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Premier League

  • May 2, 2012
  • • 19:45
  • • Stamford Bridge, London
  • Referee: M. Halsey
  • • Attendance: 41559
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Chelsea - Newcastle Preview: Stamford Bridge showdown sees both sides chasing top-four spot

As the hunt for a Champions League place reaches its conclusion, both teams will be searching for an invaluable win to reignite their hopes of finishing in the top four

  PROBABLE LINEUPS

CHELSEA

Cech
Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole
Ramires, Mikel, Lampard
Sturridge, Torres, Mata

NEWCASTLE

Krul
Simpson, Williamson, Coloccini, Santon
Obertan, Ben Arfa, Tiote, Gutierrez
Ba, Cisse


Fernando Torres is set to continue upfront for the Blues, after scoring an impressive hat-trick in the 6-1 victory over QPR on Sunday.

Roberto Di Matteo will be without centre-backs David Luiz (hamstring) and Gary Cahill (hamstring), but Branislav Ivanovic returns from suspension and is likely to slot in, with Jose Bosingwa moving to right-back.

Alan Pardew remains hopeful on the fitness of first-team regulars Danny Simpson and Yohan Cabaye, after both picked up minor knocks in the 4-0 defeat by Wigan.

Gabriel Obertan is poised to make a return to Premier League action following a three game absence due to an ankle injury, while Sylvain Marveaux (groin), Steven Taylor (Achilles) and Peter Lovenkrands (thigh) all remain on the long-term absentee list.

  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Chelsea would still qualify for next season's Champions League even if they don't finish in the top four, providing they win the final against Bayern Munich.
  • Fernando Torres has got four goals in his last two games, including a vital equaliser against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final, and a hat-trick against QPR.
  • Sunday's 6-1 victory over QPR was the Blues' highest-scoring match this season.
  • Newcastle were on a run of six consecutive league wins before crashing to a 4-0 defeat by Wigan Athletic at the weekend.
  • Yohan Cabaye has created the most chances of any Newcastle players this season, with the Frenchman carving out 45 goal-scoring opportunities.

Players to watch

Fernando Torres

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

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With the Champions League final looming on May 19, Fernando Torres is timing his return to form perfectly, as the Spaniard looks to secure a permanent spot in Roberto Di Matteo's starting lineup.

Scoring four goals in your last two games isn't a bad way to go about it, including an impressive hat-trick last time out against QPR. It wasn't so long ago that a parched Torres simply couldn't find the back of the net, without so much as a sip. Now the goals are flowing, along with his long, golden locks.

H. Ben Arfa

Position: Midfielder

Games: 0

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Previously infuriating as he was talented, the former Lyon man has added a vital consistency to his game this season, in recent weeks Ben Arfa has even declared his ambitions on becoming the world's best player.

And with Pardew drawing parallels between the Frenchman and a certain Lionel Messi, perhaps it is not the most farfetched opinion. Chelsea will need to be acutely aware of the 25-year-old's movements, but they did manage to keep Messi silent recently.

Editor's Prediction

Newcastle have been in scintillating form lately, until they came to earth with a bump at Wigan on Saturday with a 4-0 drubbing. The meteoric resurgence of Roberto Di Matteo's Blues should be too much for a Newcastle team looking to bounce back, though.

Expect a nervy encounter, as both sides may have a potential Champions League spot weighing heavy on the mind, but with every single gun on the Chelsea ship blazing, I expect them to capsize a resilient Newcastle team.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Chelsea

Newcastle United

Wins
2
0
3
Wins

Betting & Predictions

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