Chelsea vs Newcastle: Pre-match thoughts and the side we may see Rafa start today

After a 3-1 win in the third round against a gutsy Luton side at St James’ Park,  today’s trip to Stamford Bridge poses a totally different proposition.

With just one win (in 90 minutes) so far in 2018 and recently being dumped out of the Carabo Cup after a defeat at Arsenal on Wednesday, Chelsea aren’t in the best of form.

They squeezed past Norwich on penalties in the third round and struggled throughout in that one, however you’d imagine they may play a stronger side today and be a little more up for this one after that scare. After all, the FA Cup could be their only shot at silverware this season so they’ll e

For us, a cup run could give us the momentum we may need in the relegation battle, but with a huge game at home to Burnley next week it wouldn’t surprise me if Rafa rotated a little. If you could only win one game, would you prefer to beat Chelsea or Burnley? As much as we’d love a cup run, I’d imagine quite a few see Burnley as the big one to win..

Either way, I hope we have a go and give them much more to think about than we did when capitulating in the 3-1 defeat to them back in December. One thing’s for sure, we’ll have to control Eden Hazard much more than we did last month if we plan to stop them.



POSSIBLE NUFC XI..

Here’s the team I’d like to see Rafa start and why:

(4-2-3-1) – Elliot – Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett – Merino, Diame – Ritchie, Murphy, Atsu – Perez

We’ll have to make the most of our chances on the break and carry more of a threat than we did in the league fixture at Stamford Bridge. With this in mind, I’d be tempted to play the front 4 that started away at Stoke a few weeks ago.

Ritchie was rested at City but his energy may be useful in tracking Alonso and Hazard down Chelsea’s left. The likes of Perez, Murphy and Atsu can cause them problems however, with their performances against City (Murphy), West Ham (Atsu) and Stoke (Perez) proving their worth in away games.

In midfield it’d be good to see Merino return after a spell out the side recently, with Mo Diame also deserving his place in the side having arguably been our best midfielder over the past month. Shelvey’s quality can always come in handy, but his style isn’t really suited to a game where we’ll see little of the ball.

At the back you’d expect the solid trio of Dummett, Lascelles and Clark to continue, but Yedlin must come in for Manquillo at right-back. The Spaniard really struggled at Man City last weekend, so you’d think he wouldn’t be tasked with the job of marking Eden Hazard.

In goal, Rob Elliot may be given a run out after returning to full fitness?

 

TEAM NEWS

Chelsea loanee Kenedy will not feature, being ineligible to play against Chelsea and cup tied.

Florian Lejeune could return, with Jesus Gamez appearing to be our only senior played ruled out.

Chelsea will be without golakeeper Thibaut Courtois (ankle, Willian (hamstring) and striker Morata (back), meaning former targets Willy Caballero and Michy Batshuayi could start. Cesc Fabregas may also return.

 

PREDICTON

I think we’ll have a go at this under confident looking Chelsea side, but fear they may have a little too much for us again.

As silly as it sounds, scoring early as we did in the league fixture last month was perhaps our downfall. If we can stay in the game, frustrate the fans and go at them in the last 20 minutes then I can see us forcing a replay.

Heart says 1-1, forcing a second leg at St James’, but my heads saying a narrow 2-1 defeat.

Prediction: Chelsea 2-1 Newcastle 

HWTL!

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About Olly Hawkins

Born in Gateshead, Olly was a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

59 thoughts on “Chelsea vs Newcastle: Pre-match thoughts and the side we may see Rafa start today

  1. I think the Chronicle journalists must read this blog, I hope Ryder does 🙂 Anyway, I mentioned last week that it had been 116 games since an opponent had been sent off against us. Chris Waugh informs us today that it is 4 years TODAY that an opponent was sent off against us in the PL. FOUR SODDING YEARS. Even accounting for a year in the Championship that is 3 years (I am good at maths 🙂 ). Add that to the fact that we never get penalties and it is not a conspiracy theory that the Refs have something against us it is a FACT.

