Vardy bags a brace as Leicester put five past dismal Newcastle

Brendan Rodgers’ side move within two points of the champions after big victory

Leicester City 5 Newcastle United 0

Leicester leapt to third place in the Premier League with a performance that can only feed their ambitions to become a regular part of the elite. After last week’s win here against Tottenham Hotspur, this was a very tough challenge and they overcame it with pizzazz.

Ricardo Pereira got them going with a superb goal in the first half before Isaac Hayden was sent off for Newcastle, who had already begun to crumble with 11 players. Jamie Vardy scored twice in the second half, Wilfried Ndidi helped himself to one and the visitors’ haplessness was encapsulated by Paul Dummett inadvertently diverting a cross by Denis Praet into his own goal.

Leicester made it all look so straightforward that one could easily have been duped into thinking this contest was always likely to pan out this way. But Newcastle have been something of a bête noire et blanche to Leicester in recent seasons, winning here on their last two visits by absorbing pressure before striking on the counter-attack. Brendan Rodgers had anticipated them taking a similar approach this time, so warned his players to be patient. This would be a serious test of their creativity, all the more so without James Maddison, who was absent with an ankle injury. So Rodgers told his players to be patient; he said they should be prepared to be frustrated by the visitors; that any breakthrough could be a long time coming. As it turned out, his team only needed 16 minutes to open the scoring. And once they started, it seemed like only the final whistle could stop them.


The first goal would have been a beauty no matter the context. It started in a relatively innocuous place, but with a thrillingly dangerous player: Periera picked the ball up in his right-back position and hurtled forward, exchanging a snappy one-two with Ayoze Pérez near the touchline and then charging in-field before reaching the edge of the box, from where he sent a wonderful low curling shot beyond the reach of the plunging Martin Dubravka. It was amazing and so is, in a different way, the fact that Portugal have not seen fit to call up Pereira for more than a year. Rodgers described that state-of-affairs as “absolutely incredible” last week after Pereira’s decisive goal against Spurs and it seems even more curious now. Portugal must have extraordinary strength in depth.

Leicester could have been in front even before Pereira’s marvel. In the second minute Harvey Barnes stormed down the left and sent over a low cross that invited Pérez to score against the club he left in the summer, but the forward failed to make a clean connection from eight yards, leaving Dubravka with a comfortable save.

Newcastle perked up after that and looked dangerous for a while. Miguel Almíron was particularly bright, causing trouble every time he sped down the wing. One of his raids in the 12th minute led to Hayden letting fly from 20 yards. The misdirected shot turned into a handy pass to Yoshinori Muto, who failed to react in time to turn it goalward.

Four minutes later Pereira produced his masterpiece. After that Newcastle seemed cowed, forced to accept their inferior status. Leicester soon made the class distinction even clearer.

They nearly doubled their lead within two minutes, the artful Youri Tielemans releasing Ben Chilwell for a close-range shot that Dubravka did well to block. The interplay down the left between Tielemans, Chilwell and Barnes became a regular delight for onlookers, except the overwhelmed ones in black-and-white stripes.

Newcastle’s ordeal deepened when Hayden was ordered off for a reckless tackle on Praet. The midfielder protested that he had won the ball but the more pertinent fact was that, after doing so, he careered into his opponent, driving his right foot into Praet’s shin.

Dominant though Leicester were, Vardy had little sight of goal in the first half, apart from a header that he glanced over the bar following a cross by Tielemans. But in the 54th minute Leicester’s arch-predator made his mark following another elegantly worked move. Chilwell started it with a nice dummy and pass in midfield before Tielemans dabbed the ball into the path of Vardy, whose shot was well struck but, even so, should have been saved the near post by Dubravka.

The contest was effectively over but Rodgers’ side did not just want to beat Newcastle, they wanted to demolish them. Newcastle put up feeble resistance. When Praet won the ball in midfield, he offloaded it to Pereira and ran forward to receive the return pass before trying to cross to a teammate in the middle. His cross deflected off Dummett and into the net.

Marc Albrighton came off the bench to add to the home team’s fun, supplying a characteristically precise cross to Vardy, who nodded in to make it 4-0. From a similar area on the left, Chilwell delivered the cross that led to the fifth goal, Ndidi taking it down before swivelling and shooting low in the net. – Guardian