Chelsea - Newcastle Preview: Magpies seek to maintain impressive recent record at Stamford Bridge
The visitors have not lost at the west London ground in their last four matches and the Blues’ last defeat in front of their home fans was at the hands of Alan Pardew's men
By Miles Chambers
Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole
Lampard, Mikel, Ramires
Hazard, Torres, Mata
Simpson, Coloccini, S Taylor, Santon
Ben Arfa, Tiote, Cabaye, Gutierrez
Chelsea could choose to make just the one change if David Luiz (knee) recovers from the injury which kept him out of the 4-2 midweek win over Reading. If not then Roberto Di Matteo will have no qualms in keeping Gary Cahill in the starting line-up.
Oscar and Daniel Sturridge will be pushing for a starting berth but the solid performances of Fernando Torres, Juan Mata and, especially, Eden Hazard mean they are unlikely to get their first start of the season this Saturday. Summer signing Marko Marin (hamstring) remains sidelined until September.
Newcastle will probably field the 4-4-2 formation which they started the Tottenham win with last weekend, although the Alan Pardew has the option to switch it to a 4-3-3 as he did in the second-half of the Premier League opener.
Shola Ameobi and his younger brother Sammy Ameobi (both hamstring) deplete the club’s striking options but Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba are expected to be fit for the Chelsea clash.
Fabio Coloccini (thigh), however, has recovered and is likely to captain the Magpies at Stamford Bridge. Full-back Ryan Taylor scored in the club's Thursday night Europa League 1-1 draw with Atromitos but is unlikely to usurp Danny Simpson or Davide Santon's positions this weekend.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
Chelsea top the table heading into this Premier League clash because of their game in hand over 18 of the other 19 teams in the division. They have six points following a 2-0 away win at Wigan Athletic and a 4-2 home win on Wednesday over Reading.
Eden Hazard (pictured right) has five assists to his name in the first two matches of the season for the Blues. These include winning two penalties for Frank Lampard to clinically convert in consecutive games.
- In their last four games (going into pre-season friendlies), Roberto Di Matteo's side have conceded eight goals, including three against Brighton and Hove Albion and two at home to Reading.
Newcastle United are unbeaten in their last four visits to Stamford Bridge - two league draws, one league win and one League Cup victory (a 4-3 thriller).
- The Tyneside club have won five of their last 11 away matches in the league. The other six matches were all defeats - their most recent league draw away from the Sports Direct Arena was November 26 last year when they drew 1-1 with Manchester United.
- The hosts on Saturday made two changes to their midweek line-up; the visitors this weekend made 10 changes, with only Cisse starting both the Tottenham win and the Atromitos draw.
Papiss Cisse scored one of the goals of the season in this fixture late last season when Newcastle conquered the soon-to-be-Champions-League-winners 2-0. In fact, Alan Pardew’s men were the last team to beat the Blues at their west London home.
Hatem Ben Arfa’s optimistic delusions aside, Newcastle United are not expected to challenge for the Premier League title unlike Chelsea. However, the north-east club finished ahead (fifth) of the Blues (sixth) last season.
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Top 3 Predictions
Chelsea FC 3-1 Newcastle United
- 23.65 %
Chelsea FC 2-1 Newcastle United
- 14.64 %
Chelsea FC 2-0 Newcastle United
- 12.85 %
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|12||John Obi Mikel||Midfielder|
|10||Hatem Ben Arfa||Midfielder|