St. James’ Park, Newcastle

November 2, 2013; 12:45 PM (GMT)


MatchDay nine in the Barclays Premier League brought contrasting fortunes for Chelsea and Newcastle United,  the adversaries at St. James’ Park on Saturday. In two outstanding football games, Chelsea emerged victorious over Manchester City courtesy Fernando Torres, who is finally walking down the long road to redemption with a firm gait, whereas a couple hundred miles up in the North East, Sunderland struck the boot into Newcastle United with a late belter from Fabio Borini.

The passion and energy on display in the stands at the Stadium of Light once again affirmed Tyne and Wear Derby’s status as one of the foremost games in the English Football calendar, and one of the very few ‘truly English’ games left around. And so on to tomorrow’s game, where a victory for Chelsea could take them to the top of the table with Arsenal facing off against Liverpool later, while a familiar result for Newcastle United might help restore some sense of semblance at Tyne-side.

Newcastle United – Team news, Lineup and Formation

Newcastle United’s form has been anything but consistent this season and a demoralizing defeat at Wearside could not have possibly been followed up with a more difficult contest. The injuries and doubtfuls’ list is hardly going to be of any help to Alan Pardew either. Fabricio Coloccini and Ryan Taylor are out injured while Steven Taylor and Paul Dummet will be on doubtful list.

Pardew will be expected to field his Newcastle United side in the familiar 4-2-3-1 formation. A taxing midweek encounter in the League cup means there will be changes to the losing side that started against Manchester City. Tim Krul will be the familiar face between the sticks, assisted by a back four of Mathieu Debuchy, Michael Williamson, Yanga-Mbiwa and Davide Santon returning to the starting line-up.

In the middle of the park, Vurnon Anita will almost certainly make way for the formidable duo Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote. There will be changes in the attacking third too, with star men Loic Remy and Hatem Ben Arfa taking their place on the wings and Shola Ameobi through the middle. Papiss Cisse, who scored that bummer of a goal at Stamford Bridge a couple of seasons ago, will again be leading the line for Newcastle United.

The Geordies will, however, present their most potent threat from the wings. The battle between Loic Remy and Branislav Ivanovic, the latter on an especially remarkable run of form, will be the one to watch out for alongwith the one taking place in the middle. Frank Lampard has been found wanting against the more dynamic midfields at times, and yet it would be hard to predict the winner between the duo of Tiote-Cabaye and Lampard-Ramires.

Newcastle Expected Line-ups (4-2-3-1): Krul (GK); Debuchy, Williamson, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon; Cabaye, Tiote; Ben Arfa, Ameobi, Remy; Cisse

Newcastle v Chelsea Lineup And Formation

Newcastle v Chelsea Expected Lineup And Formation

Chelsea – Team news, Lineup and Formation

The League cup encounter between Chelsea and Arsenal, although contested between more fringe than first team players, provided an insight into who might come out trumps come the end of the season. Chelsea were assured in possession and well organized without it, stifling most of what Arsenal could muster up. Juan Mata showed his class and made a case for himself, while Azpilicueta scored his first Chelsea goal much to the delight of travelling Blue horde. The Blues are certainly the in-form team right now with six consecutive wins on the trot.

Jose Mourinho does not have any selection headaches ahead of the fixture, with van Ginkel the only absentee. There will, however, be a plethora of changes to the side that emerged triumphant at Emirates. Petr Cech will resume his duties between the posts, while the back-line would witness the return of Captain John Terry, Ivanovic and Ashley Cole, alongside Gary Cahill who seems to be getting ahead in the race between him and David Luiz for Terry’s partner in the heart of Chelsea defence.

Ramires and Frank Lampard will return too, hoping to continue with what has gradually emerged as Chelsea’s best midfield partnership over the last season. It will be interesting to observe these two take on the dynamic duo of Tiote and Cabaye. Surprises could be expected in the attacking third. Juan Mata might well be dropped to the bench again, as Mourinho will be looking to shore up his team’s defensive capabilities against an opponent that will come out at them from the word go, more so in a raucous home environment. Eden Hazard and Andre Schuerrle will, consequently, be featuring on the flanks. The contest between Hazard and Debuchy, two players on top of their game, could well decide the outcome.

Oscar will resume his duties in the #10 role and will be expected to help Ramires and Lampard keep tabs on Newcastle United’s midfield. All eyes, however, will be on the Man of the Moment, Fernando Torres. The Spaniard has recast himself under Mourinho and is firing on all cylinders. He will be on a high after scoring that winner against Manchester City and will be the undisputed choice for the centre-forward’s role.

Chelsea Expected Line-Up (4-2-3-1): Cech (GK), Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Lampard; Hazard, Oscar, Schuerrle; Torres

Key Facts

  • Chelsea are undefeated in 16 of their last 17 matches in the Premier League.
  • Chelsea have won their last 6 and are undefeated their last 9 fixtures overall.
  • There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Chelsea’s last 3 games in the Premier League.
  • Jose Mourinho has now crossed the double century mark with Chelsea. Took charge of his 200th game in the League cup encounter against Arsenal.

Player to watch out for

ChelseaFernando Torres is TheHardTackle’s player to watch out and it would frankly be a little crass to suggest anything otherwise. In the form of his Chelsea career, Fernando is one of the highest scoring strikers in Europe at this stage of the season and his getting back to the form his finest Liverpool days. Expect the Spaniard to get in among the goals on Saturday.


Newcastle United 1-2 Chelsea

Newcastle United will be anything but pass-overs, in spite of their recent run of form but Chelsea would nevertheless be aiming to walk away with all three points. The game also presents Chelsea with the opportunity to go top of the table, before Arsenal take on Liverpool, where the Gunners might slip up in the Premier League at last.

Blast from the Past