Champions League football returns to Newcastle as draw gives Leicester survival chance

Champions League football returns to Newcastle as draw gives Leicester survival chance – latest reaction - Reuters/Lee Smith
Champions League football returns to Newcastle as draw gives Leicester survival chance – latest reaction – Reuters/Lee Smith

By Luke Edwards, Northern Football Writer at St James’ Park

At the end of a magnificent season it was job done for Newcastle United, they will be playing in the Champions League next season, but there is much still to do on the final day for Leicester City.

At least they have given themselves a fighting chance heading into a last game showdown with Everton, who will need to beat Bournemouth at home to be sure of staying up.

If they draw or lose and Leicester City can conjure up a home victory over West Ham, who will have the Europa Conference League final on their minds, Dean Smith will have somehow kept Leicester in the Premier League.

It could have been so much more and the ultimate smash and grab. Leicester had one shot on target and it came in injury time, Timothy Castagne, hooking the ball goalwards only for Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope to make a magnificent one-handed save.

Newcastle had been utterly dominant, hitting the post three times. It would have been the ultimate sucker punch, but the England international’s big hand ensured a remarkable season ends with a return to the Champions League after a 20 year absence. Nobody can say they do not deserve it but they were running on fumes here.

Nick Pope’s late save earns Newcastle point they required – as it happened

Table of Contents

10:45 PM

That will do it for our Monday night

Well played Newcastle. You can certainly ask moral questions about their ownership but you can’t fault Eddie Howe, a good guy who has done a fine job. They’ve been fun to watch this season and it will be neat for Britain to have a different team in the Champions League next season.

As for Leicester, they rode their luck but they’ve pinched a point and they go into the final day of the season with a puncher’s chance. Yes, Everton can condemn both Leeds and Leicester with a win, but if Everton were a sure-fire bet to win… well they wouldn’t be in this mess, would they?

Cheers for following, see you soon.

10:37 PM

Dean Smith

“I make no apology for how we played. We were starved of the ball for long periods, yes they have had some chances but they have had a lot of chances against teams here.”

“We hadn’t kept a clean sheet in [22 games]. First time we have been 0-0 at half time. Tough watch at times.

“Bruno could have had a red card, not sure what Var has seen there, that has been a red card this season.

“The players are anxious at the moment. They wanted to keep a clean sheet.

“We need help in our final game, there will be a lot of anxiety for all three teams. If Everton win then we want to be able to say we gave it our best shop. We will fight tooth and nail.

“I don’t think many people would have thought we would get a result here today.”

10:33 PM

Match stats

23 shots for Newcastle. Four on target. Leicester one and one.

Here is Eddie Howe on Sky.

10:29 PM

Neither Jamie nor Gary

seem minded to get into the weeds of the ownership/regime.

10:28 PM

Group photo!

Players, staff and families of Newcastle United pose for a photo - Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Players, staff and families of Newcastle United pose for a photo – Alex Livesey/Getty Images

10:27 PM

Gary Neville

“I think getting into the Champions League would have been a three year plan. If they finish sixth maybe people will say Eddie is dropping off. But we need to remember that they are ahead of their plan.”

10:26 PM

Jamie Carragher

“Yes, they have spent money but on paper that is not a top four team, so a lot of this is down to Eddie Howe. He has done one of the best jobs in the PL.”

10:20 PM

Eddie Howe talks to Sky Sports

“A big relief actually. An amazing night. The reaction has been incredible.

“The target this season wasn’t top four. We did not feel we were ready, after last season’s battle with relegation. Of course, you always dream.

“The mentality, what the lads have given me, I cannot praise them enough.

“There is a very small pool of players for us to recruit from, this might be our toughest transfer window.

“Carabao Cup final maybe took our focus from the PL.

“The players have seen the fruits of their labour and that has helped us keep them focused.

“We don’t want to do things too differently (in the next few seasons).

“Keeping Bournemouth in the league when I started out was big for me and the club but this is on a different scale media-wise and I am so grateful for the opportunity to manage here.

“We had to show the fan base that we are giving everything every single game. Supporters have been incredible, they have galvanised the players.

