Chelsea will be bidding to bounce back from successive Premier League defeats when they travel to an in-form Newcastle United side in Saturday’s late start.
A four-game winless run in the league has seen the Blues drop down into seventh spot in the table, but Newcastle are up in third, with the Magpies picking up 27 points from their opening 14 matches.
Newcastle will certainly be expecting to challenge for the biggest prizes in European football in the not too distant future, with their recent takeover making them one of the wealthiest clubs on the planet, but not too many would have predicted how well they would start this season.
Indeed, a record of seven wins, six draws and one defeat has seen Eddie Howe’s side collect 27 points from their 14 Premier League games, which has left them in third position in the table.
Newcastle are one point ahead of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur and four clear of fifth-placed Manchester United, albeit with the Red Devils having a game in hand.
It is perhaps still too early to discuss Howe’s side as possible top-four contenders, but they have now won each of their last five matches in all competitions, including their last four in the league, scoring eight times in their recent victories over Aston Villa and Southampton.
The Magpies have also managed to progress to the fourth round of the EFL Cup, beating fellow Premier League side Crystal Palace on penalties following a goalless draw at St James’ Park on Wednesday night.
Chelsea, meanwhile, were also in EFL Cup action on Wednesday evening, suffering a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City to exit the competition in the third round.
Graham Potter has managed to lead the Blues into the knockout round of the Champions League, with the capital giants finishing top of Group E ahead of AC Milan, boasting a record of 13 points from six matches.
However, Chelsea’s recent league form has been disappointing, picking up just two points from their last four matches, losing their last two against Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal.
The four-game winless run has seen the capital giants slide down into seventh position in the table, six points behind Newcastle ahead of this match, although they have a game in hand on Howe’s side, and a victory this weekend would still leave them in a relatively good position heading into the break.
Chelsea have won each of their last four Premier League games against Newcastle, including a 3-0 victory at St James’ Park last October, but it would be fair to say that the Magpies are a completely different side at this moment in time, and it is sure to be a tough examination for the six-time English champions.
Newcastle United Premier League form:
Newcastle United form (all competitions):
Chelsea Premier League form:
Chelsea form (all competitions):
We say: Newcastle United 1-1 Chelsea
In previous seasons, we would be tipping Chelsea to win this, but it is so difficult to back against Newcastle at the moment, while the visitors will not enter this match in the best of form. Both managers would be relatively pleased with a point on Saturday, and we can see the spoils being shared at St James’ Park.