There’s no doubt that Chelsea will be favorites to beat us at Stamford Bridge, like they did in the league on December 2nd when we lost 3-1.
Newcastle will not field their strongest side for this game, and five or six fringe players will get an opportunity to play on Sunday.
The positive thing about the Christmas games is that we saw that with fringe players in the team we did very well.
In fact, Mo Diame has played well recently and he’s probably the first choice as holding midfielder at the moment, and he has played his best football at Newcastle over the last six weeks or so.
So Rafa will play a decent side on Sunday.
Rafa Benitez – at Stamford Bridge in early December
Rafa thinks the Blues will field a strong team because they are now out of the League Cup after losing to Arsenal at the semi-final stage.
The FA Cup is now their best chance of winning something this season.
This is what Rafa has said about the game tomorrow:
“I think we have to find the balance. I always say we can progress in any competition, in this case in the FA Cup, if we have the squad strong enough to compete,”
“We will see if we can do it, but I will use the squad, for sure.”
“Every game is important, but obviously, we know how massive it is to stay in the Premier League, because of all the money around and then you can improve your team if you have more money.”
“It’s a win-win situation if you stay in the Premier League, so that is something we have to consider.”
“But at the same time, if we can use the squad, we will try to do our best.”
“We will use some players that were maybe not playing, and obviously some that were.”
“I need to find this balance between players with match fitness and players who are not playing too much.”
“I am sure they will consider this the most important competition for them right now.”
“The league is very difficult for them, they are out of the Carabao Cup, so I think it is a priority for them.”
“I think it will be a very strong side in front of us.”
“We were waiting for the outcome of the Third Round replay. Norwich could be very difficult anyway, but Chelsea, away, is really difficult.”
“But we will see.” We scored first in the first game in the Premier League, and if we can do the same on Sunday they will be under pressure.”
One in four fans think we can win this game tomorrow.
We definitely have a chance of causing an upset tomorrow, and that would give our players some confidence.