Chelsea (H): Predicted line-ups, pre-match thoughts & team news

After two weeks of trying to forget that horror show at Southampton, seeing our international stars in action and listening to Almiron’s agent link him with a new club every day, Premier League action finally return to St James’ Park.

Saturday’s early kick-off sees Chelsea come to town – a team that will be smelling blood after scoring seven in their last two league games as their summer signings begin to click into top gear.

It goes without saying that we’ll need to be MUCH better than we were at St Mary’s if we want to avoid a walloping, never mind earn a result, with this being no injury-riddled Everton who we beat via a surprisingly solid performance in our last home game.

I’m expecting some form of a response after our abysmal showing at Southampton – the players owe us that – but whether Bruce can muster up a game plan to keep this high flying Chelsea side at bay is another matter.

Team news

The good news is that Callum Wilson has declared himself fit to play – although Bruce has stressed that he won’t be taking any risks on his hamstring if he’s not 100% ready.

Sadly, the game will come too soon for Ryan Fraser, with him yet to recover from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the Southampton trip and Scotland’s Euro 2020 decider.

Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Ritchie are back in training, however it could be a bench role at best for them after the gaffer suggested they’d not be fit to start until our trip to Palace next weekend.

Elsewhere, Martin Dubravka, Paul Dummett and Dwight Gayle have been ruled out, with Miguel Almiron facing a late fitness test after returning late from Paraguay.

For the visitors, Ben Chilwell has been passed fit despite missing England’s 4-0 win in midweek, but the Blues look set to be without Thiago Silva and Christian Pulisic. Kai Havertz has overcome COVID-19, but it remains to be seen if he’ll be fit enough to start.

Predicted line up

Predicted NUFC XI (5-4-1): Darlow – Manquillo, Fernandez, Lascelles, Clark, Lewis – Murphy, S Longstaff, Hayden, ASM – Wilson.

I’ve thought for a few weeks that Ciaran Clark will be knocking on the door for a start when fully fit – and his Ireland call-up suggests he’s finally ready to play.

With Schar looking half asleep and erratic in our 2-0 loss at Southampton, I reckon Bruce might just hand our reliable Irishman a rare start. After all, he rarely puts a foot wrong when he plays – and we’ll need players to be on their guard against this lethal Chelsea attack.

Because it could well be a backs against the wall job, I can also see Manquillo coming back in for Murphy – who was another to struggle at St Mary’s. For me, the Spaniard remains our best right-back and hasn’t done much wrong over the past 18 months.

In midfield, it’s time Hendrick was taken out of the firing line for me – especially now Hayden is fit.

Almiron has played in a midfield three in our last three games, but with him not returning from Paraguay until 11pm on Thursday and being linked with a move away all week, I think Bruce may pair Sean Longstaff with Hayden (a partnership that’s worked in the past).

I wouldn’t be surprised if Matty Longstaff gets a rare start should Bruce stick with the 5-3-1-1 he’s gone with in recent weeks.

With this freeing up an extra spot in the final third, I can see Saint-Maximin being moved to the left (he’s wasted in a No 10 role) and Jacob Murphy getting a chance to prove himself on the other wing after a few weeks in more of a right-back role.

Then, up top, it’ll be Callum Wilson – providing he does pass a late fitness test. Let’s hope his hamstring holds up, because I dread to think how we’ll pose a goal threat if it’s Carroll or Joelinton up top!

The opposition

Here’s a few ones to watch in Frank Lamprd’s Chelsea side:

Hakim Ziyech – The Moroccan is a majestic player who has made an instant impact, bagging a goal and three assists in his two Premier League starts since returning from injury. He’s a little bit of Kevin De Bruyne and a little bit of Riyad Mahrez and promises to give Jamal Lewis a real tough test down our left-hand side.

Timo Werner – It remains to be seen if he’ll start this one, with him absent from recent training photos, but we’ll be hoping their German hitman misses out after finding form in recent weeks with four goals in his last four PL starts.

Rudiger / Christensen / Tomori – With Thiago Silva is set to miss out, it’s essential we get at whoever comes in for the experienced Brazilian. He has been a calming influence in Chelsea’s back four who’s got the best out of Zouma, so we’ll have to hope Wilson can ruffle up one of Rudiger, Christensen or Tomori and get ASM running at them.

