The Blues’ current run of success will be tested on Tyneside as we make the longest league trip of the season. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton are ready for the early kick-off…
Chelsea arrive in Newcastle on the back of two morale-boosting successes over big rivals and with a record of taking 13 from the last 15 possible points in the Barclays Premier League. Another three would place us at the pinnacle, if only for a few hours.
After last weekend’s home triumph over Manchester City Chelsea are just one point down on results in last season’s equivalent fixtures. The Blues stumbled to a 2-3 defeat on the last visit to Tyneside, so victory on Saturday would put the 2013/14 side in credit.
This is Newcastle’s third successive weekend of lunchtime engagements, with the recent loss at Sunderland about as palatable as a stale stottie. The week before, at home to Liverpool, the Magpies led twice and held on for a 2-2 draw with 10 men. Chelsea’s early starts so far this season have been at Tottenham, a 1-1 draw in which Fernando Torres was harshly red-carded, and the 3-1 win at Norwich.
Up to now Jose Mourinho’s only victory at St James’ Park came in the 2006 League Cup. Outplaying Arsenal in their own back yard in that same competition on Tuesday has handed a huge psychological boost to players and supporters ahead of this trip.
There were 10 changes in the Emirates starting line-up for Chelsea, eight for Arsenal, with the difference in the respective depth of quality laid bare. It should not come as a surprise that the team selected seamlessly showed the usual marks of a Mourinho collective: intensity, desire, belief.
No players encapsulate that better than Juan Mata, who instigated the move that led to Cesar Azplicueta’s opener by winning the ball from an Arsenal corner then fired the decisive second with a fierce right-footed volley, and artful dodger Azpilicueta himself. With others in such good form the Spaniards have demonstrated complete professionalism and commitment when handed the shirt.
The result, loudly hailed by the 9,000-strong Chelsea support, was a fine way to mark Mourinho’s 200th game in charge. It was his fifth victory in nine unbeaten meetings with Arsene Wenger, who is one of 11 current Premier League managers in the same boat.
The only incumbents to have bettered the Portuguese over the course of his career are Mark Hughes, Martin Jol, Robert Martinez and Manuel Pellegrini, all with one win apiece. Sir Alex Ferguson tasted success twice over 14 meetings.
The Special One has 100 per cent records against Chris Hughton (one match), Malky Mackay (one), Mauricio Pochettino (four) and this weekend’s adversary, Toon boss Alan Pardew (four).
Tuesday brought the sixth successive win in all competitions for Mourinho’s Chelsea in October. The Blues have hit 18 goals since the draw at Spurs, conceding just three. Roll on ‘Mouvember.’
The quarter-final draw will send us away to either Sunderland or Southampton, whose showdown in the Stadium of Light was rescheduled to 6 November at the request of Northumbria Police anxious to avoid a clash with Newcastle-Man City.
Chelsea’s next match in the competition will be on Tuesday or Wednesday, 17 or 18 December, presenting supporters with the prospect of two midweek trips to Wearside over a fortnight should the Mackems prevail at home next week.
Alan Pardew warned that fatigue was again a factor in Newcastle’s loss to Manchester City and Chelsea have had an extra day’s rest since the midweek cup exploits. The Magpies’ manager claimed tiredness had played a part in their derby downfall last weekend, when Gus Poyet’s Sunderland ground out a 2-1 win over their rivals.
Pardew made five personnel changes for the City match on Wednesday, but full-backs Massadio Haidara and Paul Dummett went off early with muscle strains and the extra time required will not have helped those who remained on the pitch. Chelsea have scored a league-best six goals in the final 15 minutes of matches to date, and conceded none.
After that Sunderland setback the Newcastle board broke off diplomatic relations with local newspaper The Chronicle and its stablemates The Journal and Sunday Sun. They are excluded from stadium and training ground media facilities indefinitely. Viz Comic is unaffected.
Chelsea have rarely received good press in an area where ‘Cockneys’ start just south of Gateshead and the newspapers sneeringly refer to the United manager as ‘Londoner Pardew’.
Former Stamford Bridge hero (and Poyet teammate) Dennis Wise was caricatured as one of the ‘Cockney Mafia’ in his time as director of football on Tyneside. His successor, Joe Kinnear, played right-back for Tottenham against Chelsea in the 1967 FA Cup final.
