Newcastle United welcome Chelsea to St James' Park in the Premier League on Saturday as the Blues look to stay ahead in the race for Champions League qualification.
Frank Lampard has enjoyed a largely successful return to Stamford Bridge and his youthful side currently reside in fourth place, six points behind high-flying Leicester in third and five points ahead of Manchester United in fifth.
Newcastle also enjoyed a positive first half of the 2019/20 season and the fruits of their labour see them sit 13th in the table, five points clear of the relegation zone. Despite recent injury woes, Steve Bruce continues to get decent results, going three games in all competitions without defeat.
The Magpies have not tasted victory over Chelsea since a 3-0 thumping in May 2018 and will be aiming to record just their second win in ten against the Blues.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Saturday 18 January|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||17:30 (GMT)|
|Where Is it Played?||St James' Park|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Sky Sports Premier League HD|
It's no secret that Newcastle are having a torrid time with injuries this season. It seems like for every player who returns, another visits the treatment room.
The Magpies were able to name Jetro Willems and Jonjo Shlevey on the bench in their 4-1 FA Cup third round replay victory over Rochdale, while Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie returned to the starting XI following long-term injuries.
However, Javi Manquillo, Jack Colback, Paul Dummett and Dwight Gayle are definitely out, while DeAndre Yedlin, Fabian Schär, Yoshinori Muto, Ki Sung-yeung and Allan Saint-Maximin are all doubts.
Chelsea's Ruben Loftus-Cheek remains out with an Achilles injury, while Christian Pulisic is hoping to recover from his adductor injury, though he remains a doubt for Saturday's fixture.
Marcos Alonso has a chance of making the match day squad after recovering from a glute muscle injury which kept him sidelined since December.
|Newcastle:||Dubravka; Hayden, Fernández, Lascelles, Lejeune, Willems; Ritchie, M.Longstaff, S.Longstaff, Almiron; Joelinton.|
|Chelsea:||Arrizabalaga; James, Christensen, Rüdiger, Azpilicueta; Kante, Jorginho, Mount; Willian, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham|
Head to Head Record
Chelsea and Newcastle have faced each other no less than 49 times in the Premier League with the former dominating proceedings, winning 25 compared to the latter's 12, the remaining 12 games ending in draws.
When these two sides last met in October, Chelsea emerged as 1-0 victors thanks to a Marcos Alonso thunder-strike into the bottom corner.
Despite a shock 3-0 defeat at the hands of Newcastle in May 2018, the Blues have won seven of the last nine meetings between the two sides, with a 2-2 draw at St James' Park the only other stain on Chelsea's otherwise impressive record.
Despite the 13 point difference that separates these two sides, Newcastle (ten) have lost just three more Premier League games than Chelsea (seven) this season and while the Toon Army's defence (34) have conceded marginally more than the Blues' (29), the difference between the two is the fire power.
Joelinton has struggled since his £40m move from Hoffenheim and has contributed just one Premier League goal and two assists so far in the 2019/20 campaign, while Miguel Almirón has found the net just twice in the league this season, despite a recent upturn in form.
Newcastle are, however, unbeaten since their 3-0 defeat at the hands of Leicester on New Year's Day, during which they played most of the second half with ten men due to a number of injuries sustained.
Chelsea on the other hand have reaped the rewards of their strikers, most notably Tammy Abraham, who has had a stellar season with 13 goals and three assists in the league so far.
The transfer ban that was forced on Chelsea has given opportunities to youngsters like Mason Mount, who has also impressed since returning from Derby at the end of the 2018/19 season.
The Blues recorded a conclusive 3-0 victory over Burnley last time out, with Callum Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho and Abraham all getting on the scoresheet.
Here's how both sides have fared in their previous five fixtures.
|Newcastle 4-1 Rochdale (14/1)||Chelsea 3-0 Burnley (11/1)|
|Wolves 1-1 Newcastle (11/1)||Chelsea 2-0 Nottingham Forest (5/1)|
|Rochdale 1-1 Newcastle (4/1)||Brighton 1-1 Chelsea (1/1)|
|Newcastle 0-3 Leicester (1/1)||Arsenal 1-2 Chelsea (29/12)|
|Newcastle 1-2 Everton (28/12)||Chelsea 0-2 Southampton (26/12)|
Taking into consideration the number of injuries they have and the quality of the opposition, a win for Newcastle on Saturday afternoon would truly be a shock. In fact, they could be in for something of a drubbing.
The Tyneside club felt the wrath of Brendan Rodgers' Leicester at the start of the month and may be in for a similar afternoon when Frank Lampard's men come to town, although Steve Bruce's side did show signs of defensive resolve against Wolves last time out.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-3 Chelsea
Source : 90min