Predicted Chelsea XI(4-1-2-3): Mendy – James, Zouma, Rudiger, Chilwell – Kante – Kovacic, Mount – Ziyech, Abraham, Werner.

Prediction

I would love to say we’ll go back to 4-2-3-1, get into them from the off and put pressure on a defence that’s set to be without calming influence Thiago Silva, but I can’t see it.

Instead, I imagine we’ll sit deep, let them dominate possession and hope to defend well and hit them on the break every now and then.

We were the better team against Everton in what was a rare enjoyable watch under Bruce at St James’ Park, however I don’t see Chelsea being nearly as tame and passive as the Toffees were that day.

Sit back and give Chelsea endless opportunities to mount attack after attack and I can only see it going one way.

Hoping for another Isaac Hayden inspired 1-0 win. Fearing a hammering!

PredictionNewcastle 1-3 Chelsea

HWTL!

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About Olly Hawkins

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

62 thoughts on “Chelsea (H): Predicted line-ups, pre-match thoughts & team news

  1. I dont care that Wilson has declared himself fit he should not start. People may say he knows his own body, but we know how this ends. If he starts, he will most likely end with him being out for a month. We have seen this movie before many times. Sorry to be so pessimistic.

    if you want recent evidence just look ast Shelvey who they let play with a hernia. I do not trust our coaches, doctors and physios.

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  2. Stuart: those predictions look a bit wild;y off. The US has about 2,000 deaths per day and has 5 times the population. The predictions were nowhere near as dire here probably coz the UK gave too much sway to those scientists you had posted info on before. Still a very bad situation though and it is the ICU beds that are full over here with COVID patients which leaves no room for those with other ailments.

    There’s a bit of karma happening. Some in Trumps team had been having meetings indoors, with no masks and no social distancing. Quite a few of them. It turns out that totally ignoring safety measures was not the best idea. Trump Jr and Rudy Giuliani’s son both tested positive today. The oldest member of the Senate who is 87 also tested positive.

    Whatever you think of the scientists and predictions, it is a bit dumb to tempt fate like this.

    There has been a massive spike in cases over here. Almost quadrupled in a month so the Drs have not all been wrong.

    I still dont get why these people dont take basic precautions. It is an airpborn disease so not letting people cough on you or at least creating a barrier with a mask is just common sense. Mine are 5 ply with like a micro gauze. I am at relatively low risk but I still dont want to catch it.

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  3. It might take someone high profile to die for some people to wake up. Guiliani didnt seem to take many, if any precautions. He is 87 and looks in terrible health. I am not a Dr but just looking at him he is overweight and all slumped over.

    Trump supporters still think this is a hoax even as their friends die. How stupid can you get!!!

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  4. BTW: Rudy Giuliani was not allowed in a meeting today because he was exposed to his son. According to the guidelines I think he is supposed to isolate for 10 days. I bet he wont!!!

    It seems there is one rule for them and another for the rest of us. And karma is a b!tch. The infection rate in the White House is MUCH higher than in the general population. Probably because Trump ridicyuled anybody wearing a mask, so much so that staffers said they were actively pressured into not wearing them. This is from the man who was airlifted to hospital FFS.

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  5. Back to football. I think this Chelsea squad is as good as Liverpool and City, especially with Aguero and/or Van Djik out. Their problem might be Lampard’s inexperience compared to Klopp and Pep. I dont think they will win the league this year, but will challenge next.

    I think they will have far too much for us. Their attack is truly scary now with Pulisic (injured). Werner and Ziyech added to what they already had. Then they fixed their goalkeeping issue and added defenders. Chelsea had by far the best transfer window in world football. Any team that can loan out Loftus Cheek must be good.

    So, how will this play out? I dont care what Bruce says about getting on the front foot I think we will encamp on our 18 yard line and have 30% possession. I think Chelsea have too much quality up front for us to survive, just like when we play Liverpool or City when we are lucky to get away with 4-0 usually.

    We need another blinder from Darlow to keep the score down. He has really improved since his deer in the headlights days and he is definately a better keeper than the TRex Mackem at this point.

    I will definately give Bruce some credit if we dont get hammered but I expect the opposite and for fans to turn on him even more. Hope Agbonlahor watches the game 🙂

    A bad result and we will see a twitter feeding frenzy but also the usual pundit suspects will still defend him.

    I am going for 0-3.

