Newcastle travel to Stamford Bridge tomorrow to play Chelsea in what promises to be a hard fought encounter.
Both teams will be looking to get one over on each other after Chelsea finished a place behind Newcastle last season and will be looking to avenge the 2-0 defeat we (and especially Papiss Cisse) inflicted upon them at Stamford Bridge all but ending any hopes of them pipping us in the league.
Staring off with the hosts in this preview, they go into the match on the back of two wins against Wigan and Reading with new addition to the squad Eden Hazard looking like he can do some serious damage in the league this season. With three assists to his name already this season he has shown what he is capable of, so our midfield will have to be compact in order to stop Hazard and try to put him under pressure as soon as he receives the ball.
But as we know Chelsea are full of stars all over the pitch, Juan Mata is another player who can do some damage on his day. Last season at St James’ Park he was arguably the best player on the pitch and was involved in everything Chelsea created going forward. Fernando Torres seems like he is finding his form again and will look to link up with his fellow countryman and continue his improvement in form and fortune.
But Newcastle look to be boosted by the return of Captain Coloccini after recovering from the thigh injury which kept him out of the season opener to Spurs. That should mean that Steven Taylor and Fabricio Coloccini will partner each other at the back which is the strongest pairing we can muster right now. Taylor looked comfortable against Spurs in what was his first competitive match since last November.
Chelsea are all too aware of what Newcastle have got to offer in the attacking aspect of the game, as they were given the honour of seeing goalscoring machine Papiss Cisse in full glory last season as he scored two wonder goals in the 2-0 win for Newcastle. John Terry and Gary Cahill could struggle to cope with the pace of Cisse and Ba tomorrow as neither are known for their pace.
In my opinion Chelsea will set up in attack mode and try and fly out the blocks whereas I think Newcastle will set up more cautiously and try to frustrate Chelsea.
I would think the teams will set out something like this
Chelsea (4-2-3-1):Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, John Obi Mikel, Frank Lampard, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard, Oscar, Fernando Torres
Newcastle (4-4-1-1): Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon, Jonas Gutierrez, Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote, Vurnon Anita, Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse
The emphasis is on Chelsea to take the game to Newcastle as they are the home team and have made huge additions to their squad in the summer, so the pressure in my opinion is off Newcastle, and as we know Alan Pardew will go with a fully detailed game plan which if the players stick to, can work in our favour.
The longer the game goes on without a goal the more inpatient Chelsea will get and then they will try to force a goal and that is when we can pounce and try to grab a goal on the break. Pardew will set us up to withstand the Chelsea pressure and play a counter attacking game, but Chelsea themselves proved that can work as they won the Champions League last season by doing exactly that.
I think the match is anyone’s to win but I do think it will be Chelsea doing most of the attacking and Newcastle just trying to frustrate them and hit them on the break. But in no way do I think we will go to Stamford Bridge and just park the bus and look for a draw, we will be looking to grab all three points and return to Tyneside in high spirits ahead of the 2nd leg of our Europa League tie with Atromitos.
Match stats and facts
Papiss Cisse has scored 13 goals in 15 Premier League games for Newcastle, but he has gone three games without a goal since netting a brace against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
There has been a 90th minute goal in each of the last three Premier League games between Chelsea and Newcastle.
Howay the lads!
Date: Saturday, 25th August, 2012
Time: 5:30pm – Live on ESPN
Venue: Stamford Bridge