Preview - Newcastle away

Saturday we travel to St James Park hoping for a performance and three points. The game earlier in the season was pretty much a one sided af...

Saturday we travel to St James Park hoping for a performance and three points. The game earlier in the season was pretty much a one sided affair. If it wasn't for Shay Given back then the 3 points would of been ours. Chances for Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Ballack and one disallowed from Joe Cole told the story of the game that ended 0-0 back towards the end of November. It was a case of 2 points dropped that have proven costly at the current time.

However, a lot of things have changed at Chelsea and more recently at Newcastle since the last time we met. Chelsea made the decision as we all know to relieve Scolari of his duties and bring in Guus Hiddink who (despite the blip against Spurs) revitalised the players and the team spirit and focus. The team put together an impressive display and completed the League double over Aston Villa and put a great run together that unfortunately came to an end at White Hart Lane ( i know you are thinking of all places! ).

Newcastle come into this game under a much different situation than they have a few days ago. A couple of days ago the club was under an unsure future. They have slipped down the table into the bottom three. The near future was uncertain about Joe Kinnear and his make-shift caretakers in Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood. Things were not looking good.

But, as you have all seen today Alan Shearer has been given the reigns until the end of the season. Now you ask any Geordie who they have wanted as manager for the last few years and there has been two names, Keegan or Shearer. Shearer is a God up there and no doubt will revitalise the supporters. The question is can he revitalise the team and the players.

My own opinion is no. I think he can and he will to a point but you can't turn a side in the bottom three to world beaters overnight. He has brought in Iain Dowie as his assistant who has no proven record in the big league so i can't see how that will help. This is Shearer's first managerial role and has been given 8 games to keep them up.

But to me there is a much bigger factor in their continuing slide down the table and that is Shay Given. Granted it was a lot of money they got for him, but you go back to our game in November and he was the difference at times. Their back four to me do not look to have the same confidence in Harper and i honestly believe we should look to exploit that at every opportunity.

In the press today Frank Lampard has mentioned that it will be a similar game to our game against Man City (Robinho's) debut for City. The crowd would be up for it and expectant, and they were and it will be the same on Saturday.

But we have too much class for Newcastle. Their support can only be a 12th man if the team is playing well and working for each other. I don't see that in Newcastle. Granted they might have a togetherness under Shearer but can you see that happening in 3 days?

I predict maybe a difficult opening to the game on Saturday but once Chelsea stem the flow from Newcastle and impose our passing & possession game i can only see 3 points coming back to the Bridge.

What do you think?

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