Predicted Newcastle team v Chelsea
Newcastle v Chelsea
Saturday 6 December 12.45pm Live On BT Sport
Newcastle welcome the best team in the country to St.James’ Park this afternoon.
Jose Mourinho’s team arrive in imperious form having gone 23 matches unbeaten in all competitions so far.
Apart from looking for whatever personal matchday lucky charm you might usually carry, there are some pointers in our favour.
Mourinho is yet to win a Premier League match at St.James’ Park, Sunderland managed a goalless draw against the Blues last weekend, plus Unite dhave beaten them the last twice at St.James’ Park.
On a playing level, the good news is that Chelsea arrive without arguably their most influential player this season; Nemanja Matic.
The defensive midfielder is credited with helping to take Chelsea to another level by snuffing out the threat of the opposition in front of his back four.
Obviously it won’t be any old mug replacing him, with candidates such as Ramires waiting in the wings, but combined with Sissoko free from suspension then it has to be a boost.
The excellent Diego Costa is expected to return but when you have Drogba and Loic Remy then it is a formidable trio to select from.
Mourinho brought in real quality this summer and Fabregas is another who has been excellent.
I expect Alan Pardew to go with Tiote, Colback and Sissoko in midfield and they will need to be at the top of their games to give Newcastle a decent chance. In our pre-match poll Newcastle fans selected Mehdi Abeid way ahead of Cheick Tiote but I can’t see the manager going without the Ivory Coast midfielder in this one.
Another selection I can see going down badly is Pardew’s reluctance to leave out Yoan Gouffran, with Remy Cabella once again likely to miss out despite doing well in the second half at Burnley as a substitute.
I also see the manager preferring Cisse to Perez, while Taylor should get the nod over Williamson.
United will need all the defensive resilience they showed against Manchester City, Liverpool and Spurs to stand a chance today.
While up front let’s hope that Papiss Cisse can build on the five goals from eight chances (according to Alan Pardew) this season.
Predicted starting 11;
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