Premier League leaders Leicester a baptism of fire for Benitez’s Newcastle bow
Holly Thackeray | March 13, 2016
Leicester City v Newcastle United
- Premier League
- Monday, March 14th
- Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
- King Power Stadium, Leicester
- Live on Sky Sports 1
Ranieri to ruin Benitez dugout debut
Rafa Benitez has his work cut out for his maiden match as Newcastle United boss, as the Magpies manager takes his toiling Tyneside team to visit Premier League leaders Leicester City at the King Power stadium on Monday night.
The Foxes have made their home soil a fortress, losing just once in the league on their own patch, which makes the Midlands men obvious odds-on 8/13 favourites to take three points in this match.
Customers can improve their value on Leicester by plumping for a price of 15/8 instead for a Foxes win to nil, with Newcastle having netted just seven away goals all season, and only one in their last three on the road.
While, Claudio Ranieri will also be confident in his side’s recent record against their Northeast guests, as Leicester have triumphed in all three of their past meetings with the Magpies across all competitions, including running out 3-0 winners in the last two (a scoreline which is 11/1 to be repeated).
Magical Mahrez boost
Leicester tactician Ranieri will also be heartened to see star winger Riyad Mahrez on his roster, as the Algerian international appears to have shaken off injury concerns.
Although, it is Argentine frontman Leonadro Ulloa (5/1 for the final say) rather than in-form magician Mahrez (5/1 for the first goal) or energetic poacher Jamie Vardy (5/1 to bag a brace or better), who has really hit Newcastle where it hurts before, with four goals from his last three games against them.
The Foxes must be firing on all cylinders in this fray, however, as closest title rivals Tottenham sit just five points behind in the standings. So, back Leicester to run rampant at a tempting 2/1 to notch three or more.
“They have to give everything”
While Leicester look down from the top, Newcastle can only glance at rock-bottom Villa below them and will be hoping former Real Madrid, Napoli, Chelsea and Liverpool gaffer Benitez can help them complete a great escape from the relegation zone.
New manager syndrome is 19/4 to see Newcastle net a surprise victory, or a more realistic 3/1 to force a draw on Benitez’s Premier League return, and the gaffer appeared confident that his experience can help the Magpies, who are one point below relegation rivals Sunderland and Norwich City.
“I have some experience because I am getting older. At the end it is more or less the same,” said the Spaniard.
“The responsibility of someone who wants to win a trophy and does not want to make mistakes is more or less the responsibility of someone who doesn’t want to make a mistake because they can be relegated.
“The main thing for me is I know we have a very good group of players, I know we have quality in the squad.
“We have to give them confidence and from them I expect 100 per cent every game. They have to give everything,” finished the Champions League winning coach.
Under Benitez’s guidance, Newcastle should surely shore-up their backline, but there has been little time for tinkering yet for Steve McClaren’s successor, and this clash likely comes too soon.
Yet, there is undisputed talent in the ranks, and recent goal scorer Ayoze Perez (7/2 in the anytime market) plus impressive Dutch attacker Georginio Wijnaldum (11/4) look the most likely to impress their new boss at the King Power.