Rafa Benitez begins his reign as Newcastle United manager with a match against the would-be champions Leicester City. Benitez really could not have asked for a more difficult first outing than the one against Claudio Ranieri's league leaders at the King Power Stadium, but the Spaniard will hope the new manager swing works in his team's favour Monday.
Leicester are the team to beat right now, with the Foxes playing some outstanding football, even after that proverbial title pressure has been cranked up. While the likes of Arsenal and Manchester City have failed to cope with that pressure, Leicester City only seem to have embraced it, going from strength to strength.
This match against a Newcastle United side will be another big test, however, with Tottenham putting the pressure right back on Ranieri's side with a victory over Aston Villa Sunday. The gap between the two teams, after a 2-0 win for Spurs thanks to a Harry Kane double, is just two points, so Leicester cannot really afford to drop points against the Magpies.
"We're thinking (only) about Newcastle," Ranieri told the club's official website. "It's a difficult match because they're in a dangerous position. There are so many good players. I think it will be another difficult match because they are fighting to survive.
"I said there are five games and then I can say what we can do, but now we are focused on Newcastle. Three points against Newcastle are very important for us."
Newcastle are equally desperate for the three points, with Benitez's side currently second from bottom on 24 points from 28 matches. The gap to Sunderland, in 17th, is just a point, and the Magpies do have a game in hand over their local rivals â€" they have two over third bottom Norwich City.
How much Benitez can motivate his team, considering he just took over from Steve McLaren a few days ago, remains to be seen.
"We only have three sessions before the first game so it's going to be difficult against the team at the top of the table," Benitez told Newcastle's official website. "We've got a good staff here who are giving us all of the information that we need to prepare so hopefully we can do it.
"From what I've seen I know we have a very good group of players so we need to give them confidence and from them, I will expect 100 percent in every game. The players want to impress the new manager and they have the ability to do so. For now we have to be calm, but not too calm, and approach the games one at a time.
"Leicester is up next so all of our concentration is on this game."
Where to Watch Live
Leicester vs Newcastle is set to begin at 8 p.m. GMT (1.30 a.m. IST, 3 p.m. ET). Live TV coverage of the match in India will be on Star Sports 4 and HD4, while the match can also be watched via live streaming online on Hotstar and Starsports.com.
Viewers in Singapore can watch the match live on 104 mio, with live coverage of the game in Thailand on CTH.
Bein Sports Arabia 2 will broadcast the EPL match live in the Middle East and North Africa, while the action can also be live streamed on Bein Sports Connect.
NBCSN will broadcast the game live in the US, while the action can also be live streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra. Audience in Canada can watch the action live on Sportsnet, with the live streaming option on Watch Sportsnet.