Newcastle will take on a Chelsea side that haven’t tasted defeat since September. They will carry an 8 match unbeaten streak in all competitions to St James’ Park. They’ve won their last four matches which includes big wins over Burnley and Sheffield United.
Newcastle are still licking their wounds after a 2-0 defeat at Southampton. We’ve still yet to get a definitive word on the status of striker Callum Wilson, who injured his hamstring at St Mary’s. Though early signs are that he’ll not miss many games and could be available for Saturday.
The 5-3-1-1 formation Steve Bruce deployed in the last three matches came undone against the Saints after showing promise in the previous two matches. After the Southampton loss, Bruce proclaimed that places were up for grabs.
There are five Magpies out on international duty, though Miguel Almiron was unavailable for Paraguay in their 2-2 draw against Bolivia last night. It’s troubling, in light of comments from his agent, that Miggy did not travel back to Newcastle but rather watched the match from the stands.
Jeff Hendrick is also unavailable after a sending off in the Republic of Ireland’s defeat at Wales on Sunday. So maybe the midfielder will have made his way back to Newcastle.
We expect sweeping changes, once again, for the match against Chelsea. With places on the line, this week’s training could make all the difference in who gets the nod. There’s little hope of a result, but a competent performance is a must after the shambolic display against Southampton.