Chelsea vs Newcastle LivE : Chelsea are back in Premier League action on Saturday against Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge.
Last time out, the Blues lost 1-0 to Tottenham Hotspur in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final, but they were winners at home to Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Maurizio Sarri’s side have gone from title contenders to a team battling to make the top four in recent weeks, so a victory against Newcastle would be welcome.
But the north-east side will be no pushovers, not least because they are still in danger of relegation.
Rafael Benitez’s side will go into Saturday’s game with the intention to frustrate Chelsea, and they may succeed.
In their most recent league outing, the Blues were frustrated for 90 minutes by lowly Southampton in a 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge.
Goalscoring has sporadically been a problem for the west London outfit this term.
They are the only top-six side yet to pass the 40-goal mark for the campaign, and they struggle if Eden Hazard is not on top form.
Sarri will hope Alvaro Morata had a boost in confidence after netting both goals in the 2-0 defeat of Forest, but he may be distracted by the ongoing talk about his future:
‘Morata’s agent has reached an agreement with Sevilla. But there is also an agreement with Atletico Madrid.’@GuillemBalague with a very interesting update on the future of the #CFC striker.
Newcastle are just two points above the relegation zone and have failed to win any of their last four league games.
Benitez knows how to organise a defence, though, as proved by the Magpies possessing the second-best defensive record of any side in the bottom half of the table.
Chelsea have scored just three goals in their last four league games, so Newcastle will have hope of containing their more illustrious opponents.
If they sit deep and do not concede an early goal, Benitez’s side could take something from their visit to Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea may need a fast start in order to pick up all three points, but if they can force Newcastle to chase the game, then gaps will open up in the visitors’ defence and the evening will likely be more comfortable.