Newcastle United are known for causing some upsets, but Saturday could get ugly at St. James’ Park.
With the international break almost over, Newcastle United fans cannot wait to see their team in action, but Saturday’s game against Chelsea will be extremely difficult. Frank Lampard’s men are only three points off first place and motivation will not be lacking on their end.
Chelsea are dealing with a few injuries, as well as Kai Haivertz recovering from COVID-19, but regardless of who plays, the Blues will be expected to handle business against the Magpies.
Now you all are probably thinking, “Newcastle United are usually underdogs, so why would Saturday’s game be any worse than previous games?” There are three key reasons why my level of concern is higher this week.
Chelsea: Most Goals in the EPL
With 20 goals scored in eight Premier League games to start the season, no other team has scored more goals than Chelsea. The giants from London have made life difficult for several opponents as they have managed to score at least three goals in all but two games this season.
Newcastle United have sufficient strength in the back to frustrate Chelsea’s attacking players, but the Magpies have also been disorganized and not as compact since Steve Bruce took charge. Newcastle United have only claimed one clean sheet this season, and all three losses were by margins of at least two goals.
Chelsea are well aware of their hosts’ defensive flaws and they will attack from the opening whistle. Bruce will be expecting this and, as a result, will instruct his team to park the bus, which will only invite a bombardment of shots.
In the last four games, opponents have created 74 chances against the Magpies, so Chelsea will be licking their lips for this game.
Chelsea’s defense has turned things around since their 3-3 draw against Southampton. If it was not for an early goal scored by Sheffield United last time out, Chelsea would have celebrated their sixth consecutive clean sheet across all competitions, which includes clean sheets against Manchester United and Sevilla.
Edouard Mendy is a true guardian between the sticks, and the pace Chelsea have across the back-line will make it difficult for Newcastle United to catch them off guard, no matter how in form Allan Saint-Maximin will be on Saturday. His task as a playmaker will be even more difficult without Callum Wilson.
No Wilson, No Party
Last, but certainly not least, is the absence of Callum Wilson. The club has not made a formal announcement that Wilson, who is recovering from a hamstring injury he picked up against Southampton, is out, but fans should not expect him to suit up.
In fact, Newcastle United should play it safe and rest him for this clash in which they will spent 80 minutes as a bunker in their own half. Wilson leads the team in scoring with six goals so far this season, so his absence will be massive, and it should also make for an easy shift for Chelsea’s defenders.