Frank Lampard’s young Chelsea side have been nothing short of a revelation this term, especially considering that not too much was expected of them at the start of the season. The English core that the team seems to be building helped them secure a 4-1 away win against Southampton last time out. Having beaten Lille in midweek before that as well, Chelsea are actually in pretty good form.
The Magpies, on the other hand, are coming into the tie with all the confidence of beating Manchester United last weekend. Steve Bruce, for all the criticism he’s been getting, has done a reasonable job steadying the Newcastle United ship. They will be hoping to pull off a result against the Blues when they travel to Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Team News: Arguably the deadliest defensive-midfield player in world football today, N’Golo Kante suffered a muscle problem in midweek and is expected to miss out. Andreas Christensen and Mateo Kovacic both also suffered slight knocks during the international break and are doubtful to start this tie. Reece James is also a major doubt for this fixture.
Frank Lampard has preferred to utilise the defensive pairing of Kurt Zouma and Fikayo Tomori, meaning that Andreas Christensen will have to do with a place on the bench this time around. The Frenchman’s dominance in the air added to the youngster’s composure and tactical know-how, give Chelsea a massive boost in the defensive third.
Marcos Alonso has been in good form in recent weeks and has been putting in some decent crosses as well. His combination play with Mason Mount has been one of the highlights of Chelsea’s campaign so far. Skipper Cesar Azpilicueta is expected to keep his place on the right side of the defence.
Another player that has gone on to become vital for the Blues is former Napoli man Jorginho. The Italian is unquestionably the matador that drives this Chelsea team forward. His composure in the middle of the park has been essential to the Blues’ attacking aspirations this term. Having managed some assists along the way, his ability to pick out a killer pass is slowly coming into the picture this season as well. Ross Barkley is yet to make a real impression since he had his ‘taxi’ debacle and is expected to start with both Kovacic and Kante out of contention.
Mason Mount will be raring to go for Chelsea again and is effectively guaranteed a place in the starting XI. The youngster has been the Blues’ main creative outlet, and this is expected to continue. He should slot in just behind the striker with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Willian on either side of him. Despite Willian’s rising age, his offensive contributions still go a long way for Frank Lampard’s men while Hudson-Odoi adds youthfulness and a dash of unpredictability.
Tammy Abraham has been in the form of his life in recent weeks, and although he didn’t get a run out for England against Bulgaria, he’ll still be buzzing from the national call-up. The striker’s presence up-front has been inspirational, to say the least, and he’s been getting the numbers to back up his cause as well.
Undoubtedly the first choice, the youngster has managed to keep the experienced heads of Olivier Giroud and Michy Batshuayi out of the side so far. He will have to maintain the form if the Blues are to achieve anything out of this season.