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  2. 116 games doesn’t jibe with Waugh’s stat. I got mine from the commentator on the Swansea game. Maybe it was a cup game for our last sending off? Anyway I will accept Chris Waugh at his word as it does seem to fit in with our real life experience of Refs being biased against NUFC.

    It is not a conspiracy theory when it is a provable FACT. It has gone way beyond a statistical anomaly now.

    And don’t get me started about pundits…

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  3. And since I am on Refs we need to limit how they use VAR, otherwise idiots like Pawson will spoil the game. He stopped it one time for a review for like 3 and a half minutes, and there were 8 of them. There is already plenty of time wasted by players feigning injuries without this. Football (including rugby football) is great partly because it is not all stoppy starty. But they should limit reviews like in cricket.

    It is a slippery slope where commercial interests, and by this I mean commercials, will overtake the play. American football is almost impossible to watch because of all of the ads. They then added video review and cut to commercials for them now. There was a study done that in a 3 1/4 hour game there was only 14 minutes of actual play. The rest was lining up, commentators yapping and reviewing, and most of it – commercials.

    I don’t know if it will happen in Britain but I know that if there are 3 or 4 VAR in a football game in the US they will take the opportunity to fit in a quick commercial – usually for car insurance.

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  4. VAR , Seems to be dividing opinion more than dodgy ref/linesman calls at the moment.
    May just be teething troubles that will get ironed out but not overly impressed so far, 4 mins to decide if it’s a pen is ridiculous .

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  5. We’ve got as good a chance as any games we’ve played them away due to their injuries and the situation with their manager.

    Anyway, Sunday press reckons we won’t go above £15m for Jorgenson because that’s what we value him at. That’s all very honourable but it won’t keep us up. If he scores the goals that keep us up (if Rafa thinks he will) then what’s an additional £4/£5m? Another false economy?

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  6. Stuart79:
    We’ve got as good a chance as any games we’ve played them away due to their injuries and the situation with their manager.

    Anyway, Sunday press reckons we won’t go above £15m for Jorgenson because that’s what we value him at. That’s all very honourable but it won’t keep us up. If he scores the goals that keep us up (if Rafa thinks he will) then what’s an additional £4/£5m? Another false economy?

    It really is Stuart. Maybe I am looking at it wrong but if you have already decided to spend the 15 million and you think this guy will help keep you in the PL then the price of relegation if the difference, 3-5 million. So, you spend the extra so that 150 million will not be wiped off the sale price after the drop.

    It is by no means a guarantee that Jorgensen will be a success but we know what we have and they are not scoring. Plus, we can recoup most of it by selling Gayle.

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  7. Problem is Stuart nobody knows how good the lad is. Is he another LDJ or worse still another Bendtner? Losing another £15m?

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  8. This lot need shot if we do not get a striker.

    In 24 games we have failed to score in 9 and scored 1 in 8 other games.

    So that is 17 games where we have scored 1 or fewer.

    It is amazing that we are not in a worse position.

    And, we have been creating a few chances. It is not like West Brom under Pulis or Everton under Fat Sam where they were creating like 3 chances a game. Everton went 3 games with only 1 shot on target.

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  9. georgio:
    Problem is Stuart nobody knows how good the lad is. Is he another LDJ or worse still another Bendtner? Losing another £15m?

    Rafa must think he is good enough to put him as target. The problem is with Ashley not backing his manager.

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  10. Sorry, I double checked and it is worse than I thought.

    Of 24 games we have failed to score in 10 and scored only 1 goal 8 times.

    So in 24 games we have scored 1 or fewer in 18. Jesus wept!

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  11. Eric, I’m amazed we are as low as we are. In terms of goals scored we are equal 14th in the league. In terms of goals conceded we are 11th. Yet we are 15th .

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  12. Well, given that proper medicals take 2 days an we play on Wednesday night then including today you are looking at 3 days left since we play on Wednesday and I don’t see much happening on a match day.

    Our business is done lads, same as every other window and 4 and a half month loan of Kenedy is our lot. How has it come to this, and if there really isn’t any other incomings of worth then I expect SSN and all the media to get on the fatmans back. If they fail to call him out on this then we know they are in his pocket because it is gross negligence on an epic scale.

