This always looked like a pivotal weekend for Newcastle United in their Premier League relegation fight.
Before Rafa’s team kicks off at Stamford Bridge, there were some key games on Saturday afternoon elsewhere in the battle at the bottom end.
An eventful couple of hours and at the end of it, not great news for Newcastle United.
The Saturday afternoon Premier League results:
West Ham 1 Arsenal 0 (12.30pm)
Brighton 0 Liverpool 1 (3pm)
Burnley 2 Fulham 1 (3pm)
Cardiff 0 Huddersfield 0 (3pm)
Crystal Palace 1 Watford 2 (3pm)
Leicester 1 Southampton 2 (3pm)
Newcastle United now sitting in the bottom three before playing Chelsea.
Burnley coming back to win with two own goals despite Fulham taking the lead.
Southampton winning 2-1 at Leicester despite playing over half the match with 10 men.
The fact Cardiff could only get a goalless draw with Huddersfield was small consolation but even that means the Welsh club are a point ahead of Newcastle before next Saturday’s six pointer.
Palace lost to Watford 2-1 despite taking the lead, keeping them ‘only’ four points above Newcastle but I don’t see the Eagle being involved in the relegation fight at the end of the season.
This is how the Premier League now currently looks before Newcastle take on Chelsea:
How we could do with some help in the transfer market.
Mike Ashley is at Stamford Bridge today…
Premier League fixtures still to be played this weekend:
Chelsea v Newcastle United (5.30pm)
Everton v Bournemouth (2.15pm)
Tottenham v Man Utd (4.30pm)
Man City v Wolves (8pm)
The Newcastle team v Chelsea was confirmed at 4.30pm.
With Kenedy, Shelvey, Muto, Ki, Diame, Darlow and Dummett unavailable, not a lot of wriggle room with his team selection, especially in the attacking half.
Three changes from the eleven that took on Manchester United 10 days ago.
The injured Diame and Dummett not included, whilst Fabian Schar is left out.
Sean Longstaff makes his first Premier League start and both Clark and Lejeune come into the Premier League line-up as well.
This is who Rafa Benitez starts with:
Dubravka, Yedlin, Lejeune, Lascelles, Clark, Ritchie, Longstaff, Hayden, Atsu, Perez, Rondon
Woodman, Manquillo, Sterry, Fernandez, Schar, Murphy, Joselu