“You don’t just want to be happy to participate, you want to succeed. This is great, but there is no trophy for it, and we want to bring silverware here.”

10:13 PM

Harry Souttar

“We knew we would get one chance at the end, and it was a great save from their keeper.

“Today I found out I was in the XI and I was delighted. You have to get your head on, I hadn’t played for a few weeks. The low defensive block frustrated them.

“We have to win our (last) game and focus on ourselves.”

10:05 PM

Here’s Luke Edwards on how Eddie and the Newcastle boys did it

Big signings, transfer tension and Newcastle against the world: How Eddie Howe sealed a top four finish

For instance: “Despite an injury-plagued start Isak has been superb, scoring 10 goals in 20 appearances, and drawing strong comparisons with his idol Thierry Henry.”

and

Newcastle have spent a lot of money but not an extravagant amount in the three transfer windows under PIF. The wage bill remains considerably less than the established members of the Big Six and was also below the likes of Everton, Aston Villa and Leicester last year.

For all the talk of “buying their success” it is worth highlighting that the £250 million spent on new players is dwarfed by several clubs over the same period of time they have been in charge.

Newcastle United's Dan Burn and Jacob Murphy celebrate after qualifying for the Champions League - Action Images via Reuters
Newcastle United’s Dan Burn and Jacob Murphy celebrate after qualifying for the Champions League – Action Images via Reuters

10:03 PM

As for Leicester

they have earned – somehow! – a point here and that pulls them up into 18th place.

The Leicester failure to win means that they are no longer masters of their own destiny, and Everton can stay up with a win.

10:01 PM

Newcastle player reactions to Sky Sports

Sean Longstaff: “I have no words. You hear the stories and watch the DVDs, Asprilla getting the hat-trick, beating Barcelona here, can’t wait to play Champions League here.”

Nick Pope: “nice to be involved at the end! Glad I could contribute.”

Kieran Trippier: “we have had difficult moments, but we have bounced back well. We deserve it. The club has been through a tough moment but now we’re reaping the rewards. It means everything. I took a risk when I first arrived but I always believed in every decision I made.”

09:58 PM

Full time: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

A deeply silly game! Newcastle absolutely battered Leicester and then found themselves clinging on at the end.

It finishes 0-0. In the broader context, of course, the point means that Newcastle will be in the Champions League.

09:56 PM

90+5 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

The five minutes are up… now Smith is urging his keeper Iversen to get on with it. Ha. Well, to no avail because it has finished 0-0.

09:54 PM

90+ mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

So close! Oh my goodness. Leicester look to have overelaborated with the freekick but eventually stick it in the mixer. Castagne swings a leg at it, makes a solid contact and Pope has to produce a vital save. Kind of close to the keeper in fairness but wow that really would have been something,

Timothy Castagne has his shot saved by Newcastle United's Nick Pope - Action Images via Reuters

Timothy Castagne has his shot saved by Newcastle United’s Nick Pope – Action Images via Reuters

09:52 PM

90+ mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Gordon comes on for Almiron.

Longstaff stands on the foot of Maddison.

And Leicester have a freekick…..

09:51 PM

88 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Leicester win it high, come forward. Tielemans looks to put it through for Barnes, and if Schar hadn’t nipped in, that could have been a golden foxy moment!

Looks like we are having five added minutes.

09:50 PM

87 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Ndidi coming off with a knock. Mendy on.

And suddenly the Geordies look a little bit stressed and nervous. It would of course be EXTREMELY funny if Newcastle somehow lost here.

09:47 PM

85 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Rare foray forward for LCFC. Daka has actually been a bit of an outlet.

Maddison is also getting on the ball….

Leicester have not yet had a shot. The last team to go an entire match without an effort was Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth against, obvs, Man City.

09:45 PM

80 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Murphy has come on for Anderson, Almiron goes central.

Leicester repel a corner.

09:39 PM

77 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Kieran Trippier finds Sean Longstaff, who shoots. Daniel Iversen blocks it with his leg. That’s maybe the 4th Toon shot on target. They have had getting on for 20 shots off target!

09:37 PM

73 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Almiron the latest Newcastle man to have an effort, and fail to hit the target. He has, however, managed to hit Ndidi. Ouch.

