The 3-0 win against Tottenham in the London Derby on Wednesday, saw the Blues still retain the top position in the Premier League. With 36 points in 14 games, Jose’s men are without a single defeat and have 11 wins and 3 draws in their account.
The next fixture, an away game to Newcastle United however, can prove to be a turning point in their campaign. It has never been easy for Chelsea to grab all the three points at St. James’ Park.
So let us analyze the team in our Opposition Scouting Report.
THE TEAM AND THE RECENT FORM
Newcastle United FC , based in Newcastle upon Tyne or Newcastle, was founded in 1892 after the merger of Newcastle East End and Newcastle West End. The club was relegated from the Premier League at the end of the 2008-09 season, for the first time ever since joining it in 1993. However, just after one season, they were again promoted back to the English top flight in the 2010-11 season and have not been relegated since. They have won 6 FA Cups and 4 League Championship titles throughout their history. NUFC is the twentieth richest club in the world in terms of annual revenue and have had a highest ranking of fifth in the world.
At present, The Magpies are 9th in the league with 20 points which include 5 wins, 5 draws and 4 losses. In their last 7 games, they have registered 5 wins, losing 1 to West Ham and playing a draw in their last game against Burnley. Two of their major achievements in these 5 wins have been an away win at Tottenham and a victory over Liverpool at home in the following game by one goal to nil. In spite of some performances, they have a goal difference of -2 with 15 goals scored and 17 conceded.
FORMATION AND STYLE OF PLAY
Alan Pardew, on becoming Newcastle United manager, went on to change the traditional 4-4-2 formation and adopted a 4-2-3-1 formation. In 10 of their first 12 games this season, the Magpies lined up in the 4-2-3-1 formation. This change has brought positive results, with the team losing just 2 games out of 10.
Newcastle’s back four have been known to play long ball football under Alan Pardew and being reliable to control the game from back. Local boy Jack Colback along with Mehdi Abeid or Moussa Sissoko in the central midfield role, have increased the stability, providing commitment and energy with their good positioning and defensive abilities to the whole team. The back four and front four are thus allowed to take the ball forward, ensuring that a shield is present to guard the defence. The two wide attacking midfielders, Remy Cabella and Sammy Ameobi often pull wide in an attempt to reach the touchline.
Alan Pardew likes to field an aggressive team with high-energy and high-tempo, and usually try to play on the front foot. His teams have been known to get the ball in to the final third quickly and effectively. Moreover, they try to find openings from their favored right flank area.
STRENGTH – KEY PLAYERS
Sammy Ameobi – Although the young playmaker has not impressed much this season with just one goal to his name and a passing accuracy of 60 percent, yet he looked to be in good shape against Burnley. His three accurate crosses, one key pass and 100 percent shooting accuracy prove that the 22 year old has a promising future and can prove vital against Chelsea on Saturday, with Pardew confirming his place in the starting 11.
Papiss Cisse – The Senegalese striker is all set to be a part of starting 11 against Chelsea. He scored the only goal for Newcastle in the 1-1 draw against Burnley in midweek, and also entered Newcastle’s all time top 10 goalscorers’ list. The trust of Alan Pardew and Newcastle legend Alan Shearer in the 29-year-old striker, is surely a boost for him for the future.
Moussa Sissoko – Well, what can we say about this enthusiastic young man! The French international, who is playing ‘the best football of his career’ at the moment, clinched two important goals in a 3-2 win over Chelsea in February 2013. Against Manchester City in the Capital One Cup this season, he came off the bench to score the winning goal and seal a wonderful 2-0 win. He repeated the same trick when he led the team against QPR last month, in the absence of captain Fabricio Coloccini, showing predatory instinct inside the penalty area and securing a vital win with a late goal. The 25 year old was also nominated for PFA Fans’ Player of the Month for November along with Sergio Aguero, Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez.
The Toons are usually considered weak at defending along the wings. Especially the creative players of their opposition can often dribble past their right and left full-backs to find spaces and enough time to land the ball inside the penalty. Moreover, they can fall prey to their own individual errors at times. Their goal difference in the League tells the rest of the story!
The team is also going through a great deal of injury crisis, something which is not new for them as for this season. Tim Krul, the goalkeeper, might miss the game against the West Londoners owing to his ankle injury. Captain Fabricio Coloccini and winger Ronald Aarons wiil be going through late fitness tests before the game.
HEAD TO HEAD
The fixture between these two sides has seen 148 games throughout history. Chelsea’s dominance hasn’t been too big with 61 wins, while Newcastle have 49. On 38 occasions, the game has ended in a draw. Last season, both the teams won their respective home games in the Premier League, Chelsea by 3-0 and Newcastle with a scoreline of 2-0.
The result of the game remains very much unpredictable, given Chelsea’s form this season in one hand and some furious past results for the Blues at St James’ Park on the other. We can however, expect our team to grab all the three points with Newcastle being busy dealing with their injury crisis.
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Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni