Win-less in the first six games of the season, Newcastle United and Steve McLaren welcome the champions to St.James’ Park on Saturday with the hope of repeating last year’s result and turn things around before it gets too late. The Magpies have made a dreadful start to the league campaign following a busy transfer window in the summer and a new manager on top of that, now languish in the bottom of the table with just 2 points on board. With another disappointing loss in the League Cup in midweek to lower league opponents Sheffield Wednesday, only a spirited performance and a good result can buy more time for McLaren to impose his style on Newcastle United. Goalkeeper Krul has called for a bit more fight and aggression in front of their 50,000 Geordie crowd after what has been a damning opening six weeks.
“We have to try and turn it around on Saturday against Chelsea, with 50,000 Geordies being that extra man that we really need right now. Hopefully they will give us the confidence and lift we need. We need them behind us but we need to show them something, too, and give them something to shout about. It is a two-way street. Saturday is a new game and we have to show the fans fight and passion, and everybody needs to put in a proper performance.”
After an uncharacteristic start and title defence from Chelsea, Jose Mourinho looks to have finally found a way to win games and the Blues are now on a much-needed run with three quick wins in three different competitions under their belt. A routine 4-0 thrashing of Maccabi Tel-Aviv was followed by a crucial home win against fierce rivals Arsenal, a game that was marred by controversy and red cards. In midweek, Chelsea managed another facile win against Walsall in the Capital One Cup, a resounding 4-1 victory that suggests the side is now starting to gain some momentum after a rusty start and could now build on it to catch up with the pacesetters at the top end of the table. Mourinho, on Saturday, will also look to put an end to his St. James’ Park hoodoo at a time when things, finally, are going his way.
Newcastle United top a table no side would want to, in that they head the injury table with as many as 12 injuries including midfield duo Colback (calf/shin) and Tiote (knee). Full-back Janmaat is a doubt for Saturday’s fixture while Papiss Cisse will definitely miss out with the forward suffering from a back problem that will keep him out until mid-October.
Costa will miss Saturday’s trip to Newcastle following a three-game suspension issued by the FA. While Willian will be sidelined with a hamstring injury, Thibaut Courtois will also miss out as the Belgian is recovering from a knee injury.
- Newcastle United have won their last three Premier League home games against Chelsea.
- Jose Mourinho has never won a Premier League game at St James’ Park (D2 L3) – the only other PL stadium he’s not won at is the Emirates (D3).
- Newcastle United have won just one of their last 17 Premier League games (D3 L13).
- Chelsea have won eight and lost none (D4) of the 12 Premier League matches that Diego Costa has missed since the start of 2014-15.
Key Men Comparison
Florian Thauvin (Newcastle United) v Pedro Rodriguez (Chelsea)
It could be a feisty battle between two of the summer signings on the pitch when Florian Thauvin and Pedro look to pull the strings from wide areas on Saturday. Having failed to score in 3 of the last 4 games across all competitions, Newcastle United will rely on its creative players to work something out in the final third and Thauvin could play a pivotal role in breaking down what has been an unconvincing performance so far at the back from Chelsea.
While Chelsea have been shipping goals this season, they might have found their mojo at last at the other end with the Blues scoring 10 goals in their last 3 games after scoring just 5 in their opening three games of the season. A chunk of those have come from the contribution of wide players in Pedro and Hazard and their work in tandem can be crucial to Chelsea’s chances of another 3 vital points for Chelsea on Saturday.
Mourinho to get his first Premier League win at St. James’ Park.
Newcastle United 0-1 Chelsea