Abysmal. Embarrassing. Clueless. All could be fitting descriptions of a horror show performance by Newcastle United away at the King Power Stadium.
Steve Bruce refused to admit postgame that his side threw in the towel, but admitted there was a surrender of sorts to opponents Leicester. The Magpies lacked any creativity or attacking intent throughout the match, while at the back they remained all at sea.
It was little surprise that the Foxes rolled them over with such ease. Under Rafa Benitez, Newcastle were criticised for often lacking much of the possession. Yet, this was due to defensive diligence and rigidity, tactically sitting deep and inviting pressure, which was soaked up and countered on. Bruce’s side on the night lacked that same possession, but their inability to hold the ball had less to do with tactics, and far more to do with total incompetence.
From minute one, it was clear which side was going to spend the match in the ascendency – and it certainly wasn’t Newcastle. The Foxes have been in good form so far this season, and came out swinging in front of their home crowd, clearly smelling lambs ready for the slaughter.
It didn’t take long for Ricardo Pereira to open the scoring for the home side, and from there Newcastle’s evening went rapidly down hill. Already it looked set to be a long evening for the travelling Geordie support, in full voice as ever.
Just before the interval, the match’s most controversial moment arrived. The turning point of the game, Newcastle midfielder Isaac Hayden came rashly into a 50-50 challenge with Dennis Praet and caught the Belgian high up on the leg in his follow through.
It was the kind of full-blooded challenge that Hayden thrives on in a game, but it was wild and arguably out of control – not helped by high up on his opponent his foot was when the contact came in. Out came the red card, and despite Hayden’s vocal protestations – clearly questioning the very point of playing given the decision – he was off and Newcastle reduced to ten men.
There may well have been some left over frustrations in the challenge and the reaction from the two sides’ cup clash earlier in the season where a similar challenge from Hamza Choudhury left Matt Ritchie injured but went unpunished.
After the break, Newcastle looked lost and utterly capitulated. Mistakes aplenty, Leicester doubled their lead through Jamie Vardy before a quick fire third came courtesy of Paul Dummett directing the ball into his own net.
Vardy added a fourth within 10 minutes, and a stoppage time strike from Wilfried Ndidi condemned Newcastle to five without answer. In truth, the contest was long since over by that stage, and throughout the whole game the Magpies looked lost and never really in danger of offering any response.