Leicester climb to third after thrashing 10-man Newcastle
Leicester powered into third place in the Premier League with a 5-0 demolition of 10-man Newcastle that piled pressure on Magpies boss Steve Bruce on Sunday.
Brendan Rodgers’ side maintained their impressive start to the season as they romped to a fourth win in their last five league games.
Ricardo Pereira opened the scoring in the first half before Newcastle’s Isaac Hayden was sent off for a dangerous tackle.
Leicester ran riot in the second half as Jamie Vardy struck either side of Paul Dummett’s own goal.
Wilfred Ndidi rounded off Leicester’s biggest league win since Rodgers arrived from Celtic to replace Claude Puel in February, leaving them just two points behind second placed Manchester City.
Rodgers’ appointment has proved an inspired move and Leicester look capable of challenging for a top four finish, especially given the inconsistent form of Manchester United, Arsenal, Tottenham and Chelsea.
Newcastle were the only team to win a league game at the King Power Stadium since Rodgers took charge.
But that success was during Rafael Benitez’s reign last season and they are a far less obdurate side under Bruce.
After this woeful display, Newcastle sit second bottom of the table and have won only once in their first seven league matches.
Mike Ashley’s decision to hire Bruce from Sheffield Wednesday was greeted with disdain by Newcastle fans and the under-fire 58-year-old already appears to be fighting to save his job.
With Ashley still being linked with a deal to sell Newcastle, Bruce could be gone before a regime change or very soon after unless results improve quickly.
James Maddison was absent for Leicester because of an ankle injury, with the midfielder’s place going to Dennis Praet in the only change from last week’s 2-1 win over Tottenham.
Even without Maddison, Leicester were quickly into their stride as former Newcastle winger Ayoze Perez tested Magpies keeper Martin Dubravka.
Newcastle could have been ahead against the run of play when Hayden drilled a low cross towards Yoshinori Muto, but the Japanese forward scuffed woefully wide.
Rodgers’ team made the most of that escape to take the lead in the 16th minute.
Newcastle in disarray
Portugal right-back Pereira has earned a reputation for lung-bursting surges that can unhinge opposing defences and once again he was too hot for Newcastle to handle.
Playing a one-two with Perez, Pereira surged towards the Newcastle area unchecked by the visitors’ defence before firing a fine finish into the bottom corner for his second goal in his last two games.
As rain lashed down, Bruce already cut a bedraggled figure on the touchline.
But Bruce’s day got even worse in the 43rd minute when Hayden was sent off for a reckless studs-up lunge on Praet that left the Leicester midfielder crumpled on the turf.
Leicester had already beaten Newcastle on penalties in the League Cup this season and Rodgers’ side were on course for a far more convincing success by the 54th minute.
Praet picked out Harvey Barnes and cushioned a first-time pass over the top into the path of Vardy, whose low shot evaded Dubravka’s weak attempt to save at his near post.
Vardy’s fourth goal of the season was followed by Leicester’s third of the day three minutes later.
Praet advanced down the right and his shot was turned into his own net by Newcastle defender Dummett.
With Newcastle in disarray, Vardy netted again after 64 minutes when he met Marc Albrighton’s cross with a clinical header at the far post.
Leicester showed no mercy to Bruce and Ndidi turned swiftly to fire home in the 90th minute.