CHELSEA v Newcastle: Preview

Venue: Stamford Bridge
Date: Saturday, 13 February
Kick-off: 17:30 GMT

After last week’s battle back against United to get a point, today’s late game sees us at home to McLaren’s Newcastle who arrive on a run of five consecutive away defeats in all competitions. Unlike us though, they did take 3 points from their last game.
Whilst we remain unbeaten under Guus Hiddink, the reality is we’ve just three wins amongst a string of draws. Worse still, against United last week, it was evident a draw was probably all Hiddink had looked for.

MANAGER’S VIEWS
Going into today’s late game, Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink says “The status of being unbeaten sounds good but realistically we would have wished to have more victories, especially at home. And we have an opportunity to do so against Newcastle. They improved their squad with substance, some good signings, and they are more competitive now. When you don’t keep winning at home, people have less fear.”
Newcastle boss Steve McClaren meanwhile, says “We need to start picking up points away from home. Chelsea are hardly to beat, very dangerous opponents, but we focus on ourselves. We need to be on the front foot. We have to go to Chelsea with no fear and have a go. We owe it to the away fans.”

SQUAD NEWS
For Chelsea, Falcao is still on the missing list and Kurt Zouma (knee) is out long term after his injury last week. Costa suffered a broken nose this week but should still be available. Pato still isn’t match fit.
For Newcastle, Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara are out, whilst Jamaal Lascelles is back after a ban and Jack Colback returns after a hamstring injury.

TEAMS
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Mikel, Matic; Willian, Fabregas, Hazard; Costa
NEWCASTLE (Possible line-up): Elliot; Janmaat, Taylor, Coloccini, Aarons; Tiote, Shelvey, Sissoko, Wijnaldum, Townsend, Sissoko; Mitrovic

LAST SEASON
Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle (10th January 2015)

CURRENT FORM
CHELSEA: WDDWDD
NEWCASTLE: LDWLLW

OTHER STUFF
~ Chelsea are unbeaten in 9 in the league although six of those have been draws.
~ Chelsea are without a win in four consecutive Premier League home games
~ Chelsea have conceded eight goals in their last four home games in the league
~ Newcastle have only won once away to Chelsea in 21 attempts in the Premier League.
~ Newcastle have lost 15 of their last 18 league games away from home
~ Newcastle have scored just six goals away from home this season
~ Newcastle have kept just two clean sheets away from home this season

PREDICTION
Any regular readers will know I don’t do predictions – but they’ll also know that under Hiddink, I can’t help but refer to our ‘pattern’ and today hopefully won’t prove the exception.

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