Premier League champions take on Newcastle United on Saturday looking to get back to winning ways following the last-grasp 1-1 draw against Manchester United last time out. Magpies are travelling to London eager to end their dreadful away form.
Guus Hiddink has managed to steady the ship following his arrival in December, as the Blues have embarked on a nine-match stretch without defeat. However what Dutch manager has yet been able to do is to have his team winning on the bounce. Chelsea failed to win back-to-back Premier League games during the entire season and Hiddink needs to put additional pressure on his team in order to get them back to winning ways. Blues are coming off from a 1-1 draw against Manchester United last weekend and they will be disappointed with the fact they left their fans biting nails until the very end of the game, when Diego Costa scored a late equalizer to deny Manchester United their win. The Spanish striker has improved his form under Dutch manager, but Chelsea are still having plenty of problems in the striking department. Alexandre Pato was brought to boost the competition for places up front and the Brazilian forward could play a part against Newcastle. Loic Remy is aware doors to the first-team are now closed for him and the French striker could be on a move to China this January as Chelsea have already received a lucrative offer to sell their striker.
Radamel Falcao and Loic Remy are unavailable for the match, while Brazilian striker Pato could make his first appearance for the London-based club.
French defender Kurt Zouma has suffered a difficult injury against Manchester United and has already been operated on.
Magpies have invested a great deal of money before the season and during the January transfer window in attempt to finally bring back the glory days for Newcastle United fans. However, their plan didn’t work as Newcastle United have been largely disappointing during the current campaign, struggling to get their feet on the ground and get out of the relegation thug-of-war. Having collected 24 points so far, Steven McClaren’s men are just one point in front of Norwich, who are first below the dropping line. Magpies need to step up their game in order to survive the season and they won-t be able to do so unless they improve their terrible away form. Newcastle United have won only two games on the road thus far and drawn just once. With just a seven points collected on their travels, Magpies need to start winning away as soon as possible. Trip to Stamford Bridge will be a difficult place to start doing so as Newcastle have last won in London back in 2012. McClaren’s men still make their trip to Chelsea in high spirits as they have managed to snap end the poor stretch of back-to-back defeats to Everton and Watford with a 1-0 win over West Brom last time out. Aleksandar Mitrovic scored the only goal in the game to earn his team valuable three points that got them out of the gutter.
January signings Jonjo Shelvey, Andros Townsend and Henri Saivet are all expected to get their chance against Chelsea.
On the other hand, Steve McClaren is struggling with a lot of injuries as Mbemba, Dummet, Colback, Anita, Mbabu, Cisse, Obertain, Krul and Haidara are all unavailable through injuries.
Key Factors to Consider
- Newcastle United won only two away Premier League games this season
- Magpies have last won at Stamford Bridge in 2012
- Guus Hiddink is yet to suffer his first loss as Chelsea manager
- Chelsea failed to win back-to-back matches during the entire season so far
- Blues have won just once in their last 5 Premier League matches
Given Newcastle’s terrible away form and Chelsea’s desire to make amends for their hard-fought draw against Manchester United, we expect to see a home win. Magpies are unrecognizable on the road this season, while Blues need to go strong and a win against McClaren’s men is an absolute must.
Verdict: Home win
Bookmaker: William Hill