Ross Barkley made his Chelsea debut against Newcastle United.

Just under a year ago, he came on for the final 17 minutes of the 3-0 FA Cup win at Stamford Bridge in January 2018, following his move from Everton.

He didn’t score that day and hasn’t scored for Chelsea against Newcastle but surely it is only a matter of time…

Over 20% of the Premier League goals Ross Barkley has scored, have been against Newcastle.

The attacking midfielder scored 21 PL  goals for Everton and five of them came against Newcastle United.

He has added only three for Chelsea so far and will be hoping to add to that today.

Barkley though acknowledges that Rafa Benitez will have is team well set up to try and keep a clean sheet.

Both Leicester and Southampton have managed that in the past month at Stamford Bridge, the Foxes getting a win and the Saints a point.

Chelsea are the lowest goalscorers of the top six but their 38 goals still embarrasses Newcastle’s meagre 15, only Huddersfield have less.

Ross Barkley speaking to the official Chelsea site:

“Every time I’ve come up against a Newcastle side under Rafa Benitez they’ve been well organised and hard to break down so they can make it really difficult, as they did for us earlier in the season.

“But we are going to be really focused on winning the game and we will have a plan.

‘It’s important we have our fans backing behind us.

“It is important for us to perform and we are looking forward to it.’

“I feel like in a short space of time I’ve developed really well (at Chelsea)

“I feel as though I can still improve a lot.

“We’re still getting used to our style of play and it’s about repetition on a daily basis on the training pitch and transforming that into the games. It’s going well at the minute.

“He (Maurizio Sarri) believes in the team, he sees that we have a lot of potential to be one of the best teams in the world and be back in the Champions League and challenging for the major trophies.

“He has a lot of belief in me, a lot of belief in the rest of the team and that’s good to see. It’s always great to have the manager’s backing, we’re working hard on the training pitch and on matchdays.’

“At first things started really slowly for me (at Chelsea).

“In the second half of the season I joined with a long-term injury that I was recovering from and it was more about me building on that, staying fit, strong and being ready for this season from the start.

“But it was a great day to make my debut last season against Newcastle in the FA Cup.

 “From a young age I’ve always been dedicated and worked hard,’ he said. ‘You have to stick at it and sometimes you have to sacrifice things, for example what your friends are doing. Just love the game and the rewards will come.”