    Rafa will walk in the summer and will go with our best wishes and thanks for a thankless task.
    I will not be watching SSN on deadline day this window, fooled and wasted far too much of my time to contemplate wasting another day of it with that bollocks.

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  13. Premandup:
    Eric, I’m amazed we are as low as we are. In terms of goals scored we are equal 14th in the league. In terms of goals conceded we are 11th. Yet we are 15th .

    Yeah, but Prem, we had 3 against West Ham twice and once against Leicester. That skews the numbers. You aren’t going to win that many if you score 1 or fewer in exactly 75% of your games.

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  14. You aren’t going to win ANY of the 42% of the games you score zero goals in 🙂

    Too many draws will sink you, especially if you lose every game to the top 6. In fact, we have 1 point (Liverpool) from the top 10 this season. Thank God for West Ham and Stoke I say, we have taken 52% of our points this season from them. Pity we won’t play them again.

    I am not usually a stats man but some are just hard to ignore.

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  15. Mbemba, Saivet, Haidara, Gayle errr…? I am totally shocked. I really thought they would keep Gayle fit expecting a late bid.

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  16. Eric Sykes:
    Mbemba, Saivet, Haidara, Gayle errr…? I am totally shocked. I really thought they would keep Gayle fit expecting a late bid.

    NO forward in NO forward out mate.

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  17. You know Pards would have been crucified for picking this team, even with a must win game on Wednesday.

    Watch us go and win now 🙂

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  18. It’s starting to look like classic Jabba NUFC. 1st Feb we will hear “we tried, we weren’t going to be held to ransom so couldn’t they them over the line.”

    Wednesday night as SJP won’t be about the game. It will be about Jabba and the fact he’s let yet another manager down. Not to mention the fans…

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  19. Fatmans on his way to beating the fans into submission I reckon. If this windows another dud, nothing will happen, you will still get 52,000 turn up.

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  20. how the hell do Ritchie and Gayle manage to get selected. Have we not seen enough of these two to know they are useless

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  21. Oh well. Look pretty comfortable for a while. But we had a good opportunity with Gayle for some reason he didn’t even take a shot! Next thing we know we’re a goal down…

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  22. I like what I’m seeing from this formation like. We have good workrate and are playing that high press.
    Behind thanks to a world class pass from Pedro & quick passing by Hazard & Alonso.

    But we haven’t changed our approach and dropped deeper as we have in the past.

    But toothless up front as always. I would take whatever Fulham want to offer for Gayle personally.

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  23. Stuart79:
    How many opportunities do we need to score…

    That’s the difference innit mate. I don’t remember too many chances for Chelsea other than the goals – but they have a forward & we have Gayle.

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  24. I would have said game over when the draw was made except Norwich gave them a run for their money.

    Keep it at 2-0 and see if they take Hazard off.

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  25. No way that we will come back from 2 down. Out of the cup once again… just so sick and tired of this shit. 😡😡😡 trying hard but totally toothless.

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  26. When the ref starts off by having a joke with Hazard it doesn’t augur well. Game would be even if Clark and Lascelles had have been awake.

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  27. When the ref starts by having a joke with Hazard it doesn’t augur well. Would be even if Clark and Lascelles and have stuck to their tasks.

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  28. These pundits are morons… guy says.. does Rafa keep it at 2-0 or go for it… duh.. it’s the cup. We are out whether it’s 2-0 or 10-0. Out is out. Gone for 2-2 at least and get a replay, but don’t go for 2-0… OMG. If they had 2 brain cells they would be dangerous

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  29. Skids off Shelvey’s baldy heed. If that was Aguero… He claimed that one against us that skimmed off his hair. Or he said it did !

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  30. Has Hayden touched the ball at all this game?! …

    He and Ritchie aren’t offering a great deal here like.

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  31. Chelsea only had 2 shots on target in the first half. They have spent a fortune but the difference is still Hazard and a goal threat.

