Newcastle are enjoying a remarkable first full season under the helm of Eddie Howe, currently third in the Premier League table, well on course to compete for a top-four finish, having picked up 35 points in their opening 18 games.
While ensuring that his side make strides in the league is likely to be Howe’s main objective, he has the opportunity to become the first manager since Doug Livingstone to win a major trophy for the club in the other domestic competitions.
The shock 2-1 loss away at Sheffield Wednesday at the weekend will be disappointing for the Magpies, who are targeting instant success after the PIF takeover of the club, but they still have the EFL Cup in their sights.
To reach this stage of the competition, Newcastle defeated Tranmere Rovers, Crystal Palace and AFC Bournemouth in close encounters, and they now have a very good chance of reaching a first EFL Cup semi-final since 1976, given the disparity in the two teams’ league positions.
Howe’s side have only lost two games in all competitions this season, both of them coming away from home, but they will need to improve their recent record in front of goal, having not scored in three of their last four matches.
Leicester have managed to get their season back on track after a very poor start, winning their last three matches before the World Cup break, but they have been disappointing in the Premier League since their players returned from Qatar.
In the three league games that they have contested so far, the Foxes have been defeated in all of them, only managing to score one goal in the process, in a return to their previous poor form.
One positive for Brendan Rodgers to take is his side’s form in the cup competitions, although they have admittedly had favourable draws, still yet to play a team above League One level in both the EFL Cup and the FA Cup.
In order to get to the quarter-final stage, Leicester have recorded wins against Stockport County, Newport County, and most recently MK Dons, securing a comfortable 3-0 victory due to goals from Youri Tielemans, Ayoze Perez and Jamie Vardy.
Last time out, the Foxes progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup courtesy of a 1-0 win away at League Two side Gillingham, with Kelechi Iheanacho’s goal proving to be the difference between the two sides.