James Maddison shines as Leicester City pick up their first victory of 2021 against Newcastle United


England playmaker James Maddison pulled the strings for Leicester City as his side dismantled Newcastle United in a fine 2-1 victory.

Second-half goals from Maddison and midfield partner Youri Tielemans secured a seventh away victory for Brendan Rodgers’ side, propelling them to third in the division.

It was the England midfielder who shone during his 79-minute cameo. The 24-year-old stamped his authority on the game early on, coming close after three minutes.

It was trademark Maddison, receiving the ball in between the lines, taking it round Sean Longstaff before unleashing a shot on goal. It was a similar scenario to his goal at St James’ Park this time last season, where he picked out the top corner after swinging his left boot at the ball.

Nine minutes later, the midfielder did what he does best. As soon as the Foxes number ten received the ball, he instantly looked up for the run of Jamie Vardy. He slipped a through ball in behind the Newcastle back-line for the forward to latch on to, which was dispatched by the striker, but the move was flagged offside moments later.

In the 26th minute, it looked like Maddison was going to be unable to continue. He jarred his knee and bent it the wrong way after running onto a ball alongside Fabian Schar.

It looked horrible in real-time but even worse in slow motion, a similar scenario to Kingsley Coman’s knee injury in Bayern Munich’s Champions League group stage match against Tottenham last season. He was fortunate to not come away seriously injured after having a history of knee problems. 

The slight niggle didn’t affect his performance in the slightest. Maddison continued to whip crosses in with venom and provide good quality from set-pieces. On the stroke of half-time, Wesley Fofana came close after attacking a delightful delivery from Maddison.

It was the England midfielder who made the breakthrough in the second half. All of the Newcastle defenders were caught ball watching, getting sucked into Jamie Vardy who drove and beat his man one on one before cutting the ball back to the edge of the area for Maddison to slam the ball into the top corner. It was Maddison’s third goal in four games at St James’ Park.

In the 62nd minute, he came close to scoring his second of the afternoon. The midfielder, oozing with confidence, let the ball run past his left shoulder before unleashing an ambitious 3o-yard effort, sailing narrowly past Karl Darlow’s post. It would’ve been a contender for goal of the season if it had gone in.

Maddison was the catalyst for Leicester City’s second goal of the afternoon as Tielemans regained the ball back in the middle of the park.

Leicester’s number ten collected the ball from the Belgian before firing one of his trademark, highly detailed passes to Marc Albrighton’s feet. Tielemans continued his run, received the ball from the right and finished the move off delightfully to double their lead.

The Coventry-born midfielder has been directly involved in six goals in the Premier League so far this season; only Jamie Vardy has contributed to more.

He’s now chipped in with 29 contributions for Leicester City (17 goals and 12 assists) which is the most from any English midfielder since the start of the 2018/19 season. It’s good to see the 24-year-old back fit and firing. One of a plethora of attacking talent at Gareth Southgate’s disposal.

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