Newcastle United welcome Chelsea to St James Park as the Premier League returns from November’s international break as both teams look to commence their Xmas run-in with a bang.
Victory will lift Steve Bruce’s Magpies up to seventh for at least a few hours whilst Chelsea can go top with victory until at least Saturday teatime.
Callum Wilson is a doubt for Newcastle with a hamstring injury suffered during their defeat at Southampton just before the international break.
Martin Dubravka (heel), Jonjo Shelvey (hernia), and Dwight Gayle (knee) are nearing returns but aren’t expected to return for another fortnight as they step up their respective recoveries.
Matt Ritchie (shoulder), Paul Dummett and Ryan Fraser (both hamstring) are ruled out indefinitely.
Chelsea will have Kai Havertz available after Coronavirus kept the summer signing sidelined prior to the international break, whilst Christian Pulisic remains absent with a hamstring injury.
Ben Chilwell (back) faces a late fitness check whilst Thiago Silva is a doubt after returning late from international duty for Brazil.
- Newcastle have won two of their last five meetings against Chelsea (W2, L3).
- Chelsea have won just one of their last seven trips to St James’ Park (W1, D1, L5).
- In 50 previous Premier League meetings, Newcastle have never been awarded a penalty against Chelsea, with the Blues scoring four of their five spot-kicks against the Magpies.
- Newcastle’s Miguel Almiron has already made one error which led to a goal this season, having failed to make any goal conceding errors in entirety of last season.
- Hakim Ziyech has made three assists in four appearances for Chelsea this season.
After a poor showing at Southampton last time out, Newcastle have improve defensively because they were just ripped to shreds when the Saints turned on the pressing in and around the box, although they did take their shots well despite often finding Alex McCarthy’s palms.
Chelsea meanwhile were absolutely ruthless against Sheffield United once they hit their stride after a slow start, yet they continued to spur many chances which could well be crucial come end of season if league positions come down to goals and especially goal difference.
St James’ Park however has often been Chelsea’ hoodoo ground so if Newcastle can start well and maintain it throughout this match, they could spring a surprise otherwise I can see a rare away win for Chelsea here.
Prediction: Newcastle 1-3 Chelsea
Result: Newcastle 0-2 Chelsea