Chelsea are in dire need of a victory, despite their recent unbeaten run, when they face Newcastle at home in this weekend’s Saturday night kick-off. Watch on Sky Sports 2 at 5.30pm GMT.
The Blues are coming into this game after a dramatic late equaliser at home to Manchester United and the return to form of Diego Costa will have the Newcastle back-line preparing for a fight; quite literally.
Since the arrival of Guus Hiddink, Chelsea have not lost in nine Premier League fixtures, but have only picked up three victories in that time. Most hurtfully for Hiddink, Kurt Zouma has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with anterior cruciate ligament damage. The Blues will have to return to the partnership of John Terry and Gary Cahill for this fixture, which has not looked solid since the rear end of their title winning campaign last season.
Hiddink’s side face a Newcastle side that have developed a worrying reputation for only performing when the TV cameras are on them. Moussa Sissoko has been one of the players most heavily criticised and the French international has a stellar record against Chelsea. The Magpies are conceding 1.76 goals per game in the league and did not address any of their defensive issues in the January transfer window, despite significant investment.
Steve McClaren’s men have fluctuated in form in typically Geordie fashion and somehow, despite the quality in their squad, are lingering just the one point above the relegation zone.
Both sides have significant defensive weaknesses, Newcastle having conceded the third most goals of any Premier League side, so it could well come down to a battle of the centre forwards on Saturday evening. The troublesome Diego Costa is a great bet to back, with the Spanish striker in fine form.
The defensive frailties make the prospects of a both team to score bet very good. A Chelsea to win and both teams to score looks like an ideal bet at 21/10, with two ageing centre-backs against two versatile attacking line-ups it could be a high scoring game on Saturday evening.
A safe bet will be for you to opt for the Blues to win, albeit at fairly ordinary odds, with the confidence from their late equaliser last weekend and the form of the intimidating Diego Costa, Chelsea should have just too much for the Magpies. Chelsea’s tendency to hold out defensively in the first half, with both Mikel and Matic playing, and then push on in the second 45 could make a bet on the second half to produce the most goals worth your money.
Expect an exciting match on Saturday evening, with Newcastle’s talented forward players likely to shine on the Sky cameras once more.