Stamford Bridge - Premier League
After a cup double header in the past week, Chelsea are back to Premier League duty as they play host to Newcastle on Saturday. The Magpies are without a win in five, and that’s surely going to extend to six at Stamford Bridge this weekend.
Chelsea have won their last six at home to Newcastle, who’ve only tasted victory against the Blues once in the last seven meetings between the clubs. That was a 3-0 success at the end of last season at St James’ Park, while Chelsea won 3-1 in the league last term and knocked the Magpies out of the FA Cup with a 3-0 victory at Stamford Bridge.
Maurizio Sarri will shuffle his pack once again after Tuesday’s League Cup tie with Tottenham, although there’ll be no Cesc Fabregas after the midfielder said his goodbyes to English football in Chelsea’s FA Cup victory over Nottingham Forest. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is injured, but Pedro, Willian, Olivier Giroud and Mateo Kovacic are all expected to be okay after injuries.
Rafa Benitez is famous for rotating his team when he doesn’t think his side stand a chance at one of the big clubs, and Newcastle have a big week coming up with a home game against relegation rivals Cardiff following their FA Cup replay at Blackburn. Jonjo Shelvey misses out with a thigh injury, while Yoshinori Muto and Ki Sung-Yeung are at the Asian Cup and Mohamed Diame and Federico Fernandez are doubtful.
Chelsea v Newcastle Preview and Predictions
Despite their extra exertions in midweek, it’s almost impossible to see anything other than a comfortable home win for Chelsea in this game. The Blues have a top four spot to shore up, while Newcastle are teetering just a couple of points above the drop zone.
Chelsea have a great record at home to Newcastle, but Stamford Bridge hasn’t been its usual fortress for the Blues in recent weeks. Leicester beat them 1-0 just before Christmas, while Southampton claimed a point via a goalless draw last week.
However, Sarri will expect his players to put that behind them, and recapture the form that saw them beat Manchester City last month. The hosts are the strong favourites to take the victory this weekend, priced at 1/4. Even with changes to their personnel, they should still have far too much quality for Newcastle.
Benitez would probably be happy to escape without a heavy morale-denting defeat, while a draw would be a great result in the circumstances. That’s priced at 11/2, while you can get 29/2 if you think the Magpies can spring a major shock and take all three points back to the North East with them.
Chelsea to win and BTTS at 12/5
The Blues haven’t been rock solid at the back this season, while Salomon Rondon is in great form at the moment. The hosts should still get the win though.
Chelsea to win and over 2.5 goals at 20/23
This bet looks like another good way to enhance your odds on the home win, and over 2.5 goals would’ve paid out in each of the last six meetings between the sides.