BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson predicts Leicester v Newcastle, as Benitez looks for debut success

Mark Lawrenson believes Leicester City will beat Newcastle 2-0 tonight.

Pundit Mark Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he thinks Leicester City will beat Newcastle United 2-0 at the King Power Stadium this evening

Leicester head into the game two points clear at the top of the Premier League table after Tottenham's 2-0 win over Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon, but can take their lead back out to five points with a win tonight.

The Foxes are moving ever closer to an unexpected, historic title victory under Claudio Ranieri, and know that their fate is in their own hands - but whilst Newcastle may seem like a great fixture considering their recent form, it's now a potential banana skin thanks to Rafael Benitez's arrival.

The Spaniard, 55, left Real Madrid in January but is back in management, having taken the Newcastle job on Friday afternoon, just hours after Steve McClaren had been sacked by the Magpies.

Benitez arrives with Newcastle second bottom of the Premier League table after five defeats in the last six games, but are only one point away from safety, meaning a shock win at the King Power Stadium would lift them out of the bottom three and give them a major boost.

The presence of Benitez - an experienced, shrewd tactician with Premier League experience having managed Liverpool and Chelsea - makes this an intriguing clash, and pundit Mark Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he expects title-challenging Leicester to come away with a 2-0 win.

"Newcastle face a very tough task on Monday," said Lawrenson. "Leicester have got an air about them that says they think they can win the league. They have continued to pick up points without playing well and results have been going their way, which will help convince their players they can do it. I want them to win it too - they have played the best football and they have tried to win every game, even when they have been behind - and they are destined to be champions."

"It would be great if they won it by something like six points so people cannot say they have nicked it, but those who say this is the biggest turnaround by a team in the space of a year are wrong. The best achievement like that was when Nottingham Forest won the title as a newly promoted team in 1978. That usurps Leicester, but only just," he added.

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