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  32. So, every game a Dad gets his kid to ask for the star players’ shirt. Does it go on their wall or on E-Bay? Is that being too cynical? There were 3 signs in the corner asking for Hazard’s shirt. Game worn, even against NUFC must be worth at least 500 nicker. Get a selfie with it and you have provenance.

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  33. Hayden has been so half arsed in everything he’s today. Not impressed with him at all at the moment.

    WOW!!!, 3-0 and they’ve not really had to work for it at all.

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  34. Sharpy17: That’s the difference innit mate.I don’t remember too many chances for Chelsea other than the goals – but they have a forward & we have Gayle.

    And the club don’t seem to be in too much of a rush to sign a new striker. They think they’re being held to ransom. That’s what happens when you leave your business until the last week of the transfer market ffs!

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  35. Had to turn it off, carnt watch that at all, from start to finish we have been shit. We havent looked good at any point in game. Wrong formation for a start. Far too easy for chelsea. Sick of this shit like

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  36. Remember when you were a kid and you would watch Wimbledon or The Open Golf and you were inspired to get a tennis racket or golf club out? Well, after that I am inspired to go for a stroll in the park.

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  37. What a pile of total shit. Ok, cup done for yet another year. Another embarrassment… let’s focus on Burnley now.
    ☹️☹️☹️☹️

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  38. Stuart79: And the club don’t seem to be in too much of a rush to sign a new striker. They think they’re being held to ransom. That’s what happens when you leave your business until the last week of the transfer market ffs!

    Stu – yeah, if they game has any positive about it, it would be to highlight the need for a quality striker.
    It could well have been us going in 2-0 up at half time but for better finishing.

    We HAVE to get some business done this week. Gayle was shite, Joselu was no better & he won’t play Mitrovic – it’s a situation with only 1 outcome as I see it.

    I know you disagree, but I think we can get by GK wise. The total focus for me should be forwards and getting more goals in the team.

    To conclude this window with a ‘we tried but couldn’t get it done’ is to take a huge risk where the odds are stacked heavily against us.

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  39. Clearly our main troubles were up front. Saivet and Mbemba did ok considering their lack of playing time. Mbemba was my pick of the back three. His yellow card early in the game was harsh. Had we got Hazard we would have won.

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  40. Sharpy17: Stu – yeah, if they game has any positive about it, it would be to highlight the need for a quality striker.
    It could well have been us going in 2-0 up at half time but for better finishing.

    We HAVE to get some business done this week.Gayle was shite, Joselu was no better & he won’t play Mitrovic – it’s a situation with only 1 outcome as I see it.

    I know you disagree, but I think we can get by GK wise.The total focus for me should be forwards and getting more goals in the team.

    To conclude this window with a ‘we tried but couldn’t get it done’ is to take a huge risk where the odds are stacked heavily against us.

    It can’t be a either/or regards keeper and striker, Sharpy. It’s not beyond the wit of man to get Both surely if that’s what the manager wants?

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  41. Stuart79: It can’t be a either/or regards keeper and striker, Sharpy. It’s not beyond the wit of man to get Both surely if that’s what the manager wants?

    Stu – this is Ashley!!. The bloke that walked away from the opportunity to sell the damn club for the sake of a relegation clause!!. He is so far beyond the wit of man it’s a minor miracle we find ourselves in the position we are in!! (As in playing in the PL and Rafa still being there)

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  42. Groucho:
    Clearly our main troubles were up front. Saivet and Mbemba did ok considering their lack of playing time. Mbemba was my pick of the back three. His yellow card early in the game was harsh.Had we got Hazard we would have won.

    Groucho – yeah I was quite pleased with the Shelvey/Saviet partnership – certainly in the 1st half at least. I thought Hayden was a total let down.
    I agree. Mbemba looked the best of the defenders today & Clark had a bit of a stink based on his usual standards.
    I also thought Haidara did ok today on even less previous game time.

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  43. Rafa saying exactly the same as he’s said the last two transfer windows. It’s wmbarassing for him now. If nothing happens he really should resign.

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