The Premier League recent form table points to Chelsea’s demise maybe being overstated in recent times.
Clearly not the dominant force of not so long ago, Hiddink has though put Chelsea seemingly back on the right track.
The recent form table (last half dozen matches) sees Chelsea closer to the Champions League placings than they have been in a long time (see below)!
Unbeaten in the last six thanks to that late equaliser against Manchester United on Sunday, they have four draws and two wins – an away demolition of Pardew’s Palace and an impressive single goal win at The Emirates.
Conceding five goals and only picking up two points from home games with Everton and West Brom, does though surely give Newcastle encouragement that an attacking mentality might produce dividends.
Whilst Chelsea are sixth in the form table, Newcastle’s win on Saturday means they have picked up two wins and a draw from the last six games to put them 14th in the form table.
Maybe ominously though, all seven points were won at St James Park with none from nine in the three away games. In fact you have to go back two months to the last time Newcastle picked up anything on their travels – that remarkable late turn around and victory at White Hart Lane.
If you go beyond Chelsea’s last half dozen then their record looks even better under Hiddink, in all competitions they are unbeaten in 11 matches and their last defeat was away at possible champions Leicester City – ironically the same weekend that Newcastle won at Spurs.
Saturday promises to be a severe test of Newcastle United, particularly if there isn’t much positive news from the sickness room.
Lascelles though will be available after suspension so Steve McClaren would have the option of playing him at left-back ahead of Rolando Aarons.
Against West Brom though it surely proved that Newcastle’s biggest strengths are going forward and if only they can start applying the finishing touch on a more regular basis, there is every possibility of springing a surprise on Saturday.
Chelsea’s last six results with latest one listed first;
Chelsea 1 Man Utd 1
Watford 0 Chelsea 0
Arsenal 0 Chelsea 1
Chelsea 3 Everton 3
Chelsea 2 West Brom 2
Crystal Palace 0 Chelsea 3
Newcastle’s last six results also listed with the latest result first;
Newcastle 1 West Brom 0
Everton 3 Newcastle 0
Watford 2 Newcastle 1
Newcastle 2 West Ham 1
Newcastle 3 Man Utd 3
Arsenal 1 Newcastle 0