Newcaste v Chelsea: Chelsea's toughest test so far!
A trip up North for a Saturday lunchtime kick off without Nemanja Matic? This surely has to be Chelsea's toughest test of the season ...
A trip up North for a Saturday lunchtime kick off without Nemanja Matic? This surely has to be Chelsea's toughest test of the season so far! Without question, Newcastle away is always a potential banana skin for Chelsea!
I have posted about it yesterday, the absence of Matic is huge for Chelsea and it will be interesting to see how well we cope without him. Plenty of people will have an opinion on who should replace him with Mikel and Ramires both available for selection but in my mind, it has to be Mikel purely for the his defensive qualities alone.
I expect two changes from Tottenham the other night with Mikel for Matic being one and Costa for Drogba being the other. It seems that Mourinho has found his best eleven of late and I cannot see anyone else coming into the team at the moment.
Newcastle this afternoon are very dangerous. The crowd will be up for this one and they will create a real hostile environment which their players will feed off of. Chelsea MUST start well, dominate possession of the ball and score an early goal to take the sting out of the occasion. The longer the game goes without a goal, the more dangerous and tense it becomes.
Chelsea have the quality to go to St James' and beat Newcastle comfortably but we have all seen what happens when a team is set up to remain compact against us, to deny us space in and around the box just a week ago.
Chelsea are at their best when we play at pace whether it's on the counter attack or in general play. If we play in second gear and at a slow tempo, we are nowhere near as threatening and it makes it easier for the opposition to defend.
Diego Costa should be well up for this game having missed out against Tottenham and we want to see him scare the life out of the two Newcastle centre backs, to boss and bully them just as he did at Anfield.
Cesc Fabregas may need to adopt a deeper midfield position and will have to look to pick his passes from there as if he was a Quarterback in American Football, playing inside the pocket. This is because I expect Mikel to be playing alongside him who people will have little doubt, covers less ground across the pitch as Matic does.
Our attacking three also need to be up and at it from he kick off. Hazard, Oscar and Willian must use the ball well and open the door as often as possible with Hazard being a possible match winner for us once again.
Without the ball, Chelsea will be well organised and set in our defensive positions and as a result I cannot see Newcastle breaking us down. It's whether or not Chelsea can break the home side down that will dictate whether or not we take one or three points home!
Chelsea have more than enough to get the job done even without Matic and will extend their unbeaten run. Let's hope it's three points!
Come on Chelsea!!