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Newcastle United vs Chelsea | Predictions, Stats and Key Players

Newcastle United vs Chelsea: Top Four Contenders Clash

Newcastle United welcome Chelsea on Saturday, in a game that will be a good test of two challengers to finish in the top four. Both are currently off the pace, so a win this weekend would be huge for either side. The home side are in the midst of an injury crisis. Although this has eased over the international break, it is expected to be a problem for the club until 2024. For the visitors, there have been pleasing performances against Arsenal and Manchester City, but they failed to win either game. They need to show that they can win against rival clubs.

Eddie Howe’s Team Resilience

Eddie Howe will be pleased to have had a two week break after a sobering defeat at former club Bournemouth. However, there are still big injury problems for the club to deal with and the squad will be stretched over the next six weeks. It will be a huge ask for the team to remain consistent during this period. They will be happy to be at home this weekend, as they have been much stronger at St James’ Park.

Photo: IMAGO

Chelsea’s Renewed Optimism

After some disappointing results, there is enthusiasm around Chelsea again. The team now look like they can compete for a top four finish, as there are hallmarks of Mauricio Pochettino’s style. Although they didn’t beat either Arsenal or Manchester City, they were competitive in both matches and a similar performance level will lead to wins in the coming weeks. They are getting closer to a win over a rival team and that could come on Saturday.

Interesting stats

Newcastle have won their last four home Premier League matches without conceding a goal. They have not had a run of five wins without conceding since 1907.

Chelsea have lost 13 times at St James’ Park. They have only lost more often in away Premier League matches to Arsenal and Liverpool.

Key men

Gordon

Anthony Gordon has taken huge steps forward in his development and he looks ready to continue that trend over the coming months. Gareth Southgate has given him a mention and that will increase his motivation ahead of the summer, as he does have an outside chance of making Euro 2024. 12 months ago, that would have seemed an impossibility for the attacker. Since then he has starred for the U21s last summer and he has emerged as a key player for a progressive Newcastle United team. He has scored goals in the home matches against Liverpool and Arsenal, which suggests that he does thrive in the big games. The one area of improvement would be to add more goals and assists, but he has made progress in this part of his game over the last few months.

Palmer

One player who has already received senior international experience following their role in the U21 Euro triumph is Cole Palmer. His career has accelerated quickly since his move to Chelsea. It was considered a risk to leave Manchester City, but the early indications are that it was the correct decision. Palmer has been involved in six goals in his last five matches, with four goals and two assists. Some have spoken down about that achievement, as all goals have come from the penalty spot, but it shows his confidence and standing to be the one that has already taken that responsibility. He has been a constant threat in games and goals from open play are around the corner for him. After making his international debut, he will want to continue his good form with a strong showing on Saturday.

Photo: IMAGO

Team news

It will be easier to name those that are available. Miguel Almiron and Alexander Isak are both close to a return with a chance of featuring. Sean Longstaff is a doubt. Harvey Barnes is inching closer to a return, but won’t feature this weekend. Callum Wilson and Elliot Anderson are injured until next month. Dan Burn and Jacob Murphy won’t be seen again until 2024. Sven Botman’s return remains clouded in mystery, but Bruno Guimaraes can play after his suspension. Lewis Hall won’t be eligible to face his parent club.

Malo Gusto and Levi Colwill could both be available for the trip north. Christopher Nkunku is close to a return, but he may not be risked this weekend. Ben Chilwell and Wesley Fofana remain on the sidelines.

Verdict

The number of absentees for Newcastle mean that this could be the perfect time for Chelsea to play them. It is always difficult to face this Newcastle side at St James’ Park, but they won’t have their usual swagger. That said, they have remained consistent at home this season and the support usually carries them to a good performance, even if other factors are working against them. A narrow home win, similar to the Arsenal game could be a good bet.

Newcastle United 2-1 Chelsea

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