    AND, as I wrote a couple of days ago we could easily end up 15th after this weekend. That would be punching BELOW our weight given the quality in this squad.

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  6. Eric the stand out fact for me is that only 42 people under 40 without serious underlying health problems have died. That’s why I still cannot believe we didn’t have a more targeted approach.

    Talking of Rudy Guliani. Did you see his press conference where he got hot and his hair dye started running down his face? That was very funny!

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  7. The State of Kansas mandated masks a few weeks ago but some counties opted out. It was the usual individual freedom agrument although I bet they have a seat belt law and no smoking in pubs. Anyway, it turned into a real time experiment. The counties that opted out had a 100% increase in cases whereas those that obeyed the mask mandate had a 6% DECREASE.

    I have said quite a few times that it only common sense that something that blocks germs from an airborne virus would seem like a good idea and also what do you have to lose? Now it seems there is at least some evidence that masks work even though it was not a scientifically rigorous experiment.

    It just seems so obvious to me. Surgeons wear masks and scrub up to stop the spread of germs to the vulnerable (those under the knife) so why would you deny the efficacy of wearing a mask. All I can think of is that some people are just stupid.

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  8. Bruce has said they cannot attack Chelsea as they would get beat,he will use the same way they did at S/hamton that will be a joy to watch NOT

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  9. Stu: I watched some of that Giliani press conference and it was pure madness. They said that Huga Chavez who has been dead for 7 years doctored the voting machines. You know, the same machines that were used when Trump won in 2016. Also, they said that some states shipped the ballots to Spain where they were doctored and shipped back to count.

    Trumpism is a cult now and they believe anything he and his surrogates say, no matter how far fetched.

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  10. “We must defend well and at the other end of the pitch cause them a problem.

    “We have to be right and ready to take on the challenge.

    “I won’t shy away from that.”

    Steve Bruce talks ****. There’s zero chance we will cause any problems for Chelsea. I’ve just seen the team and it’s essentially I one man attack. ASM is the only person capable and he won’t be much use on his own.

    0-3

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  11. I predicted before the season started that Werner would win the golden boot. Mainly because Kane, Vardy, Ings and Aguero will be injured at some point. If Frank plays him down the middle today I can see him getting a couple. Hope not, but I am not alone in thinking we are in for a long afternoon playing the famous 9-0-1 formation.

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  12. I hope I am wrong, but the only way I see us getting on the scoresheet is some sort of Maradonna-like wonder goal from St Max. If we go a goal down and Bruce chases the game, Werner will kill us with his pace.

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  13. I think if it’s 3-0 or less we will break records again for lack of possession, chances, shots etc.

    Our best chance is Chelski to have a slow start after the break – but it’s defeat today – I just don’t see any other result. I think 4-0.

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  14. I think Bruce is right to protect Wilson. Even if he was to score today it would be a consolation.

    He’s not fully fit so why risk him?!.

    Im not looking forward to today’s game, but I can’t wait for it to start – I’m sick of hearing Joe Cole & Jenas talking absolute b0ll0cks!!.

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  15. Does anybody think Keegan would have given up before a ball was even kicked, whatever the quality of players he had? Or Bobby Robson for that matter? He had a pretty crap squad when he first turned up but we didnt just roll over.

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  16. Sharpy: Jenas talks a better game than he played. I never saw why he was rated. He must have been good in training. I saw him playing for England in Chicago and he was the worst player on the pitch by a mile.

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  17. Eric Sykes:
    Does anybody think Keegan would have given up before a ball was even kicked, whatever the quality of players he had? Or Bobby Robson for that matter? He had a pretty crap squad when he first turned up but we didnt just roll over.

    Eric – I’d go one further and say I don’t think Pardew or Houghton would have thrown the towel in before a ball was kicked.

    It’s been a downward spiral since Pardew left imo. Carver was a stop gap coz we had enough points to survive – we’ll sort it at the end of the season approach. McLaren was an absolute disaster – who paid the price for that one?. Then Rafa comes in & everyone knew his brand of football – he was booed out of Chelsea for it even though he got them trophies – that’s not the way we want to do it.
    People say Rafa had us organised & had a game plan – yeah, but it was ugly as sin!!.
    Now we have Bruce, and by hook or by crook he’s picking up those points & I think it’s another season safe – but, well I don’t know what’s more ugly than sin – but that’s what Bruce has managed.

