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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: NEWCASTLE UNITED V CHELSEA

TACTICAL BRIEF
The Blues are aiming to resume our superb away record this weekend, while Le Toon have several new Frenchmen to bed in. Former Blue Clive Walker assesses how the game might be won or lost.

Key battles
'The late goals we conceded on Wednesday at Reading may have shocked some supporters but anybody who listened to my commentary would have heard my rising concern. I said with 15 minutes to go that we needed to maintain a higher level of concentration to see it through. We were leading 2-0 then, of course.

'I'm sure Rafa Benitez will be looking for better communication between his defenders this weekend. Newcastle lost at home to Reading recently but that last goal Chelsea conceded on Wednesday would have been heartening to them. We cannot afford to drop our guard like that.

'Petr Cech and John Terry could return to the side and they have shown over the best part of 10 years that the authority and understanding in that crucial area has to be exemplary. That triangle of goalie and central defenders is so important.

'On the positive side at Reading, Juan Mata showed again what a key man he is until he went off injured. He scored his 15th goal of the season and for all the Chelsea fans he is an absolute joy to watch whatever he does, whatever he tries to do.

'He has rare ability and creativity and a Newcastle side that has been shaky in defensive midfield and at the back will find him very difficult to control.

'Oscar took up some excellent positions too and shows so much promise. He could have a field day the way Newcastle have been defending sometimes. The two of them have a growing understanding.

'He was on the bench for most of the Reading match so it looks like Demba Ba will lead the line and will have that extra incentive against his old club.

'However, he looks motivated enough when he plays. He shows leadership qualities and can be hugely important if we're to stay in the top four.

'He's a major plus because of his ability to hold the ball up, so he and Fernando Torres are totally different players in that respect. Thankfully the likes of Mata benefit from both and he links up equally well with either.

'Communication is hugely important. Newcastle have bought a lot of players in the window - most of them from France and we don't know how much English they speak.

'Obviously they will understand each other but you need a common language all over the pitch, especially defending set plays.

'There are doubts whether Steven Taylor will play twice in five days after being out since November, but he and Fabricio Coloccini formed a good partnership in the heart of defence a while back.

'They will probably have Mathieu Debuchy at right back, who's good attacking. The other new boys play further forward, but they will all need to sort themselves out at corners and free kicks and Chelsea must exploit any unfamiliarity.

'Moussa Sissoko is a clever player who has already produced an assist from midfield and Yohan Cabayé is arguably the player who's come closest to reproducing his good form last season for them, though he can be up and down.

'Yoan Gouffran (pictured below) is a good player but whether he will get up to speed in the Premier League by Saturday is a question. It may take him a few weeks to adapt to the pace and physicality.

Gouffran


'One big advantage they have can also work in Chelsea's favour. The home crowd is magnificent when it is behind them. But they've already witnessed six defeats there and if things start to go wrong the crowd effect goes into reverse.

'We have to start well, frustrate them for the first 45 minutes and then again in the second half.'

Squad fitness news
Petr Cech returns after calf strain and Juan Mata is passed fit having come off in the last game with an ankle knock. Oriol Romeu (knee) and David Luiz (ankle) remain out.

For Newcastle, midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring) is the only player definitely ruled out.


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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: NEWCASTLE UNITED V CHELSEA

CHELSEA STATS
Of the 16 occasions Chelsea have opened the scoring in the Barclays Premier League, we have gone on to win 11 games and draw four. Only West Ham have defeated us.

The Blues are unbeaten away in nine games in all competitions (six wins, three draws) since our last defeat at West Ham on 1 December.

We are 11 points better off compared to the corresponding 24 fixtures last season.

Chelsea have gained 12 points from losing positions this term. Only Man Utd (27), Everton (20), Man City (15) and Arsenal (13) can better that, although we have dropped 11 points from winning positions.

Last six results
Jan 12 Stoke (a) W 4-0
Jan 16 Southampton (h) D 2-2
Jan 20 Arsenal (h) W 2-1
Jan 23 Swansea (League Cup SF 2 a) D 0-0
Jan 27 Brentford (FA Cup 4 a) D 2-2
Jan 30 Reading (a) D 2-2

 

Premier League scorers
Lampard 9 (4 pens), Mata 9, Torres 7 (1 pen), E Hazard 6 (1 pen), Ivanovic 4, Ramires 3, Cahill 2, Ba 1, Cole 1, D Luiz 1, Moses 1, Oscar 1 (pen), Sturridge 1, Terry 1, own goals (Walters, Stoke) 2. Total 49


League games since
An away win: 1
An away draw: 0
An away defeat: 5

 

Chelsea's next three games
Sat 9 Feb Wigan home 3pm
Thu 14 Feb Sparta Prague (Europa League) away 6pm GMT
Sun 17 Feb Brentford (FA Cup 4 replay) home Noon

 

MILESTONES
Frank Lampard has now scored at least 10 goals in all competitions in his last 10 seasons with the Blues.


NEWCASTLE STATS
Formed
1881

Major trophies
4 League championships, last in 1927
6 FA Cups, last in 1955
1 Inter Cities Fairs Cup in 1969
1 FA Charity Shield in 1909


Newcastle have been Premier League runners-up twice in 1995/96 and 1996/97. Their last major piece of silverware was the Inter Cities Fairs Cup in 1969 when they beat Hungarian side Ujpest Dozsa 6-2 over two legs.

Newcastle are yet to win when their opposition opened the scoring (eight defeats, two draws)

The Toon have suffered 10 defeats in their last 15 Premier League games, winning three.

The Magpies have dropped 16 points from winning positions this term.

Only Wigan, with seven, have lost more league games at home this season than Newcastle's six.

The Magpies have won 16 points from a possible 36 at St James' Park this term with five wins against Tottenham, Norwich, West Brom, Wigan and QPR, one draw against Aston Villa and six defeats to Manchester United, West Ham, Swansea, Manchester City, Everton and Reading.


Manager Alan Pardew
Days in charge: 786
Played 100
Won 37
Drawn 27
Lost 36

 

Newcastle last 10 year league history

Pts Pos Division Level
2001/02 71 4th Premier League 1
2002/03 69 3rd Premier League 1
2003/04 56 5th Premier League 1
2004/05 44 14th Premier League 1
2005/06 58 7th Premier League 1
2006/07 43 13th Premier League 1
2007/08 43 12th Premier League 1
2008/09 34 18th Premier League 1
2009/10 102 1st Championship 2
2010/11 46 12th Premier League 1


 

PMB

 

Last six results
Dec 29 Arsenal (a) L 3-7
Jan 2 Everton (h) L 1-2
Jan 5 Brighton (FA Cup 3 a) L 0-2
Jan 12 Norwich (a) D 0-0
Jan 19 Reading (h) L 1-2
Jan 29 Aston Villa (a) W 2-1

 

2012/13 Premier League scorers
Ba 13 (1 pen), Cissé 5, Cabaye 4, Ben Arfa 3 (1 pen), Shola Ameobi 1, Bigirimana 1, Marveaux 1, Perch 1, own goals 1. Total 30


League games since
A home win: 2
A home draw: 10
A home defeat: 0


WINDOW WATCH
Completed January transfers
Chelsea
Ins Demba Ba (Newcastle, undisclosed)
Outs: Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool, undisclosed), Lucas Piazon (Malaga, loan), Todd Kane (Blackburn, loan), Billy Clifford (Colchester, loan), Sam Walker (Colchester, loan), Patrick Bamford (MK Dons, loan).
Newcastle
Ins Mathieu Debuchy (Lille, £5m), Yoan Gouffran (Bordeaux, £1.4m), Massadio Haidara (Nancy, undisclosed), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier, £6.7m), Moussa Sissoko (Toulouse, undisclosed), Kevin Mbabu (Servette, undisclosed).
Outs Demba Ba (Chelsea, undisclosed), Conor Newton (St Mirren, loan), Xisco (Cordoba, free).


THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Referee Howard Webb takes control of a Chelsea match for the third occasion this season. His previous outings were the 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in November and our 2-1 at Goodison Park in December.


OTHERWISE ENGAGED
Eden Hazard is suspended (third of three games).

Victor Moses, John Mikel Obi and Newcastle's Cheick Tioté are away at the Africa Cup of Nations.


 

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