The Premier League returns this weekend and with that the return of Chelsea. The Blues host Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge and will have the opportunity to continue their winning streak. The international break once again plagued the squad with some new fresh injuries including some knocks on Andreas Christensen, Mateo Kovačić and N’Golo Kanté. Chelsea are coming off of a four game winning streak in all competitions and a two game win streak in the league. The international break always poses a threat to injuries and can disrupt a teams momentum and Chelsea will hope it won’t affect theirs.
Newcastle’s previous Premier League fixture was a home win against the struggling Manchester United. Matthew Longstaff made his Premier League debut in wonderful fashion, scoring his first goal and giving the Toon their first home win in the league. Newcastle stand 16th in the Premier League table with 8 points, only one point behind Manchester United who stand 12th. Newcastle, before their recent game, came off the back of a disastrous loss against Leicester City losing 5-0 at the King Power Stadium. Manchester United dominated possession against the Toon with 69% and Newcastle with only 31% possession but that didn’t stop them from hitting United on the counter. The Longstaff brothers and Almiron managed the midfield with Alan Saint-Maximin attacking on the left hand side. Newcastle weren’t shy in giving the winger the ball as the young dynamic Frenchman posed a threat, as he is very flashy and isn’t afraid to take several defenders on.
Steve Bruce’s side likes to use a back three with wing backs and having a sole striker up front but has also deployed a back four with a 4-2-3-1 at times, but most of their matches consisted of a back three. Last season, Salomón Rondón was their leading man, but this season, the young Brazilian, Joelinton is Newcastle’s new main striker. They also re-signed Andy Carroll this past window adding some depth to their striker positions. That hasn’t propelled the Magpies as they have struggled to score only having 5 goals as a team this season. They are poor defensively having conceded 13 in the league with a goal difference of -8. The midfield can sometimes can look shaky when losing the ball and the Blues can hurt them if they manage to make key decisive passes.
It will be important for Chelsea to not make silly mistakes as Newcastle’s 2 blocks of five makes it hard to penetrate their compact defence and makes any team vulnerable on the counter. Almiron was the player that kickstarted the counter attack vs Manchester United and laid it off to Saint-Maximum who propelled Newcastle to dash forward and eventually Longstaff scored from a pass from Jetro Willems. The trio of Joelinton, Miguel Almirón and Allan Saint-Maximin may not sound dangerous but the trio still poses a threat and Chelsea will have to be vigilant.
A major aspect that Chelsea will have to acknowledge coming into this game is their defending on set pieces. Newcastle have some towering figures in their side and making sure they are kept in check will be key. Given Chelsea’s recent poor history of set-piece defending this will be no doubt an area Newcastle will look to exploit. Chelsea are coming in as the favourites once again but Newcastle’s two wins in the league have come off against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United and will surely have some confidence knowing Chelsea have dropped points at the Bridge.
Injuries have been an issue for Frank Lampard’s side as key players are still recovering to become fit for this upcoming fixture. The Blues will most likely be deploying a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1 formation in order to break Newcastle’s tight lines of defence. There is no doubt that the young academy products have been a major factor for Chelsea’s recent form especially since the return of Hudson-Odoi. He has contributed in each game he has participated in with 3 assists and 1 goal in all competitions. Chelsea will be disappointed to not secure the three points this upcoming weekend but will have to be sharp in the final third and take their chances in order to come off victorious.
Emerson and Reece James are both back in training, but it’s unlikely that they’ll be risked. International break concerns in Kovacic and Barkley, have also trained and are in contention to play. Christensen’s injury is more serious and is out for two weeks, while Rudiger is training outside with physios. It’s likely he will be brought back more carefully. Kante isn’t fit, but will hopefully be ready for Ajax.
Chelsea vs Newcastle
19th October, 2019
Kick off: 15:00 UK time