Newcastle - Chelsea Preview: Off-colour Blues looking to end three-game winless run
Rafa Benitez's men surrendered a two-goal lead in the final five minutes of their last outing and face a Magpies side boosted by several arrivals in the January window
By Sam Wells
Debuchy, Taylor, Coloccini, Santon
Gouffran, Sissoko, Gutierrez
Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole
Mata, Oscar, Bertrand
Newcastle's squad remains riddled with injuries, with Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring), Dan Gosling (knee), Danny Simpson (toe), Ryan Taylor (knee) and Haris Vuckic (knee) all sidelined. However, given their ample spending in the January transfer window, the Magpies appear capable of fielding a strong side nonetheless.
Indeed, many of the players brought in over the past few weeks look set to feature against Chelsea as Alan Pardew seems ready to persevere with the same team that overcame Aston Villa 2-1 on Tuesday.
That does, however, appear to suggest that Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa will have to wait longer for his first start for his new club, after Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini both impressed against the Villans.
Rafa Benitez, meanwhile, is likely to rotate from the team that surrendered a two-goal lead to Reading, with Demba Ba set to be given the nod over Fernando Torres against his old club.
Petr Cech will be touch and go approaching kick-off as he attempts to recover from a knock in time to feature, though Benitez will no doubt be eager to have him back as soon as possible, particularly given Ross Turnbull's recent form.
John Terry could return at centre-back after playing 90 minutes against Brentford, whilst Branislav Ivanovic looks set to move to right-back with Cesar Azpilicuenta making way.
Chelsea are, however, missing two more influential figures as David Luiz (ankle) and Eden Hazard both remain ruled out, through injury and suspension respectively.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Papiss Cisse (pictured right) has scored two goals in four Premier League games since Demba Ba's departure - he had scored just three in 18 prior to his compatriot's move to Chelsea.
- Yohan Cabaye has scored five Premier League goals from outside the box since August 2011 - more than anyone else over that period of time.
- Newcastle have conceded in six of their last seven meetings with the visitors, losing their last encounter 2-0.
- The home side have also not managed to beat Chelsea at St. James Park since May 2006 - a 1-0 win courtesy of a goal from Titus Bramble.
- Rafa Benitez has taken 22 points from his 12 Premier League games at Chelsea; earlier this season, Di Matteo took 24 from twelve.
- Juan Mata, who may miss out here, has been involved in 17 goals (nine goals, eight assists) in 19 Premier League starts for Chelsea this season.
- Chelsea have opened the scoring 15 times in the Premier League this season, more than any other side.
- Frank Lampard has scored nine goals in eleven Premier League starts this season. He is 13/2 to score the last goal in the game with bet365.
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Top 3 Predictions
Newcastle 1-3 Chelsea FC
- 19.28 %
Newcastle 1-2 Chelsea FC
- 13.39 %
Newcastle 0-2 Chelsea FC
- 11.42 %
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Feb 8, 2014||Chelsea FC 3 - Newcastle 0|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Nov 2, 2013||Newcastle 2 - Chelsea FC 0|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Feb 2, 2013||Newcastle 3 - Chelsea FC 2|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||Aug 25, 2012||Chelsea FC 2 - Newcastle 0|
|England - Premier League (EPL)||May 2, 2012||Chelsea FC 0 - Newcastle 2|
|Mar 1, 2014||Hull 1 - Newcastle 4||EPL|
|Feb 23, 2014||Newcastle 1 - Aston Villa 0||EPL|
|Feb 12, 2014||Newcastle 0 - Tottenham 4||EPL|
|Feb 8, 2014||Chelsea FC 3 - Newcastle 0||EPL|
|Feb 1, 2014||Newcastle 0 - Sunderland 3||EPL|
Sissoko shone on his debut against Aston Villa, providing the assist for the Magpies' opener and generally troubling the opposition all evening long. Having arrived from Ligue 1 outfit Toulouse barely a week ago, it is most definitely too early to declare the signing of the 23-year-old a success, but his first moments in a Toon shirt most certainly boded well for times ahead.
The former Newcastle man returns to his old club hoping to add to a return of one goal in his last seven games which is paltry given his high standards. Whether he can rectify that by netting against his old team-mates will be key to both the player's confidence and the outcome of this game.
Prior to their win over Aston Villa, Newcastle had lost five of their previous six games, while Chelsea have managed just two wins from their previous seven. However, the hosts have been boosted by their numerous January arrivals and may trouble a Blues side whose confidence is currently low.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed