Paul Merson thinks one player can influence Chelsea v Newcastle if he plays on Saturday.
Merson saying ‘Newcastle did great to come back against West Brom’ on Tuesday night but that Chelsea are a different proposition.
Eden Hazard was rested on the bench (apart from the final few minutes) on Wednesday as Chelsea won narrowly 1-0, despite dominating the game.
Paul Merson expecting the Belgian to play on Saturday and he believes ‘Chelsea aren’t the same without him’.
Certainly Eden Hazard was at his brilliant best last season with 16 goals and five assists in 36 Premier League matches but Antonio Conte is using him more sparingly this time.
Hazard has only started seven of the 14 league matches this campaign and Chelsea have actually lost two and drawn one of them, including that shock defeat at Crystal Palace.
Last night saw Chelsea register their seventh match in the last ten (PL games) where they have score one or less goals, Eden Hazard only contributing three goals and two assists this season in seven starts and four sub appearances – suggesting he isn’t quite hitting the heights of last season.
For Newcastle fans, Mikel Merino has been a massive miss in the last two months and all of NUFC’s 15 points have been won when the Spaniard’s been involved this season.
Tuesday was his first start in over eight weeks and so hopefully he will be close to full fitness for Saturday, when he could potentially link up with Jonjo Shelvey in a midfield that can offer far more than in recent games.
Paul Merson predicts an easy 3-0 home win but just maybe it can be Mikel Merino rather than Eden Hazard who can be the decisive player on Saturday.
“I can only see this going one way.
“Newcastle did great to come back against West Brom – but Chelsea aren’t West Brom.
“Chelsea did OK against Swansea, who stayed in the game, but you need to finish games off.
“If Wayne Routledge had passed to Wilfried Bony at the back post late on, it’s a different game.
“Eden Hazard was rested for that one, he’ll be back here. Chelsea aren’t the same team without him.
“Prediction Chelsea 3 Newcastle 0.”
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