While Newcastle might have been forced to settle for a 0-0 stalemate at home against Leicester on Monday night, Eddie Howe’s side did officially punch an emotional Champions League return at St. James’ Park.
Although the Magpies might have been disappointed after missing out on the chance to make another major statement here, Newcastle dominated large spells and largely didn’t have to get out of third gear.
Securing their first top-four finish in 20 years and met by a wave of emotion at the full-time whistle, Howe’s side have certainly enjoyed a history-making campaign in the north east.
However, while Howe’s men might have officially punched their Champions League ticket here, Leicester will know that a single point was not enough on a night when they had to muster maximum points away from the King Power.
Although Leicester might have snatched a rugged point in the north east, the Foxes know that they are seeking a real Premier League miracle in their bid to avoid the drop this weekend.
Now remarkably mustering just a single win from any of their last 16 straight appearances across all competitions, the former Premier League champions sit two points adrift of safety and are just 90 minutes away from suffering an infamous bottom-three finish.
On a night when Newcastle officially completed their Champions League charge, what did we learn from Monday’s showdown at St. James’ Park?
Newcastle complete what has been a famous campaign
Simply in a battle to extend on their Premier League status for large spells last season, few would have expected what has been an astonishing top-flight romp at St. James’ Park.
Although Howe’s record-breakers might have shown some minor issues when returning from the World Cup’s winter break, the Magpies have rightfully received a string of plaudits from across Europe this year.
While Monday’s 0-0 stalemate might mean that Newcastle have claimed just a single win from any of their last four Premier League appearances, it was almost fitting that Howe’s side officially punched their top-four finish with a clean sheet on home soil.
Gaining a real reputation for their defensive steel when opening the 2022/23 campaign, it is hard to understate just how impressive Newcastle’s Champions League quest has been this season.
Picking up some heavyweight scalps in 2023 and signing off April with what was a remarkable free-scoring flurry, fans around the north east undoubtedly find the mood in their camp at a famous high.
Now simply with their sights on grabbing a first bronze medal finish among England’s elite since way back in 2003, Newcastle have certainly cemented their spot as one of Europe’s ultimate surprise packages this season.
Howe has worked wonders with the Magpies’ underperforming stars
While Newcastle might have been hit with a financial injection when their controversial Saudi-backed takeover was confirmed in October 2021, Howe deserves a huge amount of praise that he has done with Newcastle’s original crop.
Although the likes of Sven Botman and Alexander Isak might have continued to shine since arriving at St. James’ Park last summer, it was Newcastle’s more established stars who have stolen most of the headlines this year.
While the likes of Miguel Almiron, Joelinton and Jacob Murphy might have come under a huge amount of scrutiny prior to Howe’s arrival, the former Bournemouth boss has worked wonders in turning all of their careers around.
Likewise, while the record-breaking Erling Haaland might have breezed his way to this season’s Golden Boot, Newcastle have their own attacking icon who has continued to spearhead their famous campaign.
Despite drawing a blank during Monday’s 0-0 stalemate, Callum Wilson has certainly cemented his spot as one of the Magpies’ most valued modern-day stars.
Notching 11 Premier League strikes since returning from March’s international break, the England international has quickly become the poster boy of Newcastle’s Champions League romp.
The Foxes are seeking a final weekend miracle
While Leicester might have put in a rugged display on Monday night as they clinched a 0-0 stalemate in the north east, Dean Smith’s side will know that a single point was not enough at St. James’ Park.
Remarkably managing to muster just a single win from any of their last 16 straight appearances across all competitions – a run that stems back to a 4-2 victory against Tottenham on February 11th – the Foxes have come under a huge amount of scrutiny this season.
Only seven years on from their historic Premier League success, the former Aston Villa boss now knows that his downbeat squad are seeking a final weekend miracle in their bid to avoid the drop.
Opening Sunday’s showdown against Europa Conference League finalists West Ham sat two points adrift of safety, Leicester will also be more than aware that even a victory could not be enough.
Knowing that Everton must drop points when they welcomed Bournemouth to Goodison Park, Smith’s side are just 90 minutes away from being hit with what would be the most shocking relegations in the Premier League era.
Only showing a string of issues on either side of the World Cup’s winter break, it appears that Leicester’s 0-0 stalemate on Monday night was just another nail in their top-flight coffin.
Newcastle: Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn, Longstaff, Guimaraes, Anderson, Almiron, Wilson, Isak
Subs: Gordon, Murphy, Saint-Maximin
Leicester: Iversen, Castagne, Evans, Faes, Souttar, Thomas, Soumare, Ndidi, Tielemans, Vardy, Iheanacho
Subs: Mendy, Maddison, Daka, Barnes
Yellow Cards: Guimaraes, Isak
Red Cards: N/A
Referee: Andre Mariner
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