24th August 2012
Less than four months after the 2-0 home defeat to Newcastle ended Chelsea’s top 4 hopes, the Blues have a great chance to get revenge on the Magpies and at the same time further extend their lead at the Premiership summit. The St James Park outfit arrive to Stamford Bridge full of confidence after beating Tottenham in their opening game, so everything suggests we will see an exciting affair on Saturday evening.
Following the impressive finish of last season that saw the Blues lift Champions League and FA Cup titles, club owner Roman Abramovich made a significant transfer kitty available so that the technical department would further reinforce the squad over the summer. Chelsea have invested the money wisely, signing some of world’s top talents in Eden Hazard, Oscar, Marko Marin and Cesar Azpilicueta. New players seem to have adapted much quicker than anyone expected, with Eden Hazard especially impressive in the first two Premier League games. The Belgian created no less than three goals for his teammates, while earning two penalties to help the Blues beat Wigan and Reading, thus hinting he could possibly be the signing of the season in English Premier League. Chelsea may have been made to work hard for the victory over Reading, but their quality eventually shone through and ensured they keep the 100% record before the clash with Newcastle. The Blues will be very motivated to get back at their opponents for the aforementioned defeat, but they will have to make do without John Terry and Marko Marin, who are out injured. David Luiz, on the other hand, returns to the side.
Newcastle United have carried on where they left off last season, with the 2-1 victory over Tottenham proving the Magpies have got to be regarded as one of the candidates for a top 4 finish. Despite the strong interest in key players Cisse, Cabaye, Ben Arfa and Tiote, the club managed to keep hold of all their stars, while adding some fresh talent as well, having signed Vurnon Anita, Romain Amalfitano, Gael Bigirimana and Curtis Good. The Magpies had a tricky Europa League tie in midweek, as they traveled to Greece to face Atromitos on Thursday, but Alan Pardew opted to rest most of his starters with a crunch tie with Chelsea in mind. Papiss Cisse was the only first team regular who started the game, but his excellent fitness levels will allow him to start against Chelsea as well. There are, however, doubts over the availability of Fabricio Coloccini, Demba Ba, Cheick Tiote and Shola Ameobi, and their condition will be assessed on match day.
I was seriously thinking about backing in-form Chelsea here, but with odds on home win simply pathetic, both teams to score will be my choice. Both sides have been scoring goals for fun at the start of the season and given that we are likely to see an open game, this looks like the right thing to do.
Verdict: Both teams to score
Best Odds: 3/4