Chelsea will look to bounce back to winning ways after a disappointing two all draw with relegation fighters Reading at the Majeski stadium midweek when they square up with a French riddled, new look Newcastle United at St. James park on Saturday. The two sides have been on a poor run of form lately which was highlighted even more with Chelsea conceding two late goals against Reading through an Adam Le Fondre inspired fightback culminating in what has been a rather disappointing spell under the much maligned Rafa Benitez.
Newcastle on the other hand got into winning ways after their hard fought 2-1 win over Aston Villa, their first win in several games. The magpies have only won three of the last ten league games picking up 24 points from 24 games this season and seats 15th on the log table while Chelsea seat 3rd with 46 points from as many games as the Alan Pardew tutored side. Newcastle will be keen to get their season back on track after a decent French dominated signings during the January transfer window.
Alan Pardew will look to maintain the same starting lineup he used against Aston Villa with French new recruits Debuchy, Gouffran and Sissoko making their second appearance while compatriot Yanga-Mbiwa starts from the bench.
Chelsea will welcome Petre Cech back to the fold after missing their last two games due to a thigh injury to replace the unimpressive Ross Turnbull. Ivanovic and Torres will likely make way for Terry and Ba with the later up to face the team he left barely a month ago. David Luiz remain out injured while Eden Hazard will not feature as he completes the 3rd of his 3 match ban which the FA has deemed good enough punishment for his violent conduct after kicking a 17 year old ball boy Charlie Morgan during Chelsea’s capital one cup game against Swansea city at the Liberty stadium. Mikel and Mosses are with Nigeria at the AFCON 2013 in South Africa so will not be available for selection in this game.
PROBABLE STARTING XI
NEWCASTLE: Tim Krul, Debuchy, S. Taylor, Coloccini, Santon, Perch, Cabaye, Gouffran, Sissoko, Gutierrez, Cisse.
CHELSEA : Cech, Aspilicueta, Cahill, Terry, A. Cole, Lampard, Ramirez, Oscar, Mata, Betrand, Ba.
Newcastle have only won one out of their last six games in all competition, loosing four and drawing one in the process. Chelsea on the other hand have only won two out of their last six league games, the rest being stalemates. The blues however, have not lost in their last six league games away from home, winning five and drawing one. Newcastle and Chelsea have met 128 times in all competition with Chelsea having a slight edge over the Tyneside outfit. 52 wins for Chelsea against Newcastle’s 42 with 34 draws between both sides. However, in the Barclays’ Premier league era Chelsea has beating Newcastle 20 times, loosing 10 times and drawing 11.
The highest goal margin win between the two sides was a 5-0 thrashing of Newcastle at SW6 9th. Oct. 2003 under Claudio Ranieri with goals from Glen Johnson, Hernan Crespo, Frank Lampard, Damien Duff and Eidur Gudjohnson. Frank Lampard and John Terry are the only surviving member of both squad.
Last season, Newcastle finish above Chelsea on the log table for the first time in the Roman Abramovic era. This match promise to be an end to end game with a whole lot of skills and talents on display but the tactics and approach to the game from the technical area will be key to winning this game by any of the sides. So fans will be treated to the best of football savor come Saturday 2nd Feb. 15:00 GMT at the St. James park.
Written by Kc Emmanuels