The first Saturday game of the season is upon us. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton, with help from former player Clive Walker, continue their look forward to the match…

A second home match in four days, and Chelsea will be looking to avenge last season’s 0-2 home defeat, which allowed the Geordies to finish one place higher in the league table. Clive Walker supplies the context.

Key battles
‘I was delighted to see Fernando Torres off the mark for the league season on Wednesday, albeit from a position that should probably have been called offside. You have that bit of luck sometimes; sometimes it goes against you.

‘That’s the only goal of Chelsea’s six so far that’s been scored by an attacker: three have come from defenders and two from a midfielder. Although it’s great to share the load I fancy Robbie Di Matteo will want his frontmen get their tally for the season.

‘Alan Pardew will hope to have his skipper Fabio Coloccini back in the centre of defence as that area will be under enormous pressure if Chelsea play well, with Torres always on the centre-back’s shoulder, looking to be slipped in behind.

Chelsea v Newcastle

‘We are playing it through the middle a lot, with little, quick players with great skills who retain the ball well. Steven Taylor is an excellent defender and Coloccini has improved a hell of lot. But I was at the Spurs game. Newcastle weren’t good first half. They didn’t look top-four challengers to me.

‘You certainly can’t fault Eden Hazard’s generosity in setting up five goals, and Alan Pardew will have been sweating over video to see how to stop the Belgian, who has been a revelation.

‘He is so quick and decisive in everything he does it’s very hard for opponents to know how to counter. Most have simply decided to foul him! He hardly gives the ball away either and the likes of Cheikh Tioté and Jonas Gutiérrez will have to be on their toes covering his movement. Gutierrez is not great defensively for me and our guys could tie him in knots.

‘It’s a bit “Tales of the Unexpected” on both sides really. Hazard brings unpredictability in that he can quickly change the shape of your attack. He has got together with Mata and it seems to work, and Mata already had a good link with Torres, which makes a triangle. That’s what you’re taught when you start off in the game – work in triangles. In the fullness of time I don’t doubt Oscar will fit in there well too. More of our football is being played spontaneously, supported by a solid back four, and the two in midfield doing well.

‘Newcastle will have worked out that Hazard likes to pick out Juan Mata but identifying that is easier than stopping it. It may be a slight issue that their midfielders have played a Europa League qualifier just 48 hours earlier, but players’ legs are fresh this time of year – it shouldn’t make much difference.

‘Newcastle have big threats, with Demba Ba creating 24 goals in 50 games for them, and they were fortunate that when he dried up last season Papiss Cissé took over. We know to our cost what Cissé is capable of producing from the match late last season.

‘Both are off-the-cuff sorts of player, who tend to stray offside, but are brilliant improvisers when it comes to finding the net.

‘Against Reading we were a little vulnerable on crosses, but that is not really the Geordies’ strongest suit. With them it will be about our back five and defensive midfield concentrating for 90 minutes, especially when Newcastle have the ball on the edge of the box.

‘Against Tottenham, Newcastle looked a long way short of their best. The two centre-forwards didn’t really look interested but they’re so enigmatic you haven’t got a clue what they’re going to do.

‘As a team with what we have now – great movement and passing, ability and technique, with a bit exuberance too – I don’t think Newcastle will want to play against us right now. But maybe it’s a good time for us to play them.’

Squad news
David Luiz is back in contention for a start following a slight knee problem which is especially welcome as John Terry is a doubt with a neck injury suffered against Reading.

New signing Marko Marin may miss out again.

The Ameobi brothers, both of whom have nursed hamstring injuries, and influential defender Fabricio Coloccini (thigh), may all return to action for Newcastle. Demba Ba faces a test having missed the the Europa League game with a sore shin. Cheick Tiote is a doubt with a calf strain.

Chelsea have won 10 of our last 12 games at Stamford Bridge. Newcastle are the only team to have won here in that time with Tottenham gaining a point in a goalless draw.

Aug 12 Manchester City (Community Shield) L 2-3
Aug 19 Wigan (a) W 2-0
Aug 22 Reading (h) W 4-2

2012/13 Premier League scorers
Ivanovic 2, Lampard 2 (2 pens), Cahill 1, Torres 1.

League games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 5
A home defeat: 2

Fri 31 Aug Atlético Madrid (Uefa Super Cup) Monaco 7.45pm
Sat 15 Sep QPR away 3.00pm
18/19 Sep Champions League Matchday 1 7.45pm

Frank Lampard completed a half century of Chelsea penalties against Reading. He has an 88 per cent success rate with 44 converted in competitive matches.

