Newcastle United 0 Leicester City 2: Vardy, Maguire ensure Benitez's barren run goes on

Jamie Vardy and Harry Maguire scored either side of half-time as Leicester City cruised to a comfortable victory over Newcastle United.

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy.   -  Getty Images

Newcastle United was comprehensively outplayed as its winless start stretched to seven Premier League matches in a worrying 2-0 defeat at home to Leicester City.

Forgiving in both boxes and lacking quality in between, Rafael Benitez's side failed to ask regular questions of the visitors on Mike Ashley's first appearance at St James' Park in 16 months.

Benitez commented ahead of the match that he would welcome Ashley's return and his reasons were perhaps evident in a performance that could well have led the club's owner to conclude reinforcements are required.

Jamie Vardy struck the opener from the spot in the 30th minute following DeAndre Yedlin's panicked handball and Leicester's victory, its sixth in seven competitive meetings with the Magpies, was fittingly sealed with a second-half header from the influential Harry Maguire.

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Passive for much of the first half, Newcastle was made to regret the two early chances they squandered. Joselu first dallied over an opening that Maguire's sliding challenge snuffed out, before an unmarked Mohamed Diame headed Christian Atsu's inviting cross past the post.

Maguire was dominant in both boxes and it was his shot that struck Yedlin's raised arms for the penalty that Vardy converted for his third of the campaign.

Newcastle improved to some degree after the interval and, with a result still within reach, Benitez's decision to replace Matt Ritchie in the 65th minute was met with boos that had until then been reserved for Ashley.

Regardless, the result never seemed in jeopardy and Maguire climbed over Ciaran Clark to meet James Maddison's corner in the 73rd minute, giving the in-form Foxes a third straight win in all competitions.

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What it means: Grave concerns for Newcastle

Ashley's reappearance prompted the occasional chant in protest, but the Newcastle fans otherwise had precious little reason to raise their voices. At home and against a team it should well be capable of beating, it should surely have been more competitive.

Maguire the match-winner

A key member of England's World Cup campaign exuded confidence and leadership at both ends of the pitch. Maguire, still just 25, was a handful from set-pieces even before he enticed an error out of Yedlin and was richly deserving of the goal that sealed all three points.

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Shelvey lacking spark

Jonjo Shelvey was not without company among Newcastle's poor performers, but his ponderous display was perhaps most concerning for Benitez.

The midfielder produced little despite seeing more of the ball than his teammates, failing to connect with persistent attempts at playing early passes.

What's next?

Newcastle head to Old Trafford to meet Manchester United next Saturday as Leicester prepares for a visit from Everton.