Yet again Newcastle threw away an early lead due to defensive mistakes, this time coming at the hands of Leicester at St James’ Park.
Newcastle made a dream start on their 125th birthday after Joselu put them 1-0 up. Jacob Murphy played an intricate pass along the wing to Dwight Gayle who squared it to Joselu who fired it home. The score was almost doubled 10 minutes later when Gayle found some space in the area but just fired his shot wide. Newcastle making the brighter start. Demari Gray could count himself unlucky when he beat his man and tried a long range effort that just missed the target. Then Riyad Mahrez punished Newcastle with a fantastic goal. Merino loses the ball just in his own half, Ndidi passes to Mahrez who shoots from 25 yards and scores a brilliant goal. Yedlin then stopped a great chance from Vardy after just winning the pace battle and knocking the ball away. Murphy almost got lucky when he forced a save from Schmeichel from just outside the box.
At the start of the second half, Gray put Leicester in front after his shot took a rebound and sailed over Darlow. Mahrez almost doubled his tally after a fine save from Darlow denied him. With under 15 minutes to go, Dwight Gayle leveled the scores with a great curled effort from inside the area. Game on. But then, heartbreak. Okazaki is left in acres of space to tee up his shot and the ball deflects off Perez to win the game for Leicester. Not the greatest way to spend your 125th birthday.
There are two things badly wrong at Newcastle that need to be sorted as soon as possible. One is the mentality after we score an early goal. When we’re looking for a goal, the squad are hungry and aggressive for the ball; once we’ve got the goal, we just sit back and defend. You cannot do that for 70/80 minutes against teams that are much better than you. The other problem is the abysmal defensive organization. Look at Okazaki’s goal, the two defenders in the box gang up on Vardy which leaves Okazaki free in the center of the box and Mahrez free at the edge of the box. If one defender left Vardy to mark Okazaki and Perez marks Mahrez, that drastically decreases the chance of a goal. Hopefully, once Lascelles is fully fit, those errors will be a thing of the past and we’ll start getting results because yesterday proved that we can score goals.
Feature image credit: Ben Sutherland