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Premier League

  • 3 December 2011
  • • 12:45
  • • St. James' Park, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
  • Referee: M. Dean
  • • Attendance: 52305
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Newcastle United - Chelsea Preview: Andre Villas-Boas takes under pressure side north on the back of three defeats in last four games

The hosts have not lost a single game in the Premier League in their own backyard, as they welcome the Londoners, who have struggled to find consistency of late


PROBABLE LINEUPS

NEWCASTLE UNITED

Krul
Simpson, Taylor, Coloccini, Taylor
Obertan, Cabaye, Guthrie, Lovenkrands
Ben Arfa
Ba

CHELSEA
 
Cech
Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole
Ramires, Meireles, Lampard
Sturridge, Drogba, Mata

Newcastle United boss Alan Pardew will be without injury hit Sylvain Marveaux (groin), Cheick Tiote (knee) and Michael Williamson (ankle). Jonas Gutierrez is unavailable for this fixture as he will serve a one-match suspension for being sent off - following a second booking - in the previous game against Manchester United.

Meanwhile, Leon Best remains a doubt as he is recovering from a groin problem.

Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas does not have too many injury concerns to deal with, with long-term absentee Michael Essien (anterior cruciate ligament) and Josh McEachran (ankle) the only players who will miss the encounter at the Sports Direct Arena.

Goalkeeper Henrique Hilario is a doubt due to an illness, but he would not have started the game anyway.


DID YOU KNOW?

  • Newcastle United have locked horns with Chelsea 66 times at home, winning 34, losing 15 and drawing 17 matches in the process.
  • Pardew's men are placed seventh in the half-time table. This means that if all matches ended after the first period, then the Tyneside outfit would not be sitting on a European spot like they are now.
  • Demba Ba (pictured right) is currently in the Premier League top 10 scorers' list, with nine goals to his name.
  • Chelsea are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League games against Newcastle United.
  • But their recent form has been poor, as they have lost three of their last four matches in all competitions.
  • Villas-Boas' men have also been poor in defence this season, particularly on their travels. Prior to the recent 1-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers, the Blues had been unable to keep a clean sheet in their previous eight away games in the league.
Visit our Euro 2012 microsite for all you need to know ahead of Friday's draw and beyond - team profiles, stadium guides, even which hotels are best to stay in!

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Tim KrulGoalkeeper
25Danny SimpsonDefender
27Steven TaylorDefender
2Fabricio ColocciniDefender
16Ryan TaylorDefender
35Danny GuthrieMidfielder
6Yohan CabayeMidfielder
10Hatem Ben ArfaMidfielder
-Peter LovenkrandsStriker
25Gabriel ObertanStriker
9Demba BaStriker
22Stephen HarperGoalkeeper
3Davide SantonDefender
14James PerchMidfielder
15Dan GoslingMidfielder
20Leon BestStriker
23Shola AmeobiStriker
28Sammy AmeobiStriker
1Petr CechGoalkeeper
2Branislav IvanovicDefender
23David LuizDefender
26John TerryDefender
3Ashley ColeDefender
7RamiresMidfielder
6Oriol RomeuMidfielder
8Frank LampardMidfielder
15Daniel SturridgeStriker
11Didier DrogbaStriker
8Juan MataStriker
21Ross TurnbullGoalkeeper
3José BosingwaDefender
23Ryan BertrandDefender
15Florent MaloudaMidfielder
14Raúl MeirelesMidfielder
9Fernando TorresStriker
8Salomon KalouStriker
Players to Watch
Demba Ba
Demba Ba
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The former West Ham man has been fantastic for the Toon this season, and he will fancy his chances against a Chelsea side looking to right their wrongs in recent weeks.

The forward already has nine league goals to his name this campaign, and will relish taking on Chelsea's maligned high defensive line.
Petr Cech
Petr Cech
Position: Goalkeeper
Squad Number: 1
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
The goalkeeper will likely have to keep a clean sheet to prove the club's naysayers wrong, since recent weeks have been far from ideal from a defensive perspective.

The Blues have lost three of their last four matches in all competitions, and it will be up to the Czech Republic international to steady the ship by putting in a solid performance.
Prediction
Newcastle have the form whereas Chelsea have the squad, and the way both sides play should make this an entertaining contest.

Pardew's men are undefeated in the league at home this season, and that should continue, but their proud defensive record might take a battering from an attack-minded away team.
Editor's Prediction

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