Newcastle: Fabricio Coloccini & Ryan Taylor - Out; Paul Dummett, Massadio Haidara & Steven Taylor - Doubtful
Chelsea: Marco Van Ginkel - Out
Chelsea's visit to St. James' Park is not the forgone conclusion it appears to be. The last 5 fixtures has wielded two victories a piece and a draw. More importantly the two sides employ similar tactics, have similar players and have similar weaknesses. Whilst this means Chelsea are more than likely to overpower Newcastle, we cannot rule out Chelsea having an off day and Newcastle capitalising.
Before getting to my final prediction, I should explain the similarities:
They are both teams who like to get the ball to their forwards as quickly as possible, this is particularly true of Newcastle. Whilst Newcastle almost average the same pass percentage of Chelsea, it should be considered Newcastle also have a far worse pass success rate (80% to Chelsea's 85%) and had those passes connected their long ball ratio would have reflected so.
As you will see below, he is often rash which leads to silly mistakes - such as the one against Cardiff. Whilst his tackling stats are low (only 2 in four, 0.5 per game), I would not be alarmed by that. Chelsea often deal with offensive players before they reach the area, in a sense Luiz's game is perfect as he lies in anticipation, waiting to intercept any loose balls - the problem is that side of his game has been off this season too. While he has made 5 this season (1.3 per game), he has an average of 2 fouls per game (8 altogether) and he has been dribbled 5 times (1.3 per game), leaving copious amounts of space in behind.
Across the pitch there are so many other players that are similar to each other: Cabaye and Oscar - both make their respective teams tick; Tiote and Ramires - midfield engines. With this in mind it is no wonder the previous five encounters are split down the middle. In the past league form and circumstances (Chelsea dropping players for the FA Cup and Champions League finals) has decided this match and both omens go against Newcastle - league form is clearly with Chelsea; Chelsea played less of their first team in the Capitol One Cup and did not endure extra time.
Newcastle 1-2 Chelsea