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Chelsea face Newcastle challenge amid an improved run in the Premier League

Chelsea Football Club, Stamford Bridge
Ank kumar, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Newcastle United will face Chelsea at St. James’ Park on Saturday, Nov. 25, in a Premier League match, as action resumes after the international break. Newcastle are seventh in the league table with 20 points from 12 matches, while Chelsea are 10th with 16 from 12.

However, the Blues have shown signs of improvement of late, having beaten Tottenham Hotspur and drawn with the mighty Manchester City 4-4 within the space of a week. Newcastle are the next formidable opponent in line for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who are striving to improve their position in the table.

Chelsea has the better pedigree of the two teams, but the Magpies have made rapid strides under Eddie Howe during the past couple of years. However, Newcastle are playing in the UEFA Champions League this season and also facing injury-related issues in abundance. Hence, they will have to depend quite significantly on some of their reserve players at times this season.

Chelsea’s forwards are turning things around

Almost all of Chelsea’s forwards have come up with improved displays of late. Raheem Sterling has scored five goals in 14 matches so far for them and was a treat to watch against Manchester City. Cole Palmer is one of the most improved players in the league and Nicolas Jackson has also started scoring goals regularly.

Sterling and Palmer form one of the most potent winger-duos in England at the moment and the versatile Conor Gallagher seems to be enjoying playing as the No. 10. Moreover, Moises Caicedo’s presence has allowed Enzo Fernandez to play more freely and distribute the ball with much ease.

Moreover, Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia are expected to be fit for Saturday’s match and hence, Jackson might have to miss out.

Newcastle United should prove to be a difficult opposition

Newcastle are the only team to have beaten Arsenal this season and are a very dangerous opposition at their home ground. Hence, Chelsea’s task is not going to be easy at all. In Anthony Gordon and Miguel Almiron, the Magpies have a pair of very effective wingers and their midfield is quite strong in spite of Sandro Tonali’s absence. Alexander Isak, their striker, is going to make a return to the playing XI against Chelsea though, which will increase the potency of their attack.

Chelsea’s full-backs, Reece James and Levi Colwill, will have to be on the vigil throughout the match. Thiago Silva and Axel Disasi are a formidable centre-back pairing but will need help from the defensive midfielders to tackle Newcastle’s attack.

The Blues will adopt a 4-2-3-1 formation against Newcastle’s 4-3-3, but a major portion of the battle will be on the wide areas. Chelsea will rely on Sterling’s speed and Palmer’s dribbling abilities to break open Newcastle’s defence. Newcastle will be without the majority of their first-choice defenders, with Sven Botman, Dan Burn and Kieran Trippier not being available. Hence, the Blues will fancy their chances of breaching the Magpies’ defence on Saturday, which will give them a good chance of earning three points and thereby improve their position.

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