Michael Owen has been considering the second home match of the season at St James Park.
Only three months ago he tipped Newcastle not to lose, as Chelsea arrived needing a win to give them any chance of a Champions League spot.
In the event, Rafa’s team couldn’t have been more convincing, beating the visitors 3-0, earning Newcastle 10th place and ensuring Chelsea will be playing Europa League football in 2018/19.
If anybody ever had any doubt about the value of playing home/away, the last five seasons give a compelling argument.
Chelsea have beaten Newcastle in the last five PL meetings at Stamford Bridge, whilst it is four wins and a draw for Newcastle at St James Park.
Ironically, the season before these runs of games saw Chelsea win (3-0) at St James Park in 2011/12, then Newcastle won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge with two quality goals, one outrageous, from Papiss Cisse.
Chelsea travel with a new manager, Maurizio Sarri is the third manager for the blues in the two and a half years whilst Rafa Benitez has been in charge at Newcastle.
Three months ago Shelvey and Diame dominated Kante and Barkley in the middle of the pitch, much could also depend on that area once again.
Difficult to see Chelsea being as bad as the were in that 3-0 defeat but no reason why Newcastle can’t once again raise their game when Chelsea visit.
This run of four wins and a draw hasn’t been down to luck, the fact that Newcastle have scored 12 goals in the five matches proof of the threat the have managed to carry.
As Michael Owen points out, Chelsea have won their first two games of the season scoring six goals in the process. They comfortably beat Huddersfield 3-0 away from home but when beating Arsenal 3-2 they looked really poor at times in defence. The Gunners wasted clear chance after clear chance and if they’d had their shooting boots on they could have won, never mind got a draw.
Sarri comes with a reputation for attacking football and Sunday’s match will surely see goals.
Michael Owen mentions how Tottenham had the luck two weeks ago, Newcastle the better team in the second half when hitting the woodwork twice and Kenedy wasting a one on one with the keeper.
To get a win this time I think Newcastle will need to improve their finishing and carry some luck, as indeed Chelsea did last weekend against Arsenal.
The visitors have obviously got an embarrassment of riches in attacking areas and have just paid out a world record fee for a keeper.
Can Rafa Benitez once again weave some magic against the odds?
Michael Owen believes Newcastle’s luck will run out against Chelsea this time and forecasts an away victory.
What Newcastle definitely can’t do is allow an easy early away lead as they gifted Tottenham, as I have a feeling that then there could be some severe revenge for those St James Park victories against Chelsea.
Resolute and organised defending saw Newcastle through to safety last season, more of the same needed for sure this time, starting Sunday.
Michael Owen talking to BetVictor:
“United were left rueing Kenedy’s late penalty miss at Cardiff on Saturday.
“Although a point gained with ten men following a goalless draw in south Wales was a decent enough return.
“Chelsea have picked up six goals and six points from their two games to date and I just feel the west London outfit’s superior class will prevail.
“Although Spurs had luck on their side when they picked up maximum points at St James’s Park on the opening weekend of the campaign.
“Tip is Chelsea to win at 13/20.”
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