Newcastle v Leicester: Scarves out if you love the Toon…

This evening, Newcastle United play host to Leicester City in the Carabao Cup quarter-final stage. This particular round of the competition has been the unconquerable hurdle over recent seasons, with United having been knocked out at this stage in three of the previous six renditions of the League Cup. Tonight, Eddie Howe’s boys will be looking to change that in an evening at St James’ Park that looks all set to be a cracker.


Wor Flags, who have been pivotal in the resurrection of the famous St James’ Park atmosphere over the last year or so, have asked fans to bring along their black and white scarves to the ground tonight. We all remember that incredible night in 2006 as we said goodbye to Alan Shearer at his testimonial, and Wor Flags are hoping to emulate that to at least some degree this evening.

The atmosphere in the previous round of the cup was notably flat, as is so often the case for early round cup games what with the crowd being a little different to the usual Premier League bunch. More kids and more families tends to mean a little less noise, but with the scarves initiative and yet another sell out, hopefully tonight will be a bit more lively.

Newcastle’s Wednesday hangover..

On Saturday, Newcastle took the trip to Hillsborough to face Sheffield Wednesday in the third round of the FA Cup. Eddie’s boys suffered a 2-1 loss at the hands of the League One high-flyers in what was arguably the lowest point of the campaign to date. The reaction across social media was mixed, with some corners of the fan base enraged by team selection, and others a little more pragmatic in their viewpoint – noting that less games should, in theory, help us in our quest to reach the lofty heights of European football.

Either way, there’s certain to be some sort of hangover there after what was a really disappointing weekend for Newcastle. However, Eddie told media yesterday that he intends to go full strength tonight, which is what we were expecting after seeing a side with eight changes at Hillsborough. Hopefully, that should be enough for us to see off an opposition whom we thrashed 3-0 as recently as Boxing Day, on their own patch no less.

With Allan Saint-Maximin, Callum Wilson and co set to return to the squad this evening, we should have more than enough to shake off any lingering bad feeling from Saturday.

Opposition outlook

Leicester bounced back from a run of three consecutive defeats to beat Gillingham 1-0 in the FA Cup this past weekend. A solitary goal from Kelechi Iheanacho was the difference in what was a tricky cup tie for the Foxes.

Brendan Rodgers has been dealing with something of an injury crisis in recent weeks and, although his injury issues may be starting to ease a little, he still has to contend with a number of absentees this evening.

Reported Newcastle target James Maddison is set to miss out with the same knee injury that has seen him absent for the past few weeks. Meanwhile, Leicester will also be without Dennis Praet, Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall, Ricardo Pereira and Boubakary Soumare.

Ahead of the game, Rodgers told media that his side have it in them to enact revenge following the defeat to Newcastle in the league on Boxing Day.

“It’s a fantastic game,” he said. “We have got experience now in cup competitions. This is a brilliant game for us.

“We only played Newcastle a few weeks ago, we didn’t show our true selves and in the first 10 minutes we shot ourselves in the foot. If you are going to do well in cup competitions you have to win some tough games home and away. We know we have the capacity to get a good result.”

Final Thoughts

As is so often the case for Newcastle, particularly in the cup competitions, I’m not expecting anything resembling an easy game. I think it’ll be tight, it’ll be hard fought and it’ll be decided by some very fine margins. For me, much as was the case at the King Power a couple of weeks back, I think an early goal could be key for Newcastle.

The crowd will no doubt be lively at the start of the game and, if we can start on the front foot and grab an early goal, the atmosphere should go up a notch or two and see us over the line. If we score early, I could even see us running out comfortable winners, but if we don’t score in the first 10-15 minutes, then I think it’ll be decided by a single goal either way.

Prediction: 1-0 – I hate predicting Newcastle games, but for the sake of the article I’ll suck it up. I’m backing Newcastle to reach the semi-finals with a hard fought, 1-0 win courtesy of Callum Wilson some time late on in the second half. I’m hoping it’ll be a little more comfortable than that but this is what I’m going for.

If you would like to watch the game tonight, it will be shown live on Sky Sports in the UK. I’ll be there, in my usual seat, holding aloft my scarf and cheering on the boys. Howay the lads!

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