Chelsea vs Newcastle United – Key Player Battles

Time for some revenge, folks?

Long awaited Premier League will be back this weekend ( I know, it’s only been a week, but still! ) when Jose Mourinho’s top placed Chelsea will host a 10th placed Magpies side at Stamford Bridge in an evening kick-off.

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Newcastle were the side that handed us our first loss of the season, not so long ago and things have gone downhill since then for the Blues. We had to be content with a draw against the Saints and suffered a humiliating 5-3 loss from our neighbours on the first day of the new year. Even the game we won during this time, we haven’t looked convincing at all. If fatigue was the reason for our dreary performance all this while, there shouldn’t be any issues, come tomorrow, after nearly a week of rest for Jose Mourinho’s men.

Magpies, on the other hand, are going through a horrible time on and off the pitch. After sharing a point against relegation battling Burnley in the last league game, they were knocked out off the FA Cup by Leicester City. On top of that, Alan Pardew has left the managerial job to join Crystal City which has certainly unsettled their dressing room.

So, If Chelsea are hoping to kick-start their Premier League campaign yet again, this is the perfect time and place to do so with Newcastle on their most vulnerable and Manchester City facing Everton without the likes of Yaya Toure (off to African Cup Of Nations).

We have fluffed up our once 12 points lead over City and a win is must for the Blues if we want to decorate our cabinet with a PL trophy yet again. So, here are some Key Player Battles that may influence the outcome of this game:


Brilliant, beautiful, amazing, wonderful, awesome, astounding etc. these are the words that we often use as a synonym when we are talking about Eden Hazard. The Belgian was magical in our 5-3 drumming against Spurs. It’s not often you talk so fondly of a player when your team is being humiliated by your neighbours, but the Belgian was our sole hope especially in the second half against Spurs when he took it all to himself to save us from the humiliation. Although we did lose in the end, but the Belgian, with his exorbitant performance, certainly gained lots of new admirers if they were naive enough not to appreciate him before that!

So, Hazard, in his usual quest of greatness will be up against Daryl Janmaat when he graces the pitch at Stamford Bridge tomorrow. No fullback, this season, has been fortunate enough to escape the clutches of Eden Hazard as they all have been destroyed be the Belgian’s superior play and intelligent dribbling skills. “Unplayable” is the word that describes the Belgian, with the kind of form he is in now and Janmaat will be very aware and nervous when he comes up against him tomorrow.

Maybe it would bode well with the fans and Mourinho if the referee could keep an eye on the number of fouls committed on the Belgian as this looks to be the primary tactics for the fullbacks to stop Hazard in his run and I am sure Janmaat would try to be extra physical too when he evidently fails to control Hazard’s run. Nevertheless, can’t wait to see Hazard start tomorrow and destroy the Newcastle defense making this a fun battle to watch out for!


Okay, so John Terry gave one of his worst performances against Tottenham Hotspurs as we let in 5 goals against our neighbours. Fatigue was regarded as one of the major reasons for our drumming and if that’s the case; a 10 days rest should do well for our 34-year-old Captain when he comes up against Ayoze Perez.

Fortunately, for us, our usual destroyer Papiss Cisse is off to AFCON. Cisse has been a constant thorn for us since.. forever and not having him with Magpies certainly bodes well with us. Unfortunately, Ayoze Perez is no slouch other either at the front post. The fast and pacy Striker/AM has been on of the better signings for the Magpies this summer. The Spaniard has already scored five league goals this season, with a shooting accuracy of 65%, which is impressive considering the little time he has taken to adapt to the league. Voted as the best attacking midfielder in the Segunda division in Spain, the Spaniard has mostly played as a Striker for Newcastle this season.

With John Terry having lost a yard of pace, coming up against the fast Spaniard won’t be easy for the Englishman, as was evident against Harry Kane. Terry will have to be on his very best, covering important positions along with his partner; probably Gary Cahill and stop Perez from running behind his mark as Harry Kane did time and time again, leaving both our CB’s for dead at White Hart Lane. Should be an interesting battle to watch out for.


After an amazing start that saw the Spaniard take the Premier League and the whole of Europe by storm, Diego Costa has cooled off a bit. It was probably expected as you can’t score goals every game unless you are Ronaldo or Messi. Speaking of Messi, some people are getting delusional, thinking the Argentine is coming to Bridge.

But let’s not talk about that, much has been written and said over the past few weeks and talking about Messi, there’s another Argentine we should be wary off when we kick-off the evening fixture tomorrow. Fabricio Coloccini, the Captain of the Newcastle United; David Luiz by appearance and his style of play, will be the one with the primary responsibility to contain Costa and co. at Stamford Bridge on the weekend tomorrow.

Costa scored in our last league defeat against the Spurs and looked rather lively in the first half before he got faded off in the second. Coming up against Coloccini and co. we should expect a tight defense as the visitors will look to sit deep and hit us on the break. Costa has a brilliant link up play for a striker, something we sorely missed last season and even when he doesn’t score, the Spaniard proves useful in creating chances for other players.

Considering all that, Fabio Coloccini might have a very tough task on his hand containing a lively Diego Costa, making this battle an interesting one to watch out for.

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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt

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