Chelsea are looking to record back to back league wins for the first time this season when they make the trip to Newcastle on Saturday evening. The Blues got themselves back on track at Arsenal last week, but they face a tough trip to a ground that Jose Mourinho really struggles at. Can they turn around their record at St James’ Park and claim a huge three points?
Mourinho has made five trips to St James’ in his Chelsea career, and he’s yet to win there. The Magpies have beaten his side in three of those five games, including last year when they ended the Blues’ unbeaten start. It’s not just limited to Mourinho’s reign, Chelsea have lost in their last three trips to Newcastle. That’s a record that needs to be turned around fast.
Luckily they face a side who are completely out of form. The Magpies have yet to win a game this season, and manager Steve McClaren already seems under pressure. They spent big in the summer, but they’ve not actually taken any steps forward. Given that their right back seems like their only attacking threat, this has to be a victory for the visitors.
They’re unlikely to be presented with an easier task any time soon, although they’ll have to pull it off without Diego Costa. The forward was charged by the FA after the fiery clash with Arsenal, after unrelenting coverage by every sports programme in the country. Now the Blues will have to rely on either Falcao or former Newcastle man Loic Remy.
We should see Mourinho field a full strength team everywhere else, after making several changes for the game against Walsall. The big question will be over John Terry. Does he make a return to the side, or does Mourinho stick with the Kurt Zouma and Gary Cahill partnership? Newcastle don’t have too much pace in their team, so Terry could play, but the manager might not want to drop the pair who were so impressive last weekend.
Either way, Chelsea are going to need an imposing display from their midfield in this one. Without Costa, goals are going to be needed from the supporting pack. Hopefully Eden Hazard can improve following his late goal last week. Pedro hasn’t hit the heights of his debut, another performance like that would be more than welcome. Cesc Fabregas looked good in the two wins last week and hopefully he can carry that form into this meeting.
With City away to Tottenham early on Saturday, there’s a chance they could drop points, and the champions would know that going into this one. No matter what City do, the Blues need to get a win here. Not just to end an awful record against the Toon, but to get more points on the board. They need to start moving up the table, and they can do that with victory on Saturday.
LCN Verdict: Chelsea to win 1-0