Chelsea should see out Newcastle United comfortably in Saturday's lunch-time kick-off, according to former Liverpool star Mark Lawrenson.
The Blues are searching for their fifth win in all competitions following a busy international break, but a rigid Magpies unit stands in their way at St. James' Park.
After a period of inconsistency, Frank Lampard's Chelsea are finally translating hype to performance, with the majority of summer recruits finding their feet and gelling together on the pitch.
The likes of Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell have solidified Chelsea's defense, while Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner and Kai Havertz have all ushered the team to victories with their attacking brilliance.
"I'd expect Chelsea to win comfortably," says Lawrenson
The international break, however, resulted in a few injury concerns for Chelsea. Chilwell and Silva may not be available against Newcastle due to a reported back issue and fatigue respectively.
Newcastle will hold their shape and aim to transition from back to front with long balls over the channel. They know how to keep Chelsea at bay, as demonstrated by their record of just one loss in the last seven Premier League outings at home against the same opposition.
Lawrenson expects Steve Bruce to assemble a stubborn defensive setup, but believes Chelsea will come good. He said:
“Newcastle will be awkward, perhaps even more so than usual, after their non-performance in their defeat at Southampton last time out. Magpies boss Steve Bruce will try to make them much tighter, and they will have to be to keep Chelsea out."
Lawrenson continued, stating that Chelsea's squad depth will rise to the fore.
“Frank Lampard’s side were just hitting their stride before the international break, especially in attack – they created so many chances in their win over Sheffield United."
“Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz are out of this game but that would still allow the Blues to name pretty much the same team that beat the Blades. At the back, Thiago Silva is a doubt because he has only just got back from international duty, but I’d still expect Chelsea to win comfortably.”
It's never an easy game for Chelsea on Tyneside, but the league's most relentless scorers are also undefeated on the road this season.
Published 21 Nov 2020, 15:08 IST