Stamford Bridge, London
8th February 2014, 1500 GMT
Fresh from their derby day defeat to Sunderland, Newcastle make the journey south to Stamford Bridge to take on a Chelsea side in their best form of the season so far. The home side, having come of a huge win against City at Etihad will be going into this match with confidence on their side. These two teams have met on 147 previous occasions, 73 of those being at Stamford Bridge. Of those 73, Chelsea have won 41 while 20 have been draws. The last time these two sides met in November, Newcastle beat Chelsea 2-0 with goals from Gouffran and Remy sealing the points.
As mentioned earlier, Chelsea will come into this match with a huge boost given their performance and result against Manchester City on Monday night. The Blues out thought and outplayed the Citizens. Also, they will take heart from the fact that the clean sheets are also beginning to roll in. Jose Mourinho prides himself on his team’s defence wherever he goes and Chelsea is no different. After leaking goals earlier in the season, they have now conceded just 3 goals in the past 9 matches in all competitions. With significant movement in the transfer window, Chelsea will look to consolidate their lead over Liverpool and go closer to Arsenal and Man City.
Probably coming off the worst result possible against local rivals Sunderland, Newcastle will look to steady things. Having secured just one win and a draw out of their seven previous outings, Newcastle look desperate to find some form. Sitting in 8th place in the table with 37 points, the Toon look to be safe from relegation this season but the fans will be expecting more from their team. Their last win in the League came at West Ham more than 3 weeks ago.
Chelsea – Team news, lineup and formation
Unlike the last few seasons, Chelsea have been lucky on the injury front this season with only Marco van Ginkel and Fernando Torres on the injured list at the moment. On the suspension front as well, Mourinho has a full squad to choose from.
The Blues will be expected to line up in the now settled 4-2-3-1 formation. Matic, who was outstanding against City will be expected to start again. His defensive midfield partner – David Luiz – however will most likely make way for Oscar with Ramires slotting in to the DM role. Eto’o will be expected to lead the attack again in the absence of Torres. Knowing Mourinho over the years, a cheeky appearance by former Newcastle man Demba Ba also cannot be ruled out.
Chelsea have been in excellent form at Stamford Bridge this season having secured 32 out of a possible 36 points. They will look to continue this trend against Newcastle. Although they drew the last match at home against West Ham, the Blues faithful will be expecting a performance similar to the one they put in against City and hopefully for them, more goals.
Possible lineup (4-2-3-1): Cech (GK), Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry, Ivanovic; Matic, Ramires; Oscar, Hazard, Willian; Eto’o
Newcastle United – Team news, lineup and formation
Contrary to their opponents, Newcastle have a lot to contend with on the injury front. Pappis Cisse, Coloccini, Ryan Taylor, Obertna, Shola Ameobi and Yohan Gouffran are struggling to prove their fitness in time for the game. The latter two have an outside chance of making it while the former are all long term absentees. To add to their worries, Loic Remy is suspended for this game.
The Toon are expected to line up in their usual 4-3-3 formation with Tiote protecting the back four. New signing Siem De Jong may also be handed a debut in the middle of midfield. In the supposed absence for Shola, his younger brother Sammy Ameobi will be expected to lead the line in attack for Newcastle. Vernon Anita should also prove to be a handful for the in-form Chelsea defence.
Much will be expected of Luuk De Jong – the loan signing from Borussia Monchengladbach. The Toon Army will be hoping he turns out to be the saviour this season and hopefully guides the team to a meaningful position in the league.
Possible lineup (4-3-3): Krul (GK), Debuchy, Williamson, S.Taylor, Santon; Anita, Tiote, Sissoko; Ben Arfa, Sammy Ameobi, De Jong
Players to watch out for
Eden Hazard (Chelsea)
The Belgian put in a man of the match performance against Manchester City and much will be expected of him this time around too. The pacy winger has been an ever present figure in Mourinho’s teams given his willingness to attack as well as track back and defend. He is Chelsea’s leading goalscorer this season and will be looking to add to his tally this day.
Luuk De Jong (Newcastle)
The Toon new boy has been bought for one reason – goals. Although the Dutch international’s form at Gladbach has been patchy, his form at FC Twente suggests he has some pedigree. The Toon army will be willing him on to breach the fortress that is Stamford Bridge.
1. Newcastle have won three and lost one game in their last five away games. They have won three of the last four times against Chelsea in the Premier League.
2. Eden Hazard has the most number of dribbles (162) this season – more than any other player in the League.
3. Samuel Eto’o has seven goals from seven games at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle United
Newcastle have been a bogey team for Chelsea over the years but with the form the latter are in, they should be able to eke out a result and continue Mourinho’s unbeaten home run. Chelsea will be made to work hard for the points by the spirited Newcastle side.
Blast from the past
We look at Pappis Cisse’s wonder goal from this fixture two seasons ago.