09:36 PM

72 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

I reckon it is about 18% possession for Leicester and there are 18 minutes left. Can they hang on?

09:34 PM

71 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

A corner for Newcastle, Faes for LCFC unintentionally flicks it on with a classic near post eyebrows (albeit at the wrong end of the pitch) and the ball hits the far post. The Newcastle player there, Bruno Guimaraes, only has to nod it home but he seems distracted by how close the post is, and he does in fact brush the upright with his head. Just needed a big thick lad to put the heid on it and deal with the collision consequences!

Newcastle United's Bruno Guimaraes misses from about two inches. - Action Images via Reuters
Newcastle United‘s Bruno Guimaraes misses from about two inches. – Action Images via Reuters

Here is Neil Lennon on the BBC: “It’s all Newcastle. And Bruno Guimaraes just missed an absolute sitter.

The corner comes in from the left, came off Faes and flicks up across goal, and he has hit the post. He was a yard out.

The longer this goes on the more frustrating it will be for Newcastle and the more encouraging it will be for Leicester.”

09:32 PM

70 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

The good news for Tim Castagne is that the opposition are moving Izak away into another position… the bad news is that he now has to deal with Allan Saint-Maximin

09:29 PM

64 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Leicester have a corner! Oh dear, they’ve not made a lot of it.

09:26 PM

63 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

It’s more of the same, Newcastle attack, Leicester defend.

Vardy is coming off. Barnes is coming on. Daka is also coming on. And Evans is coming off, so/and Smith is changing his shape. He’s going to a back four, I guess that’s kind of a forced change.

A tough evening for Jamie Vardy of Leicester City - AMA/Getty Images

A tough evening for Jamie Vardy of Leicester City – AMA/Getty Images

09:25 PM

61 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Isak running riot. Souttar throws himself in the way of a shot, and now Isak wriggles to the byline but just runs out of road.

09:19 PM

58 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Izak has a powerful shot, Iversen tips it over.

09:19 PM

Here’s that Guimares foul from the first half

09:18 PM

56 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Isak is mullering these every time he gets the ball. Looks really dangerous, Leicester are frightened of his dribbling and pace.

More worries for Dean Smith and the Leicester brains’ trust: Evans is down and is stretching out one of his legs……

09:16 PM

55 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

It was Almiron who whacked that ball at Youri T just now and it is Almiron who is making things happen in the second half.

09:12 PM

49 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Newcastle’s secret weapon is ‘The Swarm’ – and rivals are powerless to stop it

09:10 PM

48 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Maddison DOES now get on the ball and has a chance to free Vardy but fluffs his lines.

Not happening for Maddison yet - Action Images via Reuters

Not happening for Maddison yet – Action Images via Reuters

09:10 PM

47 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

All Newcastle, again. Leicester under the pressh-uh. Ball walloped into their box, hit Youri Tielemans on the arm but not the Belgian’s fault.

09:08 PM

46 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Dunno if it was a change of heart, discussion or whatever but Dean Smith has relented and, erm, brought on his best player. James Maddison replaces Iheanacho.

08:50 PM

Half time: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Leicester have an xG of 0, Seb Hutchinson just said on Sky. Leicester have come with a plan, and it has sorta kinda worked. Newcastle have hit the woodwork twice and had one cleared off the line.

But the score remains goalless.

Half time entertainment….

08:45 PM

43 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Newcastle still all over Leicester. Almiron with a fierce shot, that hits the post. Now Izak with the follow up – again he opts for power rather than placement and it fizzes wide.

08:44 PM

41 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Another corner, again not convincingly dealt with. Castagne blunders. They get it clear this time.

This Iversen is not a Premier League keeper. And indeed he will probably be a Championship one soon enough.

Iversen gone walk about - PA

Iversen gone walk about – PA

08:42 PM

40 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Trippier delivers a corner in… it’s panic stations! Keeper comes for it and makes a total dog’s dinner, Burn making a nuisance of himself, Callum Wilson has two half chances, the first of which hits the post. Evans tries to hack clear, now Ndidi blocks on the line. Wilson denied twice!

