After the international break, the Premier League is back this weekend as Chelsea travel to St. James’ Park for a showdown with Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United.
A victory for Chelsea can see Frank Lampard’s side go top of the table – though most likely only for a short time.
Newcastle, meanwhile, can move as high as seventh with a win in this Premier League clash.
Chelsea are currently in the midst of one of their strongest runs under Frank Lampard. They’ve lost just once in their opening eight league matches, suffering defeat at the hands of reigning Premier League champions Liverpool.
Their last two matches have seen them defeat Burnley and Sheffield United, and they’re also unbeaten in UEFA Champions League competition this season.
Newcastle, meanwhile, have seen mixed results throughout the campaign. Wins over West Ham, Burnley and Everton have been off-set by losses to Brighton, Manchester United and Southampton. Worryingly, they’ve scored just 10 goals this season.
Last season saw these two sides split results. Chelsea defeated Newcastle in October at Stamford Bridge, while the Magpies picked up their own 1-0 win at St. James’ Park in January.
Newcastle United form guide: W-L-D-W-L
Chelsea form guide: D-W-W-W-W
Newcastle remain without goalkeeper Martin Dubravka and left-back Matt Ritchie due to long-term injuries, but winger Ryan Fraser is almost ready to return from a thigh injury. He could well take a place on the bench for Saturday’s game.
Injured: Martin Dubravka, Matt Ritchie
Doubtful: Ryan Fraser
Chelsea are likely to be missing a couple of key players for this encounter. Both Ben Chilwell and Christian Pulisic were unable to play for their international sides with injuries this week. Pulisic is unlikely to be available for this game, but Chilwell may still be involved.
Kai Havertz, meanwhile, is sweating on a COVID-19 test in order to play a part. If he tests negative for the virus then he may be able to start Saturday’s game.
Injured: Christian Pulisic, Billy Gilmour
Doubtful: Kai Havertz
Newcastle United predicted XI (5-3-2): Karl Darlow, Jacob Murphy, Fabian Schar, Jamaal Lascelles, Federico Fernandez, Jamal Lewis, Sean Longstaff, Jeff Hendrick, Miguel Almiron, Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin
Newcastle will look to use their regular gameplan in this match – sit deep, look to spoil and stifle, and hit Chelsea on the break using the pace of Saint-Maximin and Wilson's sublime finishing. However, they might find this tricky against their London-based opponents.
Chelsea’s defence has improved dramatically of late, and their attacking prowess is amongst the best in the Premier League. It’s hard to see Newcastle’s defence keeping them quiet for the full 90 minutes.
Prediction: Newcastle United 0-2 Chelsea