On December 9th, Newcastle were beaten 3-2 at home to Leicester on what was the 125th anniversary of the club. It was a game where the Magpies were played off the park.
Despite a raucous atmosphere early on due to the occasion and a plethora of flags, Leicester’s quality eventually shone through as they won 3-2, with the deciding goal being a rather comical but avoidable own goal from Ayoze Perez.
While the scoreline may have been close, the performances were not, and Leicester really showed why they are considered the best of the rest, with the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Demarai Gray causing havoc for the Geordie defenders.
The defeat came at a time when Newcastle were at a real low point of the season, extending their win-less run to seven games, before going on to lose their following two fixtures.
Since their nine game collapse, Newcastle have only been beaten three times, and that came against Liverpool and champions in waiting Manchester City, who beat Rafa Bentiez’s side twice.
The Magpies have won their past two games against Southampton and Huddersfield to put some real daylight between themselves and the relegation zone, making them all but safe from dropping back into the Championship.
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Before this Saturday’s contest, the pressure had been on in almost every game, as Newcastle needed points to ensure they did not get cut adrift from the pack.
Now they have a seven point gap, the pressure is somewhat off, and Newcastle can go into the game knowing they have nothing to lose.
Will we be able to compete against a team that truly humbled us in December? If we can, then it will show just how much Benitez’s side have improved since then.