Prediction: Chelsea to win to nil
Maurizio Sarri will be aiming to continue his perfect start as Chelsea boss as he takes his team to St James’ Park to face Newcastle United on Sunday afternoon.
The Italian has had a great start to life at Stamford Bridge and will be keen to claim another three points against former Blues’ boss Rafa Benitez.
It appears to be a tough task for the hosts this weekend against Benitez’s former club. The Magpies are yet to win this season after two games having claimed only one point following a 2-1 loss to Tottenham Hotspur on the opening day before a 0-0 draw with Cardiff City last weekend. They did have the chance to claim maximum points against the Bluebirds but on-loan Chelsea man Kenedy missed a late penalty. As a result, Newcastle have only won two out of their last seven games in Premier League action. In that time, they have only scored five goals. Having said that, their home record does make for some relatively positive reading. Benitez’s men have only lost two out of their last ten home games – a major reason behind their survival last season. Therefore, they will be keen to get their 2018/19 home campaign up and running against Chelsea.
Fortunately, Newcastle have a relatively small injury list to contend with but they are all defensive. Florian Lejeune continues his rehabilitation from a cruciate ligament injury, whilst Javi Manquillo has been ruled out with an ankle injury. However, DeAndre Yedlin could make his return from a knee problem against Chelsea.
With the turbulent summer experienced in West London over the summer, most predicted that Chelsea would endure a difficult season in 2018/19. However, the Blues have started excellently with a 3-0 win over Huddersfield before an encapsulating 3-2 victory over London rivals Arsenal last weekend. Heading into their game against Newcastle, the Blues will be keen to extend a positive recent away record in the Premier League. The Blues have won four out of their last five away games in the league. However, that solitary loss did come in the form of a 3-0 loss to Newcastle United at St James’ Park last season.
Having said that, their start to the season does give them huge reason to be optimistic. If they claim victory against Newcastle, it would he third time in the past four seasons that they have begun with three consecutive league victories. On the last two occasions that the Blues have managed to achieve that feet, they have gone on to claim the Premier League crown.
The only major senior doubt that Chelsea have to manage is the absence of midfielder Cesc Fabregas. The Spaniard is ruled out of action until early September with a leg injury. Marco van Ginkel and Izzy Brown are missing due to respective long-term problems but it remains to be seen how much first-team football the duo were to enjoy at Stamford Bridge this season.
Key Facts To Consider
- Chelsea have the far better record between the two sides (W71, D39, L53)
- Newcastle United won the last clash between the two sides 3-0 last season
- The Blues have not won at St James’ Park since December 2011
- Rafa Benitez has only won one out of his last seven game against Chelsea
- There has not been a 0-0 draw between the two sides since 2008
Despite Newcastle’s excellent record against Chelsea in recent years, Sarri’s men should continue their excellent Premier League start and claim the victory. Chelsea should also keep a clean sheet against a Newcastle side that find goals hard to come by, too.
Prediction: Chelsea to win to nil
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