the Premier League. They’ve also scored six in their last three at home.
When Newcastle got that well-documented cash injection towards the end of last season, they were expected to improve, but not many people thought their improvement would be swift enough to propel them to third in the league after 15 games of the new season.
The Magpies are now incredibly hard to face, and not in a pragmatic tough-to-get-at type of way either. Sure, they’re defensively sound, but they’ve conceded so few goals primarily because they’ve dominated games and played teams off the park. Eddie Howe’s men certainly haven’t won in boring fashion all that often, recording recent wins of 4-1, 4-0 and 2-1.
Usually goes one way or the other
In recent times, when this pair have met in the Premier League, a winner tends to be found. None of the last six renewals of this fixture have ended all-square, and it’s Leicester who’ve had more success, winning four of those six. When the teams last met, though, Newcastle came on top by two goals to one. Then again, when the pair faced off at the King Power last season, Leicester won by four goals to nil.
Interestingly, at least three goals have been scored in each of the last six renewals of this fixture. Both teams have scored in three of the last four.
Goals on the cards
This is by no means an easy fixture to call. Both have impressed in recent times, especially from an offensive point of view, there can be no denying that.
At the current prices, ‘Over 2.5 Goals’ appeals. Let’s face it, the Foxes have been in excellent scoring form domestically, scoring two or more in their last four competitive fixtures, as well as in five of their last six.
The Magpies may have kept things more low-key in recent games, but they’re no strangers to scoring multiple goals, while away from home, they’ve been involved in a fair few high-scoring fixtures. Three or more goals have been scored in four of their last five away games in the Premier League.
Throw in the fact that this fixture has produced no shortage of goals in recent years, and ‘Over 2.5 Goals’ starts to really appeal.
Wilson will get back on the scoresheet
The World Cup didn’t exactly prove to be the most fruitful of experiences for Callum Wilson, but we shouldn’t forget how effective the forward has been for the Magpies this term. Back playing for his club side, the 30-year-old can get back amongst the goals. After all, he’s scored six goals in 11 matches this season, averaging an excellent 0.69 goals per 90 minutes. He also averages 0.70 expected goals per 90 minutes, not to mention 3.09 shots. So these are our betting tips for this preview:
- Over 2.5 Goals @ 10/11 with Bet365.
- Callum Wilson to score anytime @ 9/5 with William Hill.
Bradley Gibbs is an experienced football writer. He is an expert analyst on Premier League, and all global football leagues & tournaments, for Just Bookies. Bradley has been published by many respected outlets, including USA Betting and the Racing & Football Outlook. He has also written betting strategy guides.