08:38 PM

Royalty in

Ant and Dec - Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Ant and Dec – Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

08:36 PM

35 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Castagne with the crossfield pass, Iheanacho gets a touch onward, Vardy gallops towards it but Newcastle just cut that out.

08:36 PM

34 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Ball drilled into the LCFC area and Evans gets a size 12 on it, just for a second it looked like he might be turning that towards his goal but no

08:35 PM

33 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Almiron puts on the afterburners and surges forward, he thinks he has been fouled but nobody else really agrees.

08:34 PM

30 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Both concise, and factually accurate.

08:31 PM

28 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Castagne might have the last laugh after all. His tormentor, Isak, fouls him, gets booked, and injures himself in the process. A wicked game from Isak, it has to be said.

Oh, he’s ok to carry on.

08:26 PM

Bruno in the stands

Bruno banner - Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Bruno banner – Alex Livesey/Getty Images

“And arguably he should have been sent there,” notes picture editor Lee Martin…

08:25 PM

24 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Vardy is back to help out defend a Trippier corner.

08:25 PM

23 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Only one side making the running, but Leicester have looked reasonably secure.

08:22 PM

20 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Longstaff catches Evans, not maliciously I feel, but the big Leicester is limping about a bit nevertheless.

08:21 PM

19 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Leicester, alnost entirely on the back foot, now attempt Their Attacking Move. Thwacked forward for Iheanacho. Cut out, albeit that Trippier nearly mucks that up.

08:20 PM

17 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Bruno Guimaraes plays it through for Callum Wilson. Iversen intercepts.

Alexander Isak continues to spoil Timothy Castagne’s evening but there is no end product.

08:14 PM

12 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Been all Newcastle. Freekick into the Foxes box now. Cleared, not all that convincingly.

08:11 PM

8 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Guimares gets a yellow card for a karate kick into the knee of Soumaré. Ref and Var choose to see that he was pulling out of the challenge but that could easily be a red I would think.

08:10 PM

7 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

A give and go sends Longstaff into the area and he hurls himself onto the ground looking for a penalty.

08:08 PM

6 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Isak looking smart, Castagne left looking foolish as he gets sucked out of position.

08:07 PM

5 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Leicester are sitting deep and looking to hit Ihenacho and Vardy down the channels. That’s about it in terms of a tactical plan.

08:02 PM

1 mins: Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 0

Early foray down the flank from the rapid, dangerous Isak.

V late change for the Mags

Newcastle: Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn, Longstaff, Bruno Guimaraes, Anderson, Almiron, Wilson, Isak. Subs: Dubravka, Dummett, Gordon, Saint-Maximin, Lewis, Targett, Murphy, Ashby, Miley.

Leicester: Iversen, Castagne, Faes, Evans, Thomas, Ndidi, Souttar, Soumare, Tielemans, Iheanacho, Vardy. Subs: Barnes, Maddison, Smithies, Kristiansen, Amartey, Daka, Mendy, Praet, Tete.

Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)

John Terry and Adam Sadler, Leicester City first team coaches - Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

John Terry and Adam Sadler, Leicester City first team coaches – Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

07:58 PM

The players are in the tunnel

A good atmosphere there, some splendid flag action. Not rainbow flags, black and white ones.

07:53 PM

Luke Edwards has live video updates

07:51 PM

A very solid citizen

07:47 PM

Jermaine Jenas

reckons that this isn’t last chance saloon for Leicester.

“Leicester have got to go for everything, don’t get me wrong, but going to St James’ Park when Newcastle just need a point to reach the Champions League – I’d be in shock if they come out with anything from that.

That last game against West Ham, I’d imagine there will be some changes and maybe a different vibe to that West Ham team as well. That’s their chance to get anything.”

07:43 PM

Dean Smith

is putting it all on the line here.

If this backfires, people are going to say he should never have left out Maddison and Barnes.

Dean Smith checks his watch - Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

Dean Smith checks his watch – Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

07:36 PM

Banner boys

General view inside the stadium with a banner displaying 'Eddie Howe's Black and White Army' prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Leicester City at St. James Park - Alex Livesey/Getty Images

General view inside the stadium with a banner displaying ‘Eddie Howe’s Black and White Army’ prior to the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Leicester City at St. James Park – Alex Livesey/Getty Images

07:32 PM

Neil Lennon on the BBC

“I get the change in formation but I’m not sure about leaving Harvey Barnes and James Maddison out because there are goals there. I am surprised by the change in personnel but not the change in formation.

