Chelsea are aiming to extend their winning streak against Newcastle United in home matches to seven when they meet at Stamford Bridge tomorrow.
The Blues haven’t lost in London to the Magpies since May 2012, where a stunning brace from Papiss Cisse earned them a surprise 2-0 victory less than three weeks before Roberto Di Matteo guided his side to a triumph in the UEFA Champions League.
In August, Chelsea were 2-1 winners over Newcastle United at St James’s Park in only Maurizio Sarri’s third top-flight game in charge.
As Sarri’s side hope to return to winning ways following a disappointing Carabao Cup defeat to Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday, here is who we are predicting will start for the Blues in their Premier League return against a Newcastle side currently managed by ex-Chelsea boss, Rafael Benitez.
Predicted line-up: (4-3-3) Kepa Arrizabalaga; Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso; N’Golo Kante, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic; Pedro, Eden Hazard, Willian
Predicted substitutes: Willy Caballero, Andreas Christensen, Emerson, Ethan Ampadu, Ross Barkley, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Olivier Giroud
Kepa Arrizabalaga was minutes away from keeping a clean sheet against Newcastle at the start of this season, had it not been for Joselu’s late header, something that the Blues’ club-record signing will want to rectify on home soil.
In Chelsea’s last meeting with Newcastle, the defence of Cesar Azpilicueta, Antonio Rudiger, David Luiz and Marcos Alonso all started together, a regular back-line that is unlikely to change in South West London tomorrow.
Like the defence, Sarri may not change his midfield trio tomorrow from their previous encounter with Benitez’s Magpies, with N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic unlikely to miss out from the offset.
After returning from injury, Pedro could start in place of Callum Hudson-Odoi who started against Spurs in midweek, which could Sarri see continue to use three wingers up front, with Hazard starting in between Pedro and Willian.
Newcastle’s struggling season makes them appear to be an easy opponent for Chelsea to now face, yet their away record this season will certainly make life difficult for tomorrow’s hosts.
Score prediction: Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle United