Newcastle v Chelsea TOTT Preview
Newcastle entertain Chelsea, the team 3rd in the Premier League before kick off. Newcastle are looking for only their 3rd home win, the first against then 3rd placed Villa. The last win was away against then 3rd placed Arsenal.
Both teams are in a run of variable form, Chelsea having lost 3 out of the last 4. The defensive run that went back into last season has been shattered with only 1 goal scored in those 3 defeats.
Newcastle on the other hand have suffered 3 defeats at home this season losing their unbeaten record at St James` for the whole of last term. The Magpies will take hope, however, from being undefeated in the league against London opposition this season, as well as winning at Stamford Bridge in the Carling Cup.
Ancelloti has 3 key players out the injured Lampard, Terry, as well as role model for Newcastle`s Tiote, Ivorian Essien suspended. Zhirkov is also out, making Chelsea lok unwise to have named the smallest squad of over 21 players in the league. However, dependable Peter Cech starts in goal.
Ziare born Bosingwa is available to return to a cosmopolitan defence, with Portuguese Ferreira, Brazilian Alex and Yugoslav Ivnovic all incontention to join Ashley Cole. Ift will be a tough job for them to contain the aerial threat of Carroll and Ameobi if Newcastle opt for a 4-4-2.
Midfield also sees an array of talent, with top league scorer, French Guianan Malouda, Nigerian Mikel, Brazilian Ramires and Ivorian Kalou most likely to play.
Up front, Drogba will be keen to play at the first English ground to see his talents, in the UEFA Cup for Marseille, scoring the two goals that knocked the Toon out. Top scorer in all competitions, Anelka, is set to start alongside, ready to give his former Arsenal team mate a torrid time.
ughton has selection problems of his own, with 3 first team regulars out of the reckoning due to suspension, Barton, Coloccini and Williamson. He will start with his sole available keeper with 1st team experience, Tim Krul. In front of him, the full backs will be Simpson and Enrique, with a new pairing at this level with England's past and potential, veteran Sol Campbell and contract rebel Steve Taylor.
Danny Guthrie should get a chance to stake his claim before the return of Joey Barton, tasked with containing the threat on the Chelsea left as well as posing his own. Jonas will take his normal place on the left, with Tiote returning and Nolan seemingly undroppable. If going 4-5-1, the choice will be between the width that Routledge can provide, or containment in the form of Smith.
Up front, Carroll finds himself off the top of the Premier League goal scorers` pile after the maulings dished out yesterday by the Manchester sides over the last week. He needs a hat trick to join Berbatov at the top, or a single score would put him level with Tevez in second. Shola Ameobi can not be ignored, especially after his brace at the Bridge.
Referee for the occasion is Midlands whistler Andre Marriner, who makes his 9th visit to St James`. His record here is evenly split, with 4 draws and an even mixture of home and away wins. Despite 2 Chelsea defeats under him this season, the Pensioners recorded a 100% record in 5 games under him last term.
There are a number of landmarks set for this game, with So Campbell set to make his 500th league appearance. Enrique is set for his 100th league game for the Toon, with Ferreira and Mikel set for their 100th starts and Malouda his 100th appearance for the Blues.
Recent history favours the visitors, Newcastle having failed to score in the last 4 home games against Chelsea, needing to go back 9 games to find a game when the home team has scored twice and the last millennium since a 3 goal haul. However, records seem to mean nothing to the Toon this season, so anything can happen.
Newcastle v Chelsea at St James:
16 W7 D4 L5 F19 A15
73 W33 D21 L19 F106 A62
ewcastle (from): Krul, Soderberg, Simpson, Perch, Ferguson, Enrique, S. Taylor, Campbell, Kadar, Tiote, Smith, Routledge, Gutierrez, Guthrie, Vuckic, Tavernier, Donaldson, Nolan, Carroll, Ameobi, Lovenkrands, Ranger, Xisco.
helsea (from): Cech, Ferreira, Bosingwa, Alex, Ivanovic, Cole, Ramires, Sturridge, Mikel, Malouda, Anelka, Drogba, Kalou. Turnbull, Van Aanholt, Bruma, Kakuta, McEachran.