Fresh from enjoying one of the most memorable European nights in the club’s history, Leicester City resume Premier League action with a trip to Newcastle United on Sunday afternoon.
Brendan Rodgers’s side got the better of PSV Eindhoven in the Europa Conference League in midweek, while the Magpies most recently saw off Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0.
With any fears of a devastating relegation very nearly quashed, Newcastle United are looking firmly up the table rather than over their shoulder, and Eddie Howe’s side recovered from a temporary blip in their revival to dent Wolves’ European aspirations that little bit more.
Despite suffering an early injury blow to Ryan Fraser, the Magpies snapped a three-game losing streak in the top flight as Chris Wood tucked home a penalty in the 72nd minute against Bruno Lage’s men, and Newcastle are now very nearly home and dry.
Before the weekend’s fixtures kick off, Howe’s side find themselves sitting pretty in 14th in the rankings – with a 10-point gap separating them from managerless Burnley, who do have a game in hand, in the bottom three – but a few daunting tests still await Newcastle.
Indeed, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool will all pit their wits against the newly-rich Magpies before the curtain closes on a whirlwind of a season for the Toon Army, who will surely already have one eye on their team’s summer transfer business as optimism continues to grow.
Furthermore, each of Newcastle’s three most recent defeats came away from home, and the Magpies welcome Leicester to St James’ Park having won each of their last four Premier League games on their own turf, and the Foxes – despite their joyous exertions – are not exactly well-rested.
Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers acknowledges fans after the match on April 10, 2022© Reuters
Failure to launch another strong charge for the Champions League places has no doubt come as a disappointment to the Leicester faithful, but they could yet see their beloved crop lifting a piece of European silverware aloft after getting the better of PSV Eindhoven on their own turf.
Youri Tielemans’s mistake handed Eran Zahavi the opportunity to finish past Kasper Schmeichel from a tight angle, but creative hub James Maddison restored parity for Brendan Rodgers’s side before Ricardo Pereira was in the right place at the right time to send Leicester into the Europa Conference League semi-finals.
An even more daunting clash with Jose Mourinho’s Italian heavyweights Roma now awaits Leicester if they are to book their tickets to Tirana, but the European semi-finalists must now turn their attention back to consolidating a top-half spot in the Premier League table.
Rodgers’s side managed to halt Crystal Palace’s momentum with a 2-1 success at the King Power last weekend and occupy ninth spot in the table as a result, with Wolves nine points ahead of their mid-table counterparts having played three games more, but a late push for the top seven is surely a bridge too far for the Foxes.
Rodgers will therefore surely elect to prioritise a shot at glory in the Conference League for a Leicester side who have only managed to win one of their last nine Premier League games on the road, but they put four unanswered goals past Newcastle back in December and will head to St James’ Park on cloud nine.