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Premier League

  • 28 November 2010
  • • 13:30
  • • St. James' Park, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Referee: A. Marriner
  • • Attendance: 46469
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Newcastle United - Chelsea Preview: Chris Hughton without banned Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson & Joey Barton

Newcastle United - Chelsea Preview: Chris Hughton without banned Fabricio Coloccini, Mike Williamson & Joey Barton

TEAM NEWS

Newcastle

Newcastle are paying for some serious ill-discipline as they will be missing both first-choice central defenders - Fabricio Collocini and Mike Williamson - who are both serving three-match suspensions following misdemeanours against Bolton last weekend. 

Joey Barton will be continuing his suspension for his assault on Morten Gamst Pedersen two weeks ago. Cheik Tiote, however, is back from his ban and is very likely to come back into the team. 

It could well be Sol Campbell and Steven Taylor who come in at the back, both to make their first league starts of the season.

Newcastle’s long-term injuries continue in the form of Dan Gosling, Hatem Ben Arfa, Steve Harper and Ryan Taylor.

Probable starting XI: Krul; Simpson, Campbell, Taylor, Jose Enrique; Routledge, Tiote, Nolan, Gutierrez; Carroll, Ameobi.

Chelsea

Chelsea’s key long-term injuries continue to plague them as well as John Terry, Frank Lampard and Yossi Benayoun remain sidelined.

Yuri Zhirkov has joined them in the treatment room and is very unlikely to play, whilst influential midfielder Michael Essien remains suspended.

Alex is available now for the Blues though, which will give their defence a more recognisable structure.

Probable starting XI: Cech; Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Alex, Cole; Ramires, Mikel, Malouda; Kalou, Anelka, Drogba.

Chelsea need points to hold on to top-spot

With Manchester United and Arsenal both playing a day before Chelsea, it is likely that the Blues will be off the top for the first time in months by the start of this clash, and they are likely to need a win to regain their position as league leaders; defeat could see them crash to third.  Having lost their last two Premier League games, a third would really be seen as a crisis at Stamford Bridge as they have not suffered three straight league defeats for eleven years.

Newcastle have been free scorers at home so far this season with fifteen goals from seven games, however this has only yielded two wins, and manager Chris Hughton will be desperate to improve their record at St. James’ Park. With a win and other results going their way, the Magpies could rise to seventh in the table, cementing their impressive return to the Premier League.

Unstoppable force meets the immovable object

As mentioned, Newcastle have had no problem scoring goals at home this season, and when the two teams met at Stamford Bridge earlier this year in the Carling Cup, the Magpies scored four and eliminated Chelsea from the competition. 

However, in their last six Premier League meetings, Newcastle have mustered only one goal, which will temper their optimism somewhat. One of these contrasting records will have to be reinforced, but it’s hard to say which one is more likely with the inconsistent form both teams are showing.

The absence of their regular central defenders may cause the Toon to embellish their unwanted records of conceding the most penalties so far this season (five), and receiving the most yellow cards (31).

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Players to watch

A. Carroll

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

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It’s the obvious choice, but he really has been superb up front for Newcastle this season.  His immense physical presence has been too much to handle for many Premier League defenders and he has scored more than anyone could have expected in his first season in the league as a regular in the first team.  His battle with Alex on Sunday really will be a clash of the Titans, but with the Brazilian lacking match fitness Carroll could well get the better of him.

D. Drogba

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

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The Drog has been a little below his best recently since coming back from injury and illness, but it’s only a matter of time until he rediscovers his best, and it could well be at St. James’ Park.  With Campbell and Taylor not at full fitness or match sharpness, it could be a perfect opportunity for the Ivorian to pounce on any indecision or slight lack of speed (either across the pitch or of thought) shown by the stand-in defenders. There could well be some goals for Drogba on Sunday.

Editor's Prediction

It is likely to be an exciting game as Newcastle are not afraid to attack teams, especially at home, and against a team who they will see as susceptible and there for the taking following their defeats to Sunderland and Birmingham. 

The Magpies will really take the game to Chelsea, try and over-run them in midfield and expose their defence by battering them with the physicality of Carroll and Ameobi. 

However, whether the Newcastle defence will be able to deal with Drogba, Anelka, Kalou and Malouda, especially on the counter-attack, is quite doubtful.  I see some goals in this game and a fairly even one as well.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Newcastle United

Chelsea

Wins
1
1
3
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Newcastle United FC NEW
Newcastle United FC Newcastle United
Draw
Chelsea FC CHE
Chelsea FC Chelsea
22%
70%

Top 3 Predictions

Newcastle United FC NEW
1 - 3
Chelsea FC CHE
Newcastle United FC NEW
0 - 2
Chelsea FC CHE
Newcastle United FC NEW
1 - 2
Chelsea FC CHE

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