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LEICESTER: “And now you’re going to believe us, we’re going to win the league.”

The cry from the Newcastle United fans at the King Power Stadium was loud and clear; the message from the pitch will be heeded in London, Manchester, and beyond.

A Chris Wood penalty, another memorable Miguel Almiron strike, and a first of the season for Joelinton in a first-half blitz put Leicester City to the sword and saw the Magpies climb up to second in the Premier League table.

Just 12 months ago, almost to the day, United were hammered 4-0 at the same venue, pushing them deeper into the relegation mire.

What a difference a year makes: a seven-goal swing, and United never really got out of second gear.

Eddie Howe is building an empire at Newcastle United, one seemingly built on solid, PIF-funded foundations.

Many wondered how the Magpies would return from the break, whether momentum would be lost due to the mid-season World Cup.

Howe & Co answered those critics emphatically with an impressive dismantling of Brendan Rodgers’ side, one of the top flight’s pre-Qatar form teams.

Break? It was business as usual for United who, although unchanged from the side who beat Chelsea last time out in the Premier League, did name a starting XI with one surprise omission in the East Midlands.

England frontman Callum Wilson was again absent, as he has been all too often in the last few seasons, and it was an illness which meant he did not travel with his fellow Magpies.

He is expected to be fit for the visit of Leeds United on Dec. 31, but his teammates did not miss him one bit as they raced into the lead within two minutes.

Wood netted from the spot after Joelinton had been felled in the area by Daniel Amartey. The striker is making quite a name for himself as United’s “Mr Reliable” from 12 yards.

In a blistering opening quarter, United blew away their shellshocked hosts away as Almiron hit his ninth of the season, finishing a sublime move from back to front.

Showing shades of the late Diego Maradona, Bruno Guimaraes won the ball and got away from his marker in his own half before launching a swift assault down the right.

Kieran Trippier then teased over the top to Almiron, who played a quick-fire one-two with Guimaraes, and the finish was sublime as the Paraguayan underlined why he is one of the most feared attackers in the top flight at present.

The first sign of real danger for Newcastle came in the 23rd minute as Patson Daka broke United’s high line after a Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall pass, but Nick Pope was equal to it, diving to deny the Zambian before the ball ricocheted back off the striker and the impressive Sven Botman swept up to clear the danger.

That Leicester advance was a rarity, though, as United continued to dominate. They made it 3-0 when a Trippier corner from the right was powered home with bullet-like accuracy from Joelinton.

Goalscorer Wood rounded off the half by chipping on to the roof of the net before boos rang around the ground at half-time, such was the visitors’ dominance.

The Foxes emerged after the break to an increasingly sparse stadium, but did show resilience in the face of defeat as they arguably had their best spell. It was, of course, all too little, too late.

Substitute Jamie Vardy crossed for Harvey Barnes but the wideman failed to connect and, with that, the home side’s hopes faded.

In typical United fashion — with the club boasting the best defense in the league, and the fourth-ranked attack — they closed this one out with relative ease, shutting down the hosts and ensuring the three points headed north. This was their sixth win on the bounce in all competitions.

It still seems highly unlikely that Newcastle will sustain their title challenge, but the consolation prize for a failed title challenge might just turn out to be Champions League qualification. And it is fair to say no one would have turned that down at the start of the season.

While some outsiders may not truly believe honors can be gained this season, belief could not be higher in the United camp.

This kind of performance can only serve to convert some of United’s non-believers.

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