As we’ve said all week, the game with Chelsea is so hard to call from a Newcastle point of view, because we just have no idea which Newcastle team will turn up.
We know we have three players suspended because of violent conduct so Joey Barton, Mike Williamson and Fab Coloccini will not be playing tomorrow afternoon against Chelsea, the reigning Premier League Champions.
It looks certain that Sol Campbell and Steven Taylor will start in central defense for Newcastle tomorrow, although James Perch, Danny Simpson and young Tamas Kadar can also play in central defense.
The big question that will determine team selection tomorrow is what formation Chris Hughton will play, and because of the defensive disasters of last week Chris may go with a 4-5-1 to make certain Newcastle can contain Chelsea in midfield.
Ryan Taylor, Ben Arfa and Dan Gosling are still long term injuries, so the team almost picks itself and if it’s going to be 4-5-1, we think this will be the starting line-up tomorrow afternoon:
Simpson Campbell Taylor (S) Enrique
Routledge Guthrie Nolan (c) Tiote Gutierrez
Subs: Solderberg Kadar Perch Smith Ameobi Ranger Lovenkrands
If Chris plays 4-4-2 then Ameobi will come in for Routledge and Guthrie will play on the right wing.
As for the Chelsea captain John Terry, he is still not fit, and as far as the fitness of his players is concerned Chelsea manager Ancelotti said this today:
“Bosingwa is fit and is able to play. Not able to play are Terry, Lampard, Essien is suspended and Zhirkov will be able next week. Lampard needs to have next week, I think, and will start to train all the time with the squad.”
“This week he had an easy week. John Terry, the last days his pain has gone down, and I think he will be able to play next weekend. The other players are in good condition.”
There are several keys to this game for the Magpies and the first one is that the lads play well defensively, which we haven’t done in two of our last three games, in which we’ve conceded 7 goals.
And Newcastle must make a good start to the game, and there can be no initial nerves, or a slow start, otherwise we could be a goal down quickly.
And the longer we can keep the Chelsea side at parity, then the better things will start to look for Newcastle in the game.
A third key to the game is just how much Newcastle can take advantage of John Terry being out injured, and Alex not bring 100% fit in the Blues’ central defense, though the Brazilian is likely to start.
Some high balls into the box and corners could provide Newcastle a way towards a few goals tomorrow afternoon, either directly from Andy Carroll, or at least by the local lad setting some up by winning the ball in the air.
We have to hope that Newcastle can get their act together and get away form their poor form over the last few games, and at the very least make it a competitive game tomorrow afternoon.
That’s if the game goes ahead, since it’s been snowing quite heavily this afternoon in Newcastle.
But this game is a huge opportunity for Newcastle to make up for last weekend’s 5-1 disaster at Bolton, and we’re sure that’s exactly what Chris Hughton will be telling his players before the game.
Howay The Lads!!