Maurizio Sarri’s disheartened Chelsea hope to obtain a confidence booster as Newcastle United travel to Stamford Bridge on Saturday in the Premier League.
It’s difficult to pinpoint what has been going on as of late, with inconsistent being the only way to describe the club’s performances as of late.
The South West London side can take solace in the fact that the head-to-head record between them and their upcoming opponents two sides drops in Chelsea’s favour. The Stamford Bridge outfit have won 15 out of the last 23 in all competitions against the Geordie’s.
Thanks to average match ratings in this season’s Premier League provided by WhoScored.com, we have taken a look at both sides to put together our own statistics-based combined team.
Goalkeeper: Martin Dubravka (Newcastle United) 6.66
Slovakian shot-stopper Martin Dubravka has impressed on Tyneside ever since he joined on loan 12 months ago before moving permanently last summer.
The goalkeeper has made 64 saves and has obtained six clean sheets in 21 league appearances so far this campaign.
Right-back: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea) 7.03
It’s almost impossible to think of a moment when Cesar Azpilicueta has actually made a mistake. He is so reliable that he has featured 23 times in a blue shirt already this season.
Azpilicueta always puts his team before himself, which shows with the number of clearances he has made, a total of 39.
Centre-back: David Luiz (Chelsea) 7.24
Versatility has become a key aspect in David Luiz’s game, having adapted from a tactical back five to transforming himself in Sarri’s free-flowing system.
His ability to distribute the ball around the field has proven important. The Brazilian has accumulated a total of 1,606 attempted long and short passes, with 1,423 finding its intended target.
Centre-back: Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea) 6.98
German commander Antonio Rudiger has been the go-to man when it comes to providing solidarity at the back. Since he arrived from Roma last season, the German international has made the role his own.
The battering ram has been involved in making an average of 3.2 clearances and 1.4 attempted tackles per match, having started in every league match this term.
Left-back: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea) 7.13
Another player that has had to adapt to the new manager’s way of playing is Marcos Alonso. The Spaniard has done well to interchange between attack and defence since Sarri’s arrival.
However, he cannot hide his attacking nature. Alonso has racked up the joint-most shots at left-back in the league this season, with 31 in total, alongside Crystal Palace’s Patrick van Aanholt.
Centre-midfield: N’Golo Kante (Chelsea) 7.02
Not much more can be said about N’Golo Kante that has not already been brought up. Kante has won the World Cup, Premier League and the FA Cup, with the Frenchman being pivotal to all of these triumphs. He has since continued to replicate his ever-present good form.
Despite being known for his defensive prowess, he has added a more creative element to his game. This is shown by the number of passes he has attempted, a total of 1,215.
Centre-midfield: Jorginho (Chelsea) 6.86
Upon arriving from Napoli, Sarri brought with him the rather silent but ever-efficient Jorginho. The deep-lying playmaker has become a mainstay for the Blues within a short space of time.
The Italian maestro has proven his worth as the orchestrator in midfield, with a total of 1,716 successful passes out of a possible 1,896.
Centre-midfield: Jonjo Shelvey (Newcastle United) 6.83
A bright spark of Rafael Benitez’s side is the hard-hitting midfielder Jonjo Shelvey. Any team that comes up against the no-nonsense Englishman should be very aware of the presence that he possesses.
Despite only making 11 appearances for the team from St. James’s Park this season, the midfielder has averaged 30.4 long and short passes per match in this space of time.
Right-wing: Willian (Chelsea) 7.14
Willian has become somewhat of a constant feature this season, which has made a change from his fringe role under Antonio Conte’s reign. The Brazilian trickster has appeared in a staggering 30 games in all competitions this season.
The ever-present winger has come up with a total of 49 key passes for the Pensioners in 20 league appearances.
Striker: Eden Hazard (Chelsea) 7.88
In Eden Hazard’s six-and-a-half-year career at Stamford Bridge, the Belgian has obtained cult status among the club, with a lot of supporters going as far as claiming that he is the most talented player the club has ever seen.
Chelsea’s top goalscorer in the league this season has shown just how vital the brilliant Belgian is to his side, with the ever-important rate of 10 goals in 20 appearances.
Left-wing: Pedro (Chelsea) 7.05
During his relatively short spell at Chelsea, it would be difficult to see an all-time Blues squad which didn’t include Pedro, which is some achievement for the brilliant Spaniard.
The engine on the right-wing has made 22 successful dribbles out of a possible 31, whilst he has also attempted 30 shots on goal, scoring six times.
By Darion Westwood