Leicester City vs Newcastle UnitedEnglish Premier League, KO: 20:00 Apr 12, 2019, King Power Stadium
SIX weeks on from his shock departure from Scottish football it’s already clear to see why Leicester City splashed out a reported £9m to secure the services of Brendan Rodgers.
The former Celtic boss has made an immediate impact at the King Power Stadium and is now aiming for his fifth successive Premier League victory on Friday night when his high-flying Foxes face Newcastle United.
Leicester's latest success came last Saturday when they battered basement boys Huddersfield 4-1 at the John Smith's Stadium.
The Foxes fine form since Rodgers appointment now sees his side sitting 7th in the table and very much in contention to be the “best of the rest” outside of the Premier League’s resident top six.
Jamie Vardy scored two of his sides four goals as Leicester ran riot against the relegated Terriers. That weekend brace now has Vardy up to 15 goals for the season. It’s hardly surprising the Leicester City talisman's recent form has coincided with Rodgers inspiring the Foxes surge up the Premier League table.
Only Sergio Aguero has more Premier League goals in 2019 than Vardy, with the Leicester No.9 having struck seven times in his last six matches. In doing so Vardy has impressively bagged half of the 14 goals the Foxes have netted in their last six games.
Having scored in this fixture last season as well as finding the net in the north east against the Magpies earlier on in this campaign, Vardy will fancy his chances of inflicting further woe on the Geordies at the King Power.
To that end the Foxes frontman is the bookies favourite to be the first goalscorer on Friday night and can be backed at 15/4 (bet365) to do so. However, given his short odds to strike first, I prefer the look of the safer option of backing Vardy to score anytime at 6/5 (bet365).
Staying in the anytime goalscorer market young midfielder Youri Tielemans may also be worth backing to score on Friday night. The gifted Belgian, on loan from Monaco, has flourished since his January arrival and has notably registered either a goal or an assist in all of his appearances under Rodgers' stewardship. With two goals in his last four outings, the talented Tielemans may also be worth backing to score anytime at 3/1 (bet365)
As Leicester go in search of a fifth straight success, Newcastle come into this fixture looking to avoid a third consecutive defeat. Rafa Benitez’s side are not yet mathematically safe from relegation and will be looking to halt their recent slide with a view to avoiding an apprehensive end to the season.
Considering their uninspired away form this season it’s hardly surprising the Toon Army are not yet out of danger. The Geordie faithful have not seen their side register an away win in the Premier League in 2019. What’s more, that last away success came against a hapless Huddersfield Town side.
Despite their difficulties on the road, Benitez’s sides are generally a quite a compact and well-organised outfit and as such could still prove to be tough opponents for Leicester. Furthermore, Newcastle will believe they can have success against a Leicester City defence that has only kept one clean sheet in their last six matches.
Rodgers' free-flowing football can at times leave his side exposed, so much so that the league's lowest scorers Huddersfield netted against the Foxes last time out. Benitez's men could benefit from that openness, so back both teams to score at 10/11 (bet365).
Although Newcastle can net on Friday night, I still struggle to see how they can come out of this fixture with any points on the board. The Foxes are on a high and should they remain 7th in the table and Manchester City win the FA Cup, Rodgers could remarkably make a swift return to European football next season.
That combined with Newcastle’s ordinary away form points towards a home win at the King Power in the first Premier League clash of the weekend.
Leicester are a general 8/11 to prevail with most bookmakers but there may be more value in opting for Leicester to win and both teams to score at 11/4. Either way, back the home side to continue their stirring start to the Rodgers revolution.
This English Premier League match between Leicester City and Newcastle United will be played on Apr 12, 2019 and kick off at 20:00