Nine years ago on 6 November 2004 a Chelsea side inspired by Arjen Robben beat dogged Everton 1-0 to leapfrog leaders Arsenal at the top of the table. That night Thierry Henry and co. slipped up, drawing 1-1 at Crystal Palace, and the Blues stayed at number one for the rest of the season.
The Gunners again face a test of their title credentials on Saturday evening when they host Liverpool, who are unbeaten in three Emirates visits. Tottenham have returned pointless from each of their last three trips to Goodison Park.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Newcastle v Chelsea 12.45pm BT Sport
Fulham v Manchester United 3pm
Hull v Sunderland 3pm
Manchester City v Norwich 3pm
Stoke v Southampton 3pm
West Brom v Crystal Palace 3pm
West Ham v Aston Villa 3pm
Arsenal v Liverpool 5.30pm Sky Sports
Everton v Tottenham 1.30pm Sky Sports
Cardiff v Swansea 4pm Sky Sports
Only Southampton (three) and Tottenham (five) have conceded fewer than Chelsea’s six in nine league outings.
Chelsea have lost one of our last 17 Premier League matches.
The Blues have won all five league games when we have scored the opening goal.
We have won four, drawn three and lost one of our last eight away top-flight league games.
|Oct 1||Steaua Bucharest (Champions League a)||W 4-0|
|Oct 6||Norwich (a)||W 3-1|
|Oct 19||Cardiff (h)||W 4-1|
|Oct 22||Schalke (Champions League a)||W 3-0|
|Oct 27||Manchester City (h)||W 2-1|
|Oct 29||Arsenal (Capital One Cup a)||W 2-0|
Premier League scorers (16)
Oscar 4, Hazard 3, Eto’o 1, Ivanovic 1, Lampard 1, Mikel 1, Schürrle 1, Terry 1, Torres 1, Willian 1, own goal 1
League games since
An away win: 0
An away draw: 1
An away defeat: 2
|Wed 6 Nov||Schalke (Champions League) home||7.45pm|
|Sat 9 Nov||West Brom home||3pm|
|Sat 23 Nov||West Ham away||5.30pm|
Petr Cech should play his 446th Chelsea match, placing him sixth on our roster of all-time appearances made.
Michael Essien’s next appearance will be his 250th for the club.
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.
Premier League – 16th
Europa League – Quarter-final
FA Cup – Third round
Capital One Cup – Third round
The Magpies have won five of a possible 12 points at St James’ Park this term. They have won against Fulham, drawn to West Ham and Liverpool and lost to Hull.
Newcastle have lost on the three occasions in the Premier League their opponents opened the scoring.
Manager Alan Pardew
Days in charge: 1,059
|Sep 25||Leeds (Capital One Cup h)||W 2-0|
|Sep 30||Everton (a)||L 2-3|
|Oct 5||Cardiff (a)||W 2-1|
|Oct 19||Liverpool (h)||D 2-2|
|Oct 27||Sunderland (a)||L 1-2|
|Oct 30||Manchester City (Capital One Cup h)||L 0-2|
Premier League scorers (12)
Remy 5, Ben Arfa 2, Cabaye 2, Debuchy 1, Dummett 1, Gouffran 1
League games since
A home win: 2
A home draw: 0
A home defeat: 1
MAGPIES MAJOR SUMMER MOVES AND AUTUMN LOANS
Ins Loic Remy (QPR, loan), Olivier Kemen (Metz, undisclosed)
Outs Steve Harper (Hull, free), Danny Simpson (QPR, free), James Perch (Wigan, £750,000), Dan Gosling (Blackpool, loan), Shane Ferguson (Birmingham, loan), Nile Ranger (Swindon, free).
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Referee Lee Mason’s takes charge of his first Chelsea game since the one at Aston Villa in May featuring Frank Lampard’s record-breaking 203rd goal for the club.
There are no suspensions.
Visit again tomorrow for part two of the Briefing.
– November’s prize will be a Gianfranco Zola-signed print, so get predicting now with Score Predictor ahead of Saturday’s game against Newcastle.