PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: NEWCASTLE UNITED V CHELSEA - PART TWO
With Chelsea's game at Newcastle kicking off the weekend Barclays Premier League fixtures, club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton put the finishing touches to their preview…
WE HAVE HISTORY
The record attendance at St James' Park still stands at 68,386 for the visit of Chelsea and the Magpies' former star striker Hughie Gallacher.
The Blues' biggest ever win on Tyneside was registered on 23 March 1961. Simmering in the background at the time was a contractual dispute between the Football League and professional footballers, who were threatening to withdraw their labour.
Newcastle fans could be forgiven for wondering if their defence went on strike at half-time during this 6.30pm Saturday kick-off, so abject was their performance. Future Chelsea stalwart John Hollins's brother Dave was in goal for the Geordies.
In the first half the ire of the terraces was directed at referee Les Tirebuck - a policeman from Yorkshire - who denied the penalty the home crowd desired when Ivor Allchurch fell in the box under Peter Sillett's challenge. Instead the official indicated an indirect free kick which came to nothing.
After the half-time break Newcastle's rearguard fell apart. More pertinently, Jimmy Greaves (pictured below) exploded into life in the second half with the perfect display of opportunistic finishing.
The phenomenal striker, playing his 150th game for Chelsea, beat Hollins four times in succession. In doing so he made it 35 goals for the season, surpassing his own previous club record of 32 set in 1958/59.
Strike partner Ron Tindall netted the other two in a six-goal, 45-minute rout. Four minutes before the end wing-half Duncan Neale provided a small consolation for the band of sufferers left in the Gallowgate End.
The hosts' win at St James' Park last season ended our six-match unbeaten away run against the Magpies.
Our last 10 league meetings at St James' Park
2002/03 - Newcastle won 2-1
2003/04 - Newcastle won 2-1
2004/05 - Drew 1-1
2005/06 - Newcastle won 1-0
2006/07 - Drew 0-0
2007/08 - Chelsea won 2-0
2008/09 - Chelsea won 2-0
2010/11 - Drew 1-1
2011/12 - Chelsea won 3-0
2012/13 - Newcastle won 3-2
Other fixture last season
25 August 2012 Barclays Premier League
Hazard pen 22
Chelsea v Newcastle in all competitions
Games played 153
Chelsea wins 64
Newcastle wins 50
Head to head in the League at St James' Park
Games played 68
Chelsea wins 16
Newcastle wins 35
Biggest league win at St James' Park for each team
16/11/1974 - Newcastle 5-0 Chelsea
25/03/1961 - Newcastle 1-6 Chelsea
Chelsea lost in the Premier League: 49
Newcastle kept a clean sheet in the league: 63
Arsenal won a trophy: 3,087
Liverpool won the league: 8,582
Only Gary Cahill (180 minutes plus stoppage time) John Mikel Obi, Willian (both 114), Ramires (111) and Samuel Eto'o (87) were involved in both Sunday's and Tuesday's victories for Chelsea. They have also enjoyed a day more to recuperate than Newcastle's players, some of whom played extra time on Wednesday.
Last season Moussa Sissoko announced his contribution to Tyneside's French Revolution by scoring twice to guillotine Chelsea's lead, Newcastle running out 3-2 winners. (He has only scored once since.) Former Magpie Demba Ba was forced off with a smashed nose.
No side has been better this season at holding on to an advantage in games than Chelsea, who are yet to drop any points from a winning position. Newcastle have lost all three games in which the opposition has scored first.
As good as the recent away form has been in all competitions, the Blues have just one league win and two draws from four on the road this campaign - exactly mirroring Newcastle's home record.
Since losing 0-4 to Manchester City on the opening day of the season the Magpies have been consistently inconsistent.
They have not managed a clean sheet in the league since August, pointing to regular central defenders in Fabricio Coloccini and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa who are comfortable in possession but not always alive to danger. This was highlighted on Wednesday when Mbiwa allowed Man City's Alvaro Negredo to steal in and score from close range.
Coloccini and long-term absentee Steven Taylor are likely to be ruled out for this game. Paul Dummett was rewarded for his goal as a substitute against Liverpool with a start in the Tyne-Wear derby but looked some way off the pace for the tussle. He and fellow full-back Massadio Haïdara limped out of the Capital One Cup match and it is likely the Italian Davide Santon will return on the left, with Mathieu Debuchy retaining his place on the right.
Debuchy's rampaging runs are vital to Newcastle's attack but he can be a little gung-ho, leaving yawning gaps in defence and conceding fouls with his tackling.
Chelsea may well field a side similar to the one that beat Manchester City last weekend with Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, Oscar, Fernando Torres, as well as Hazard and Schurrle, recalled after sitting out the Emirates triumph.
Former Charlton, Southampton and West Ham manager Alan Pardew rested forward Loic Remy in midweek. With five league goals since his arrival from QPR, Remy is a rare success story for the Toon this season. The team tend to attack more down the left side as a result of his presence there.
The Londoners also need to be aware that Newcastle take many more pot-shots from outside the box than some teams - no top-flight side has scored more in that fashion.
Other attacking players such as Sissoko, Papiss Cisse, Hatem Ben Arfa and Yoan Gouffran can be a source of frustration to Geordie fans. They clearly have talent but often play off-the-cuff, and the ball does not always stick long enough with the front three to bring a supporting cast into play.
There is an argument they have too many attack-minded players in their side and the Blues will hope to test the credentials of Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote as a defensive shield in midfield.
Newcastle have often been opened up by incisive passes behind their rearguard, who play a high line with an offside trap that has been too easily sprung for supporters' liking. They also tend to struggle against clever, technical opponents and have the third-worst goals conceded record in the league.
Pardew has wavered between 4-4-2, 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1 formations looking for the best balance of the squad's assets, with Cisse ussually the main centre-forward.
Against Liverpool Ben Arfa played as a 'false no.9'. The experiment was reasonably successful in creating fluid movement in the final third, with Skrtel and Toure uncertain which man to pick up.
Pardew's main concern, though, will be how to keep out a Blues team averaging two goals a game at St James' over the last five seasons.