Newcastle vs Leicester key battles

Leicester City resume their Premier League campaign on Boxing Day with a home game against Newcastle United.

The Foxes gathered some kind of momentum before the World Cup break by winning four out of their last five Premier League games. They will be aiming to kick on in the second half of the season, and the EFL Cup round of 16 win over MK Dons on Wednesday should give Brendan Rodgers’ a lot of confidence heading into the game against Newcastle United.

Newcastle have enjoyed an excellent season so far and richly deserves to be third in the table. Gunning for a place in the Champions League, it is crucial for the Toon Army to start the second half of the campaign on a high note.

That said, here are the key battles that could decide the outcome of the game at the King Power Stadium.

#Jamie Vardy vs Sven Botman

Jamie Vardy hasn’t enjoyed the best of Premier League seasons, managing just one goal in 15 appearances. However, the veteran striker appeared to get into some form ahead of the hectic schedule with a goal in the 3-0 win over MK Dons in the EFL Cup.

Brendan Rodgers could go with Vardy up top against Newcastle United on Monday. The ex-England international’s willing running and intuitive movement could cause problems for the Newcastle backline. Sven Botman, a key figure in helping the Magpies boast of one of the best defensive records in the division, should be tasked in keeping Vardy in check.

Botman has adapted to the Premier League like a duck to water and has shored up Newcastle’s defence this season. However, the young Dutchman must stay concentrated at all times when coming up against the wily Vardy.

#Youri Tielemans vs Bruno Guimaraes

Youri Tielemans has been crucial to how Leicester City have played under Brendan Rodgers in recent years, with the Belgium international instrumental in knitting together the sort of counter-attacks from which the likes of Harvey Barnes, James Maddison and Jamie Vardy flourish.

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe will be wary of Tielemans’ threat and must devise a plan to ensure he seldom has the ball. Bruno Guimaraes is a certainty to start in the Magpies midfield, and Howe could use him to disrupt the Leicester midfielder’s passing rhythm.

Bruno has the engine, reading of the game and positional sense to limit Tielemans’ influence on the game, whilst setting the tempo of play with his passing skills for his side. All in all, the midfield duel between Tielemans and Bruno promises to be one to watch out for.

#Harvey Barnes vs Kieran Trippier

Harvey Barnes is one of the Premier League’s fastest wingers and, on his day, it could take something special to stop him. He is quick, energetic, direct and dynamic, more than capable of causing problems for the well-oiled Newcastle rearguard.

Potentially lining up against Barnes will be Kieran Trippier, who will have a task cut out on Monday. Barnes will be hoping to torment Trippier with his trademark lung-busting runs. Trippier may not be blessed with explosive pace to match Barnes but he has the know-how and experience to stop the Leicester man from getting into his stride.

How Trippier copes with Barnes’ direct approach and raw pace will be intriguing to watch.

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