Venue: St James’ Park
Date: Saturday, 2 February
Kick-off: 15.00 GMT
It’s Newcastle away today and whilst it might feel marginally better being away from Stamford Bridge, given we don’t seem to be able to win as much as an argument there, we didn’t exactly blow Reading away at the Madejski midweek did we?
What’s worse, is that even though we’d managed to give ourselves a 2-goal cushion, the result itself was all too predictable for us under Rafa. Not that it can be all his fault – although I still haven’t quite worked out how swapping strikers when you have a lead to defend makes more sense than bringing JT off the bench but then I’m no interim manager.
For whatever reason, the players aren’t exactly pulling their weight either and it seems the only thing we’re consistent in now, is inconsistency.
Ahead of today’s game, Newcastle boss Alan Pardew says “Obviously, there is one massive target which we mustn’t lose focus on, and that’s to stay in the Premier League. We are just going from game to game with a cup-final mentality, and we will take that into Chelsea.”
For Newcastle, Ben Arfa (hamstring) is out and Cheick Tiote is on duty at the Africa Cup of Nations. Sissoko and Gouffran should get home debuts and Marveaux (foot) is available again.
For Chelsea, David Luiz remains out and Eden Hazard completes a three-match ban. Petr Cech (calf) is fit again, mind you, so is John Terry although Rafa doesn’t appear to have noticed. Juan Mata (ankle) has overcome a knock he sustained against Reading midweek.
NEWCASTLE (Possible line-up): Krul; Debuchy, Coloccini, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon; Perch, Cabaye; Gutierrez, Sissoko, Gouffran; Cisse
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Turnbull; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Ivanovic, Cole; Lampard, Ramires; Bertrand, Mata, Oscar; Torres
Newcastle 0-3 Chelsea (3rd December 2011)
Well, we’re unbeaten in our last five trips to St James’ Park, conceding just one goal. Rafa’s not bothered about runs like that though and Newcastle finally got their first win from six midweek while we were busy throwing points away. So, another doom and gloom day on the horizon? If Demba Ba (who, by the way, is still Newcastle’s top scorer this season) only gets the customary ten minutes at the end, then it could well be!