Chelsea vs Newcastle
Venue: Stamford Bridge
Kick off: 1:30PM
Champions Chelsea welcome Newcastle United to Stamford Bridge at lunchtime, aiming to maintain their solid run of form and keep a bit of pressure on leaders Manchester City.
Tottenham Hotspur were the only members of the top seven to slip up in the midweek round of fixtures, meaning that the Blues remain third in the table and 11 points adrift of the impressive pacesetters.
The Blues’ most recent title success can be put down to the winning mentality instilled on his group of players by boss Antonio Conte, and 12 months on something similar way well be happening at Stamford Bridge.
Five wins from their last six Premier League games, most recently edging past strugglers Swansea City 1-0 on Wednesday evening, has placed the defending champions behind only Man City in the current form table.
Unlike last year, though, Chelsea have a serious challenger in the form of the Citizens, who have made the best start to a Premier League season of any side, accruing more points and goals than the Blues’ previous record breakers of 2005 and 2010.
All Conte’s men can do is continue racking up the wins and hope for any sort of slip up from a near-perfect City side, and with a string of fixtures to come against mid-to-lower-half opposition this side of the New Year, there is every hope that this momentum will continue building.
Meanwhile, Newcastle head to the capital occupying 12th spot in the Premier League table after 14 games, having now gone five matches without a victory since beating Crystal Palace six weeks ago.
The Magpies did manage to stop the rot somewhat in midweek, however, by battling back from two goals down to rescue a 2-2 draw away at West Bromwich Albion – a potential turning point for Rafael Benitez in a strange campaign to date.
Newcastle has conceded two goals in each of their last three matches, coinciding with the absence of skipper Jamaal Lascelles, who was also off the field when Bournemouth netted their stoppage-time winner earlier this month during that losing run.
Benitez will arguably be more concerned about his side’s attacking displays, however, having scored just 13 all term – best epitomised by the fact that Ciaran Clark joint-leads their scoring charts with two to his name.
Chelsea possible XI: Courtois, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill, Moses, Bakayoko, Fabregas, Kante, Alonso, Hazard, Morata.
Newcastle possible XI: Elliot, Yedlin, Clark, Lejeune, Manquillo, Merino, Shelvey, Ritchie, Perez, Murphy, Mitrovic.