With the Evening Standard claiming that Chelsea star N’Golo Kante will NOT be risked against Newcastle on Saturday, my hopes of us getting a result at Stamford Bridge have increased significantly.
The Frenchman picked up an injury in the build up to France’s game with Iceland during the international break. Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was initially expecting the midfielder to recover in time, but it now looks like he’ll spare him for their Champions League clash with Ajax the following Wednesday.
Should it prove to be correct, the news should come as a huge boost to Steve Bruce and co. heading into this one, as Kante is no doubt one of the best players in the world in his position. Chelsea have kept 1 clean sheet in 12 this season but look a far better side defensively with him in it.
He may not be the only Chelsea player missing either, with the Evening Standard also revealing that Mateo Kovacic, Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen all doubts.
The midfield battle at Stamford Bridge will be crucial to deciding which team comes out on top. With Geordie brothers Sean and Matty Longstaff impressing against Manchester United and set to start again here, the duo will be fancying their chances at the thought of a Chelsea midfield without N’Golo Kante.
We’ve had some awful displays this season, have shown against Spurs and Man United that competing against the so-called ‘bigger clubs’ tends to get the best out of our players, so there’s no reason why we can’t get a result here.
Although I don’t think we will win the game, I feel our defence is the strongest aspect of the team and has the capability to keep Chelsea’s youthful frontline quiet, while there’s a goal to be had for us at the other end – especially when their defensive screen looks set to miss out.
A score draw or a narrow win for the home side is what I predict, but I don’t think we will see Newcastle collapse in the same fashion as we did last time out away from home, when Leicester demolished us 5-0.