Chelsea: Marco van Ginkel & Fernando Torres - Out
Newcastle United: Gael Bigirimana, Papiss Cisse, Fabricio Coloccini, Gabriel Obertan & Ryan Taylor - Out; Shola Ameobi & Yoan Gouffran - Doubtful
Newcastle United: Loic Remy
Form - last 5
Newcastle United: LLWDL
Chelsea are fresh off their big match win against Manchester City on Monday and will look to add more momentum to their title charge with a win over a depleted Newcastle side struggling for form.
With Loic Remy out on suspension and Yohan Cabaye sold out to PSG, Newcastle have lost all the attacking edge that made them so dangerous on the counter.
Without them, the counterattacking game Newcastle are sure to play will be heavily dependent on Hatem Ben Arfa - one of the Premier League's most inconsistent players. Stamford Bridge is such a tight pitch that flair players need to have excellent ball control to progress forward. Ben Arfa excels at many things but ball control is not one of them. Whether unforced or due to pressure, Ben Arfa frequently loses the ball and against Chelsea that is unforgivable.
I do not expect Chelsea to walkover Newcastle - Newcastle have a tough and athletic midfield that fights for every ball. This can be a nightmare in tight spaces such as Chelsea's Stamford Bridge. Matches against Aston Villa (2-1 in Chelsea's favour); Crystal Palace (2-1 in Chelsea's favour) Stoke (1-0 in Chelsea's favour); West Brom (2-2) and most recently the 0-0 draw with West Ham suggest Chelsea struggle against such teams at home.
Though without Cabaye and Remy Newcastle have few little going for them offensively, this puts all the pressure on a depleted Newcastle back line to keep a clean sheet - something I feel they will not be capable of.
In the five games Steven Taylor has played he has lost in 3 and has conceded a grand total of 9 goals and only one clean sheet, that being against a Norwich side with a terrible attack.
Taylor only averages 1 tackle per game and interception per game, a tally only slightly bettered by defensive midfielder Vernon Anita. Anita's tackling and interception stats being so close to Taylor's should be a massive concern considering he is in the thick of the action more.
Therefore, due to an expectation of slack marking from the aforementioned Newcastle players, I suspect players like Samuel Eto'o, Oscar and Lampard (if he plays) who thrive more on movement than creating magic from a standing point, to grab a goal.
Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle United