Chelsea travel to St James Park in Saturday’s early kickoff in the game week 14 of the Premier League campaign.
The Blues are in imperious form displaying their credentials for the title and travel to Tyneside at the back of a majestic 3-0 win over Tottenham in midweek. Jose Mourinho has failed to win at Newcastle as Chelsea manager and Alan Pardew is determined to halt the Stamford Bridge side’s run. Will Newcastle stop the Chelsea juggernaut or will Diego Costa and co smash the home side at Tyneside?
Here are the three key player battles we must keep an eye on:
Cheick Tiote vs Cesc Fabregas
Nemanja Matic’s absence due to suspension will come as a huge blow for Chelsea which means Cesc Fabregas will have to take extra responsibility in the middle of the park. Newcastle will be looking to take this small advantage and Pardew could use Tiote as a blocker, tracking down and breaking Fabregas’s delightful layoffs for the attackers up front. Fabregas has been the driving force for Chelsea this season and if Newcastle need to get at least something from the game, Tiote has to be at his destructive and disruptive best. Pardew would surely ask the Ivorian to raise his game and stop the Spaniard from having an influence on the game. This very battle could well determine the outcome of the game.
Pappis Cisse vs John Terry
Every Chelsea fan would remember Pappis Cisse’s stunning brace against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge three seasons ago. The Senegalese would love to repeat his heroics against the Blues in front of his home faithful. Cisse has been in good form over the past few weeks, scoring five league goals in eight appearances including the equaliser against Burnley in midweek. Chelsea captain John Terry would have his work cut out against the Senegalese who will try to make in darting runs from the edge of the penalty box. Newcastle will have to look to play to Cisse’s strengths taking advantage of his predatory instincts to get something from the match. John Terry has been impeccable form this season, but this will be a different test altogether.
Mark Williamson vs Diego Costa
Diego Costa’s return will be a welcome boost for Chelsea ahead of the clash. The Brazilian-born Spanish turned forward however wasn’t missed as Didier Drogba and Loic Remy made sure they dispatched Tottenham on Wednesday night. Newcastle centre back mark Williamson will have a tough job on his hands on Saturday as he comes up against Costa, the former Atletico Madrid man who has been in stunning striking form. Williamson has this bad habit of committing into challenges and is always rash with his challenges. He has collected some yellow cards lately and with Costa always likely to win the duel, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Williamson manages to get sent off!
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt