Newcastle host Chelsea at St. James Park’ on Saturday afternoon in the Premier League. With the goals flowing at one end and clean sheets for Chelsea becoming a common sight, they will want to beat an inconsistent Newcastle side. Can Frank Lampard’s team move to the top of the table for a couple of hours at least?
Newcastle have been consistently inconsistent all season. Their Premier League results read Win-Loss-Draw then Win-Loss-Draw and now Win-Loss. If that trend continues then they will draw against Chelsea! Their last four matches have seen a 4-1 home loss to Man Utd, a 1-1 draw at Wolves, a 2-1 home win against Everton and then a 2-0 defeat at Southampton.
Newcastle Team News
Steve Bruce has several injury problems to deal with for this game. Martin Dubravka is missing in goal after surgery and Jonjo Shelvey is out after a hernia problem. In the attacking areas, Dwight Gayle, Matt Ritchie and Ryan Fraser are out injured and Callum Wilson is a major doubt and could also be absent.
One good piece of news is that Miguel Almirón was suspended for Paraguay’s second World Cup qualifier so he returned to Tyneside early and will be available to play in the forward areas.
Newcastle have been setting up in a 5-3-2 shape of late with plenty of players plugging holes in that system due to a lack of options in their injury-ravaged squad. A defensive, counter-attacking approach is likely by Steve Bruce and he should likely be very happy to take a draw from this game. With the pace of Almirón and Allan Saint-Maximin, Newcastle can be a very dangerous side on transitions.
After an iffy start to the season, with five draws and a defeat in the first nine matches, Chelsea have turned things around. With two wins in a row and five clean sheets in the last six, Frank Lampard has found a good balance to the side.
In regulation time, Chelsea have only last once all season in their 13 matches and that was with ten men to champions, Liverpool. The Blues have scored 14 times in their last four matches as a switch to 4-3-3 and the return of Hakim Ziyech has seen a much more creative approach.
Chelsea Team News
The biggest question marks for Chelsea are over three new signings. Brazil are played in the early hours of Wednesday morning in Uruguay. It is unlikely that 36-year-old centre back Thiago Silva will be recovered in time to play this match after missing the post-international game against Southampton a month ago. Ben Chilwell took a knock to the back on England duty but should be fit to play this game. Kai Havertz has been in quarantine after testing positive and experiencing symptoms of Covid-19. He should now be able to play again.
Chelsea will go all out to win this game. If the scores are level in the second half, expected Lampard to introduce fresh attackers and not settle for a point. A win takes the team top of the log at full time which should be a big incentive for the players.
Newcastle have lost 2 of their last 4 PL matches
The Magpies are 7 PL matches without a clean sheet
Chelsea are six PL matches unbeaten overall (3W, 3D)
Newcastle have scored in 5 of their last 6 PL matches
Chelsea have kept consecutive away PL clean sheets after a 12 game run on the road without one
Newcastle are 8 home PL matches without a clean sheet
Timo Werner has scored 7 goals in his last 5 matches for club and country and is now on penalty duty for Chelsea
Newcastle have seen over 2.5 goals in their last 7 home matches
Chelsea are 4 away PL games unbeaten, scoring 3 goals in 3 of those games
This will be a close fought game but Chelsea have enough win the match. I see both teams scoring.