    It’s only that each season there have been at least 3 teams worse than us that we’ve never really worried about relegation.

    Here we go 🤢🤢🤢

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  18. Darlow again!!! He has improved so much. I dont even mind the hoofing in this game as we will not be bring it out anyway.

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  19. We’re going to be knackered after 70 minutes. I think Bruce will be happy to keep it at 1-0 hoping to nick one. Cant see it happening though.

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  20. I am going to watch it all Stewart. If/when it goes t!ts up I want to see if what the fans say is justified.

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  21. Eric Sykes:
    I am going to watch it all Stewart. If/when it goes t!ts up I want to see if what the fans say is justified.

    Eric, the fans will/do say the same every match win, lose or draw because performances never change. We’re utterly boring and without entertainment value. Even when we have 6 attackers on the pitch we defend deep.

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  22. Sharpy17: Bruce said coz of travelling – but I reckon it’s fall out of his agent gobbing off

    Sharpy – would you want to play in a team that is so negative if you’re an attacking player?

    We are shambolic. The player generally don’t know what they’re suppose to do.

    Sadly, Ashley will be thinking Bruce is doing a good job.

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  23. Sack the coaches. On 30 mins we have a free kick on the half way line out wide. Send the big lads up and then play it short into the centre circle, totally giving up the angle. Who the fck designed that one, Ugly John Carver-eque.

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  24. Now the commentators saying you can understand a manager not wanting to throw the dice against Chelsea the way they play.
    If this was Rafas team today playing like this they would be crucifying him.
    But it’s Bruce and he’s English and friend to the pundits.

    Ohhh Maxi Chance, is that our highlight today.

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  25. Sick of us being s hit, please for the love of god someone, anyone, take this club off Jabbas hands and remove this excuse of a manager .

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  26. What a fuc.king horrible match… we are just so bad. Even the ref giving us yellows for tackles where we win the ball. Longstaff is crap, joe is crap. We are just so bad… I know it’s Chelsea but give it a go FFS!

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  27. Stuart79: Sharpy – would you want to play in a team that is so negative if you’re an attacking player?

    We are shambolic. The player generally don’t know what they’re suppose to do.

    Sadly, Ashley will be thinking Bruce is doing a good job.

    Definitely not mate. I’d be demanding my agent find me a move – anywhere!!.

    Bruce will be pleased though. He said the most frustrating thing for him was the lack of consistency from the players … well they are showing consistency today that’s for sure.

    It is absolutely awful. They aren’t closing down, can’t string 3 passes together – and what a good idea these short set pieces are. We’ve got Lascelles, Fernandez, Clark, Joelinton all in the side and not a ball put into the box yet – genius!!.

    But, keep it up for me. He’s just proving the fans right.

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  28. My only hope for the 2nd half now is that Longstaff gets booked.

    A fiver at 8/1 at kick off and I forgot he was on the pitch in the first half

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  29. McManaman summed it up – for Joelinton to not even hit the target there was absolutely criminal.

    Not demanding he scored, but whether you are a CF or not – he should be hitting the target

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  30. Pathetic!!! Werner went passed Longstaff like he wasn’t there – no way he should be gliding passed him as easy as that.

    If that was Shelvey we’d be jumping all over him – that’s f@cking lazy from Longstaff.

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  31. Sharpy17:
    McManaman summed it up – for Joelinton to not even hit the target there was absolutely criminal.

    Not demanding he scored, but whether you are a CF or not – he should be hitting the target

    Reckon i could of hit the target there and that’s with a dodgy knee.

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  32. David Jordan
    @_DavidJJordan
    – #NUFC are least efficient team at advancing the ball
    – Most passive at pressing
    – Slower this season than last
    – Defend like counter-attacking side but don’t counter
    This isn’t a special performance it’s how they play. Facts by
    @Worville
    +
    @ChrisDHWaugh

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  33. You know Bruce has no idea when he resorts to Carroll. Would have preferred young Anderson I know he’s not a striker as such but he does know where the net is. McManaman’s summing ups were very much on target. Why can Bruce not see what McManaman sees and most of our fans?

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  34. Dreadful…. I think it would be more entertaining watching a steaming, festering pile of parrot droppings … no soul, no heart, no fight, no tactics, players that are ticking down 90 mins so they can do something else with their rich little live and fancy WAGs. 🤬🤬🤬

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