Newcastle make two changes for the tough game at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.
Northern Ireland international Shane Ferguson will start on the left-hand side of midfield, with Ryan Taylor also in the starting line-up, presumably in central midfield.
That’s surprising that those two fringe players replace Kevin Nolan and Cheick Tiote, but Newcastle are also down to the bare bones with 12 first teamers out for this game.
Joey Barton will captain the side and as expected will play in central midfield alongside Ryan Taylor, with Jonas Gutierrez on the right wing, to allow young Ferguson to play on the left.
Ryan Taylor did play once in central midfield we recall in 2009 in the draw with Everton at St. James; park after Kevin Nolan had been sent off, and he played surprisingly well – it’s a big chance for the former Wigan midfielder.
We have to think that Shane has been impressive in training to be included on the left wing, another good opportunity for the youngster.
Alan Smith returns to the bench after his ankle injury, we thought he wasn’t even in the provisional squad, and he’s joined by 19-year-old Sammy Ameobi – brother of Shola – and 20 year-old Kazenga LuaLua, who has just recovered from his broken leg.
Spanish striker Fernando Torres starts for Chelsea, along with Israeli International Yossi Benayoun, and 18-year-old English youngster Josh McEachran also starts in midfield.
It will be difficult to take anything out of this game, but not impossible.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Petr Cech; Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry (c), Alex, Ashley Cole; Ramires, Frank Lampard, Josh McEachran; Nicolas Anelka, Fernando Torres, Yossi Benayoun
Subs: Ross Turnbull, Paulo Ferreira, David Luiz, Michael Essien, John Obi Mikel, Florent Malouda, Didier Drogba
Newcastle (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Jose Enrique; Jonas Gutierrez, Joey Barton (c), Ryan Taylor, Shane Ferguson; Shola Ameobi, Peter Lovenkrands
Subs: Ole Soderberg, James Tavernier, Alan Smith, Kazenga LuaLua, Sammy Ameobi, Nile Ranger, Shefki Kuqi