Fernando Torres, Chelsea
Torres could be benched with Didier Drogba starting for Chelsea. Picture - Reuters. REUTERS

Chelsea travel to the recently renamed Sports Direct Arena to face Newcastle Unted with a chance to arrest their recent slump and jump to fourth place in the Premier League.

The Blues come to this game on the back of a 2-0 loss to Liverpool in the Carling Cup, during midweek, which saw them eliminated from the competition. What it also did was to heap pressure on manager Andre Villas-Boas who was hoping to gain some momentum from the 3-0 win over Wolves last weekend.

Chelsea's season depends on the next two weeks, beginning with the match against third-placed Newcastle on Saturday, before a crunch Champions League encounter against Valencia followed by a trip to Manchester City. With speculation rising on Villas-Boas' job, which owes much to Roman Abramovic's reputation of sacking managers, Chelsea need to come out with a positive.

However, contrary to what many predicted at the beginning of the season, Newcastle could provide a stern test. Alan Pardew has masterminded a stunning start to their campaign and their first loss of the season came only a fortnight back, to the league leaders City. They came fighting from that result, earning a hard-fought point at Old Trafford last week.

On evidence of Chelsea's current form, this could be Newcastle's easiest fixture of the three and Pardew will set his team out to attack the nervy visitors.

Much remains on the balance for Chelsea and it's an interesting viewing.

Team News

Newcastle will be without Cheick Tiote who has been ruled out with a knee injury that while Sylvain Marveaux will be sidelined till January. However, Leon Best returns after recovering from his groin-injury.

Chelsea captain John Terry will to the team after serving out his suspension in the Carling Cup tie against Liverpool. Oriol Romeu is expected to retain his place in midfield after impressing against Wolves, last week, and Liverpool.

Match Fact

This fixture takes place with Newcastle above Chelsea for the first time since March 2003. However, Newcastle haven't managed a win against the Blues in eight games, although three of the last four games ended in a draw.


It will be a nervy Chelsea side and Newcastle will be looking to hit them early on. The first goal is key, and it looks likely to end in a draw, which is only likely to heap more pressure on AVB.

Newcastle 1-1 Chelsea