MX23RW : Tuesday, February 18 19:35:33| >> :600:2757952:2757952:
Jan 18, 2020 at 5.30pm UK at ​St James' Park
Attendance: 52,217
NewcastleNewcastle United
Hayden (94')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Preview: Newcastle United vs. Chelsea - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Saturday's Premier League contest between Newcastle United and Chelsea.

Chelsea make the trip to the North-East to face Newcastle United looking to strengthen their hold of fourth position in the Premier League standings.

While the Magpies head into the game having failed to win any of their last four games in the top flight, a 4-1 victory over Rochdale in the FA Cup has helped boost morale at St James' Park.

Match preview

Chelsea manager Frank Lampard applauds on January 11, 2020© Reuters

While Frank Lampard has witnessed his side produce inconsistent performances throughout the first half of the season, the Blues have still remained in the top four, providing the squad with the incentive to improve as the campaign progresses.

The Boxing Day setback at home to Southampton would have infuriated Lampard, especially with a below-par performance coming off the back of their most complete display of his tenure at Tottenham Hotspur.

However, the Blues have since put together a run of three wins and a draw from their last four games in all competitions, including back-to-back clean sheets at home to Nottingham Forest and Burnley.

Lampard has been outspoken about his team's failure to take their chances in the final third, although keeping shutouts at the opposite end of the pitch is a priority given their struggles during the opening five months of the season.

Despite spending much of the campaign as backup to Kurt Zouma, Fikayo Tomori and Antonio Rudiger, the recent clean sheets have coincided with the recall handed to Andreas Christensen, who has been linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge.

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce gives instructions on November 30, 2019© Reuters

Whether the Dane will continue to hold down a role in the first XI going forward remains to be seen, but his performances have ended Chelsea's search for a new centre-back during the January transfer window.

Providing that Chelsea can keep things tight in front of Kepa Arrizabalaga, Lampard will feel that things will inevitably improve in the final third of the pitch given the welcome return to form of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ross Barkley.

While the English playmakers still have some way to go to fully win over the club's supporters, they add an extra dimension to this team, and that can only help their cause during the next four months.

Steve Bruce will feel the same about Miguel Almiron, who is finally beginning to justify the then-club-record fee which Newcastle shelled out on his services 12 months ago.

The Paraguayan has contributed four goals from his last seven outings, including strikes which have guided the Magpies to four points against Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Newcastle United's Miguel Almiron celebrates scoring their first goal on December 21, 2019© Reuters

The playmaker's efforts also helped Newcastle get the better of Rochdale in the FA Cup, lifting the mood at St James' Park after four matches without a win in the Premier League.

The results in the top flight have led to Newcastle dropping down to 13th position in the standings, just five points above the relegation zone.

That will be a concern for Bruce, especially with the North-East outfit having to make trips to Everton and Arsenal over the next four weeks.

However, Newcastle have shown in the past that they are capable of raising their game in front of their own supporters, with four points being recorded against the two Manchester clubs earlier in the season.

Bruce will naturally call for the same kind of desire shown in those fixtures, while Newcastle fans will now be behind forward Joelinton after he ended his 20-match streak without a goal.

As Almiron has shown, breaking that run could soon result in contrasting fortunes, and the target man will relish the physical battle with Chelsea's backline this weekend.

Newcastle United Premier League form: LWLLLD
Newcastle United form (all competitions): LLLDDW

Chelsea Premier League form: LWLWDW
Chelsea form (all competitions): WLWDWW

Team News

Chelsea's Mateo Kovacic celebrates scoring their first goal on November 27, 2019© Reuters

Mateo Kovacic could be handed a recall to the Chelsea midfield, potentially at the expense of Mason Mount with Barkley having performed well since the turn of the year.

However, should N'Golo Kante recover from a hamstring injury, the Frenchman is in line to feature ahead of the Englishman.

Due to the physicality of Joelinton, Kurt Zouma may replace Christensen, while Reece James and Cesar Azpilicueta are expected to occupy the full-back positions.

Having come through unscathed against Rochdale in midweek, Jamaal Lascelles should line up in the middle of the backline.

Isaac Hayden may continue to deputise for DeAndre Yedlin at right-back, although the squad is expected to be boosted by the return of Jonjo Shelvey.

Newcastle United possible starting lineup:
Dubravka; Hayden, Fernandez, Lascelles, Lejeune, Willems; Ritchie, Shelvey, S.Longstaff, Almiron; Joelinton

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Arrizabalaga; James, Rudiger, Zouma, Azpilicueta; Barkley, Jorginho, Kovacic; Willian, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham

Head To Head

Saturday's encounter will represent the 166th competitive meeting between the two clubs, with Chelsea registering 73 wins in comparison to 53 victories for Newcastle.

The Magpies hold a relatively strong record against Chelsea in the North-East over recent years, claiming four triumphs from the last half-a-dozen matches.

However, Chelsea have prevailed in six of their last seven games in all competitions, which includes a 2-1 success on their last visit to this ground in August 2018.

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We say: Newcastle United 2-2 Chelsea

With Newcastle having found some confidence going forward, we feel that this will turn out to be a closely-fought contest. However, the Blues should be better for having no game in midweek, and that could lead to an entertaining draw being played out at St James' Park.

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Who will win Saturday's Premier League clash between Newcastle United and Chelsea?

Newcastle United
Newcastle United
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2Manchester CityMan City25163665293651
3Leicester CityLeicester26155654262850
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs2611784334940
6Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd2610972824439
7Manchester UnitedMan Utd2610883829938
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves2681263532336
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2687112440-1631
14Crystal Palace2679102332-930
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2669113138-727
17Aston Villa2674153450-1625
18West Ham UnitedWest Ham2566133043-1324
20Norwich CityNorwich2646162448-2418

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