Newcastle United vs Leicester City tip preview: Goals looking likely in tasty EFL Cup clash

Tipstrr football expert Sergiu Balbuta assesses the form and prospects of Newcastle United and Leicester City in what promises to be an entertaining EFL Cup quarter-final at St James's Park.

Newcastle's fans are enjoying a dream season so far, with their team involved in the fight for top-four Champions League places, while they also have a realistic opportunity of winning a trophy in the EFL Cup.

The Magpies are two games away from their first cup final appearance since 1999, when they suffered a 0-2 defeat against Manchester United in the FA Cup final.

This will be Newcastle's third consecutive EFL Cup tie against Premier League opposition, having beaten Crystal Palace after penalties (0-0) and Bournemouth 1-0 after kicking off their campaign with a 2-1 away win at Tranmere.

Despite an EFL Cup final appearance within their grasp, their main objective remains the Premier League, where they currently sit proudly in third spot on 35 points after 18 games, and also boast the best defensive record with only 11 goals conceded so far.

Recently they earned a hard-fought goalless draw at league leaders Arsenal, and managed an equally impressive 3-0 away win against Tuesday's opponents, Leicester.

In their last outing at the weekend, manager Eddie Howe used their FA Cup tie at Sheffield Wednesday as an opportunity to rest many key players, but the move backfired as they suffered a surprising 2-1 defeat, their first reversal in 17 games in all competitions.

Nick Pope, Fabian Schar and Callum Wilson are all likely to return to the starting line-up, with the latter looking to add the clinical finishing touch that Howe has accused his players of lacking in recent outings.

Jonjo Shelvey and Allan Saint-Maximin are the only unavailable players, and Howe is likely to shuffle his pack again to field a stronger starting line-up this close to Wembley.

On the other side, Leicester have won the Premier League title , the FA Cup and the FA Community Shield in the last few years, and will no doubt be looking to add the EFL Cup to their recent collection.

Brendan Rodgers has the players at his disposal capable of reaching the Wembley final, although Leicester's threat is always reduced without the creative influence of chief playmaker, James Maddison. 

His absence since the World Cup has significantly coincided with a very poor run of Premier League form that has seen them lose all three Premier League games since the break, 0-3 against Newcastle, 1-2 against Liverpool and 0-1 against Fulham.

Rodgers' priority will be to avoid a relegation dog-fight in the Premier League, but without a doubt he will also have an eye on the EFL Cup, as some mid-season silverware could be a huge boost to confidence.

The Foxes won the last of their three EFL Cups back in 2000, and in the current campaign they have benefited from a favourable draw, comfortably seeing off three lower-tier opponents - Stockport County (1-0) along with Newport County and MK Dons (both 3-0).

They are sure to be more severely tested by Newcastle's attacking threat, and it's worth noting that the last seven league encounters between these two clubs all produced at least three goals, so it's perhaps safe to assume that we can expect more of the same in this enticing cup clash.

Sergiu Baltuta provides football tips as SVB Tips on Tipstrr

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