Frank is now one goal away from joining our all-time top-flight goalscorer Bobby Tambling on 129; on Wednesday he drew level with Roy Bentley’s 128.

John Terry needs one goal to reach 50 in all competitions for the Blues.

If selected, Florent Malouda will make his 150th Premier League appearance and Branislav Ivanovic his 150th Chelsea start in league and cup.


Major trophies
4 League championships, last in 1927.
6 FA Cups, last in 1955.
1 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969.
1 FA Charity Shield in 1909.

Newcastle have been Premier League runners-up twice in 1995/96 and 1996/97. Their last major piece of silverware was the Inter Cities Fairs Cup in 1969 when they beat Hungarian side Ujpest Dozsa 6-2 over two legs.

Newcastle have lost three of their last five league games.

The Magpies away record in the Premier League last term was eight wins, three draws and eight defeats.

United need two to reach 1,000 Premier League goals.

Newcastle together with West Brom conceded nine penalties last season, more than any other Premier League club.

Manager Alan Pardew
Days in charge: 625
Played 68
Won 29
Drawn 18
Lost 21

Pts Pos Division Level
2002/03 69 3rd Premier League 1
2003/04 56 5th Premier League 1
2004/05 44 14th Premier League 1
2005/06 58 7th Premier League 1
2006/07 43 13th Premier League 1
2007/08 43 12th Premier League 1
2008/09 34 18th Premier League 1
2009/10 102 1st Championship 2
2010/11 46 12th Premier League 1
2011/12 65 5th Premier League 1
Jul 13 Chemnitzer (a) L 0-1
Jul 16 AS Monaco (n) W 1-0
Jul 21 Fenerbahçe (n) D 1-1
Jul 27 Olympiacos (n) D 1-1
Jul 28 SC Braga (n) W 2-1
Aug 4 Den Haag (a) D 0-0
Aug 7 Hartlepool (a) W 5-1
Aug 11 Cardiff (a) L 1-4
Aug 18 Tottenham (h) W 2-1
Aug 23 Atromitos (Europa League play-off a) D 1-1



2011/12 Premier League scorers
Ba 1, Ben Arfa 1

League games since
An away win: 1
An away draw: 12
An away defeat: 0

Ins Romain Amalfitano, Reims, undisclosed), Vurnon Anita (Ajax, undisclosed), Curtis Good (Melbourne Heart, undisclosed), Gael Bigirimana, (Coventry, £1m)
Outs Alan Smith, (MK Dons, free), Peter Lovenkrands (Birmingham, free), Danny Guthrie (Reading, free), Tamas Kadar (Roda FC, undisclosed), Fraser Forster (Celtic, £2.5m), Leon Best (Blackburn, £3m), Michael Hoganson (Derby, free)

Eden Hazard (Lille, undisclosed), Marko Marin (Werder Bremen, undisclosed), Thorgan Hazard (Lens, undisclosed), Oscar (Internacional, undisclosed), Oscar Azpilicueta (Marseille, undisclosed)
Outs Didier Drogba (out of contract, now Shanghai Shenhua), Salomon Kalou (out of contract, now Lille), José Bosingwa (out of contract, now QPR), Marko Mitrovic (released, now Brescia)), Rhys Taylor (released, now Southend), Jeffrey Bruma (Hamburg, loan), Thibaut Courtois (Atlético Madrid, loan), Ulises Davila (Sabadell, loan), Kevin De Bruyne (Werder Bremen, loan), Matej Delac (Vitória Guimaräes, loan), Rohan Ince (Yeovil, loan), Tomas Kalas (Vitesse Arnham, loan), Milan Lalkovic (Vitória Guimaräes, loan), Patrick van Aanholt (Vitesse Arnham, loan), Ben Gordon (Birmingham, loan), Romulu Lukaku (West Brom, loan), Sam Walker (Bristol Rovers, loan), Sam Hutchinson (Nottingham Forest, loan), Conor Clifford (Portsmouth, loan), Josh McEachran (Middlesbrough, loan), Archange Nkumu (Yeovil, loan)

Phil Dowd last refereed Chelsea at this year’s FA Cup final, a 2-1 triumph over Liverpool. His most recent Magpies game was their home win over Norwich in March. The Blues have won 19, drawn six and lost six of the games he has officiated.

There are no suspensions.

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