“Leicester have to get something out of this game but it is not impossible. Two quality players he has left out, it is a big gamble.”

07:31 PM

Here is Dean Smith on his selection, to Sky Sports

Why did you leave out Barnes and Maddison?

“We decided to change it. We need to be harder to beat. The last couple of games, we have needed lots of goals to win them so we needed to make a change. We picked a team we feel can compete.

“I had to think long and hard about it. Watching the game against Brighton, the first two goals are from set-pieces and I wanted another centre-back in the team.

“They were professional about it. I want them to be disappointed if they’re not playing but they see the bigger picture and understand why.

“With both Kelechi Iheanacho and Jamie Vardy, we’re not coming here just to not get beat but to win the game. We want to create chances as well and be competitive against a good team.

“The good thing is before the weekend started it wasn’t in our hands but it is for now. We want to keep it that way.”

07:22 PM

And the position at the top

If Newcastle get a point today, or in their final match (Palace away) then they will qualify for the Champions League.

07:15 PM

The position at the bottom

Leicester are 19th, they have 30 points, and a relatively okay goal difference of -18.

Leeds are 18th, they have 31 points, goal diff is -27.

Everton are 17th, 33 points, goal diff is -24.

After tonight all three will have played 37 games.

Leicester’s last game is at home to West Ham. Leeds home to Spurs. Everton have a home match against Bournemouth.

07:06 PM

The Foxes chairman

has come to support/work out who’s getting the bum’s rush if the team are going down.

The Chairman of Leicester City, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabh - Alex Livesey/Getty Images

The Chairman of Leicester City, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabh – Alex Livesey/Getty Images

07:03 PM

Team news

Newcastle: Pope, Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn, Longstaff, Bruno Guimaraes, Joelinton, Almiron, Wilson, Isak. Subs: Dubravka, Dummett, Gordon, Saint-Maximin, Lewis, Targett, Murphy, Anderson, Miley.

Leicester: Iversen, Castagne, Faes, Evans, Thomas, Ndidi, Souttar, Soumare, Tielemans, Iheanacho, Vardy. Subs: Barnes, Maddison, Smithies, Kristiansen, Amartey, Daka, Mendy, Praet, Tete.

Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)

06:58 PM

What a massive game for the former Champs, Leicester

Boss Dean Smith admits Leicester are ‘in the last chance saloon’ in their bid to ensure Premier League survival.

The Foxes go to Newcastle on Monday three points from safety with two games left.

Everton’s 1-1 draw at Wolves on Saturday means the fight for survival will go to the final day, regardless of the result at St James’ Park.

Victory will take the Foxes out of the drop zone and above the Toffees on goal difference and Smith is aware of the magnitude of the game.

“We are pretty much in the last chance saloon with a game against Newcastle,” he said, with the Foxes hosting West Ham on the last day on Sunday.

“Disappointment and frustration are the two words I’d say I’ve seen. But we are running out of games to put that right and the players know that.

“When I came in here for the last eight games, if someone had said to me ‘If you win at home the last game of the season (to survive), would you take it?’ I probably would have.

“Hopefully we can get there but we have to get a performance and a result against Newcastle.

“There are things we’ve looked at, things we’ve done. When there is no pressure on the ball, you don’t push up like we did for the first goal against Liverpool.

“There’s an awful lot we’ve done in the classroom in terms of video analysis and we’ve done some stuff on the pitch as well.

“I’ve always said to the players that mistakes are going to happen, from both teams. People are going to make mistakes and you need a helping hand from your team-mate once you make that mistake.

“We probably haven’t been in the positions to help each other out as much as we would like.”

The Magpies need a point to wrap up Champions League qualification while Leicester know two wins from their final two games will seal survival, barring a huge goal difference swing in Everton’s favour.

Smith added: “It’s just a big game. We know what’s at the end of it. I don’t think there’s anyone here who’s not aware of that so our focus is to go there and put in as good a performance as we can.”

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