Saturday 13 February 2016

Defending Premier League champions Chelsea will be looking to extend their unbeaten league record to ten matches when lowly Newcastle United visit Stamford Bridge this evening.

However the Blues, who salvaged a last-gasp 1-1 draw against Manchester United last Sunday thanks to Diego Costa’s injury-time equaliser, have still won only seven matches this season in the English top-flight after 25 outings.

But the positive side to Chelsea’s latest unbeaten streak is that the hosts have not lost under new interim boss Guus Hiddink since he took charge back on December 19, 2015.

Meanwhile the Magpies, who climbed out of the division’s bottom three following last weekend’s slender 1-0 victory over West Brom, will be eager to build upon their very narrow one-point gap they hold over third-bottom Norwich City below the dreaded dotted line.

But the likelihood of walking out of London with all three points tonight looks scarce as Newcastle have only won once away to Chelsea in 21 attempts in the Premier League.

Their last away victory inside Stamford Bridge came back in 2012, when striker Papiss Cisse scored a wonderful brace.

Furthermore optimistically for Steve McClaren’s away side; despite the hosts’ unbeaten streak, Chelsea are still winless in four consecutive home league games for the first time in over three years (November 2012).

Hiddink’s side have also shipped eight goals in their last four home outings in the league, compared to just one in four on the road.

However in-form forward Costa is enjoying his fruitful spell under the Dutch coach of late, with the Spain international netting six times in his last seven Premier League appearances.

That will mean Newcastle goalkeeper Rob Elliot will have to be at his best to hold the fiery forward at bay, although the shot stopper’s clean sheet against West Brom last Saturday was the club’s first shut-out in nine league games.

But having said that, the overall statistics away from home for McClaren’s men read woefully. The Magpies have lost a hounding 15 of their last 18 league games on the road and have found the back of the next just six times in the Premier League throughout the 2015-16 campaign.

Team News:

Star striker Diego Costa is a doubt for tonight’s clash as the Spaniard suffered a broken nose in training on Thursday.

Meanwhile centre-half Kurt Zouma has been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign with a knee injury, meaning England international Gary Cahill will partner captain John Terry in the heart of defence. January addition Alexandre Pato is still not deemed fit enough to be involved.

Newcastle midfielder Jack Colback returns to the matchday squad following his recent hamstring injury, although he could fill in at left-back due to defenders Paul Dummett (Hamstring) and Massadio Haidara (Knee) being restricted to the treatment room.

Centre-half Jamaal Lascelles is available for selection once again after serving his suspension and forward Emmanuel Riviere is fit enough to feature.

League Positions: Chelsea – 13th (30 pts); Newcastle – 17th (24 pts)
Previous Meeting: Newcastle 2-2 Chelsea – September 26, 2015
League Form: Chelsea – WDDWDD; Newcastle – LDWLLW
Key Players: Chelsea – Diego Costa; Newcastle – Georginio Wijnaldum
Shoot Says: Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle

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