Chelsea play hosts to Newcastle United on Monday, hoping to continue their excellent start under new manager Thomas Tuchel.
Chelsea have enjoyed a blistering start under the leadership of Thomas Tuchel, having yet to taste a single defeat so far. They are heading into their Monday night fixture against Newcastle United on the back of a four-game winning run in all competitions that has fired them back into the top four contention in the Premier League.
The Blues’ latest triumph came against Barnsley in the FA Cup, where they were far from impressive and had major difficulties in churning out a 1-0 victory. The game echoed many problems Chelsea still face, especially in terms of chance-creation in the final third – something Newcastle United could capitalise on, in their bid to cause an upset on Monday.
The Magpies had endured a miserable start to 2021, but have made a decent recovery following their wins over Everton and Southampton. Six points out of a possible nine have pushed them out of the relegation scrap, with the Magpies now leading 18th placed Fulham by a ten-point margin.
However, Steve Bruce’s men cannot afford to be complacent, knowing the Cottagers do have a game in hand. Chelsea, in contrast, are hoping to make it five wins in five in all competitions that would see them over Liverpool in the league table. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of this exciting fixture in the Premier League on Monday.
Team News & Tactics
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 14, 2021
Thomas Tuchel is expected to ring in the changes to the side that faced Barnsley in midweek. The German has received positive updates on the fitness of both Timo Werner and Andreas Christensen, although he may once again miss out on the services of Thiago Silva and Kai Havertz.
Christensen should slot right back into the three-man backline, ahead of Kurt Zouma. The Dane has enjoyed a fresh start at Stamford Bridge following the arrival of Tuchel and the subsequent injury of Silva. But, the former Gladbach defender needs to impress the onlookers with his game-reading abilities if he is to retain his place in the side along with Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rudiger.
There could be further changes in the defensive unit with Kepa Arrizabalaga making way for Edouard Mendy in goal while Tuchel is also likely to shuffle his wing-backs by bringing in Reece James and Ben Chilwell, at the expense of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Marcos Alonso.
N’Golo Kante has struggled to establish himself as a first-team regular under Tuchel as of yet, which means Mateo Kovacic should once again get the nod in central midfield alongside Jorginho in the double-pivot. Jorginho has been one of few players who has reinvigorated himself under the new coach. He has offered stability and assurance in possession that could be pivotal as the Blues look to secure yet another victory on Monday.
And finally, in the attacking unit, Christian Pulisic might just retain his place in the starting eleven, though the same cannot be said for Hakim Ziyech, especially with Mason Mount pushing for a start. The Chelsea attack should be spearheaded by Timo Werner, though it won’t be surprising to see him play as a wide attacker with Tammy Abraham operating in the number nine role.
Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Mendy; Azpilicueta, Christensen, Rudiger; James, Jorginho, Kovacic, Chilwell; Pulisic, Mount; Werner
Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce has been dealt with a massive blow this week as Callum Wilson, Javier Manquillo and Fabian Schar have all been ruled out with long-term injuries. Federico Fernandez and Jamaal Lascelles have returned to training but are racing against time to be fit by Monday, though we do expect the latter to recover.
The club captain’s services will be required in central defence where Bruce’s newly implemented 4-3-1-2 setup should see him and Ciaran Clark operate deep in their box, hoping to frustrate the Chelsea attackers. Manquillo’s absence, meanwhile, could pave the way for Emil Krafth to return to the setup while Jamal Lewis remains a starter on the opposite flank.
— Newcastle United FC (@NUFC) February 11, 2021
In midfield, Isaac Hayden is set to operate in his usual number six position. But his services could be required in central defence should Lascelles fail to recover in time, in which case Matty Longstaff could earn a start, especially with Jeff Hendrick suspended.
For the time being, Hayden looks likely to form the midfield trio alongside Jonjo Shelvey and new signing Joe Willock, who has added the missing creativity in the middle of the park since joining from Arsenal. It will be interesting to see how he fares against a top-quality side like Chelsea on Monday.
Miguel Almiron is set to continue in the number ten position, though it won’t be surprising to see the attacker joining Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton in the first line of press. During defensive phases, he could slot back into midfield, creating a situational 4-4-2 that should offer better protection for goalkeeper Karl Darlow.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Darlow; Krafth, Lascelles, Clark, Lewis; Willock, Hayden, Shelvey; Almiron; Joelinton, Saint-Maximin
1. Chelsea Clean Sheet – YES @ 1.72
1. Correct Scoreline – Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle @ 6.50
- Timo Werner has gone 14 league appearances without a goal since scoring against Sheffield United on 7 November.
- With Callum Wilson injured and Jeff Hendrick suspended, Miguel Almiron is the only available Newcastle player who has scored more than one league goal this season.
- Newcastle have won two of their past three Premier League games, in contrast to two victories in their previous 13.
- Olivier Giroud scored eight goals in his first six Premier League appearances versus Newcastle (all for Arsenal) but has failed to add to that tally in seven subsequent league matches against the Magpies.
- Newcastle United have lost seven successive top-flight games at Stamford Bridge, scoring three goals and conceding 18.
Player to Watch
Timo Werner has now accumulated 4.78(xG) since his last Premier League goal.
— The xG Philosophy (@xGPhilosophy) February 11, 2021
Timo Werner is still yet to find his feet in the Premier League and while the attacker has shown glimpses of his talents as well as providing a lot of running and work ethic in the final third, the productivity has been missing. It might come to a point where the German might get axed from the first-team, especially with Tammy Abraham doing quite well for himself in front of goal.
The Monday evening fixture against Newcastle United, therefore, could be a vital game for Werner as he looks to find his scoring roots. The onus will also be on Thomas Tuchel to find the right position for him in the starting eleven, with the former RB Leipzig star best suited in a supporting role, behind the main striker, judging by his performances in the Bundesliga.
The Magpies have a depleted defensive unit that is unlikely to do well. The rest will be up to Werner, who is definitely one to watch out for in this crucial Premier League match-up.
Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle United
Chelsea have appeared rock solid in defence under Thomas Tuchel so we do expect the Blues to keep yet another clean sheet on Monday, especially against a Newcastle United side that is missing Callum Wilson in their frontline. The German tactician is still finding a way to get the best out of his attacking players, but it won’t be surprising to see the London giants sealing a relatively comfortable 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge in this one.