Newcastle United vs Chelsea

St James’ Park forms the backdrop for a tasty-looking Premier League showdown between Newcastle United and Chelsea.

Hit by a severe injury crisis, Newcastle United relinquished an impressive seven-game unbeaten Premier League streak (W5, D2) on the eve of the international break with a disheartening 2-0 loss at relegation-fighting Bournemouth. Although the crisis has yet to subside, Eddie Howe will relish the upcoming home return, knowing the ‘Magpies’ have won their last five domestic outings at St James’ Park without conceding, including four in the Premier League. But since four of those five victories have yielded an identical 1-0 scoreline, conceding a goal could be fatal to Newcastle’s bid to win back-to-back home league matches against Chelsea since 2014. Adding to this sentiment, their last four top-flight H2Hs on Tyneside have seen the winner on the day keep a clean sheet (W2, L2).

In the meantime, Chelsea fought back late to hold perennial champions Manchester City to an enthralling 4-4 home draw before the international break. Despite becoming the first side to beat Tottenham in the Premier League season in the build-up to that stalemate (4-1), the ‘Blues’ remain stuck in mid-table lethargy, ten points adrift of the top four. But with 72 points still in play, there’s plenty of time for Mauricio Pochettino’s side to make amends. Leaving Stamford Bridge might come in handy, considering the Londoners have emerged victorious in their last three away league games, netting ten goals while conceding just two in return. After identical 4-1 triumphs over Burnley and Tottenham, Chelsea may feel upbeat about scoring 4+ goals at St James’ Park for the first time since 1961.

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