Chelsea faces a second consecutive away match this weekend when they travel to St James Park to take on Newcastle United. Following the dramatic late surrender of two points, on Wednesday night, against Reading, Chelsea supporters will be hoping that Rafa Benitez can pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat and orchestrate a turnaround in our fortunes, although I wouldn`t bet on it.
The Magpies will be looking to build on the vital win at Villa Park during the week, which was their first win in their last six. Moussa Sissoko and Yoan Gouffran are expected to their make home debuts.
After failing to perform consistently with many blaming Chelsea’s gruelling schedule over the past two months, Benitez could be forced to rotate, which could see Demba Ba start against his old club, for the first time since his transfer last month.
Despite bringing in six reinforcements in the transfer window, Alan Pardew still has a lot of squad selection issues to deal with. Hatem Ben Arfa, Dan Gosling, Danny Simpson and Ryan Taylor will miss the game due to injuries. Cheick Tiote is unavailable as he is still on international duty at the AFCON with Ivory Coast.
John Terry could return to captain the side in the league after successfully coming through 90 minutes of action against Brentford in the FA cup last week. Juan Mata picked up knock in the draw against Reading and could miss out.
Probable Lineups :
Debuchy, Taylor, Coloccini, Santon
Gouffran, Sissoko, Gutierrez
Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole
Mata, Oscar, Bertrand
Key Stats :
- 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 has conceded in six of their last seven meetings with the visitors, losing its last encounter 2-0.
- The home side has 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 12.
- 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 has opened the scoring 15 times in the Premier League this season, more than any other side.
- Frank Lampard has scored nine goals in 11 Premier League starts this season.
As we head off towards St James Park, and a difficult fixture against Alan Pardew`s Newcastle United, perhaps our Spanish full back, Cesar Azpilicueta has hit the nail on the head when, in an interview with the media, he`s commented about teams not fearing us, remarking,
“When you win you get more respect. Teams will be scared of us when we start winning games in a row.”
Draw : 1-1.