Newcastle host Chelsea on Saturday lunchtime and they have every right to be confident given their recent record against the Blues at St James' Park says Steve Rawlings...
“The Blues have lost five of their last seven visits to St James’ and the fact that they play so soon after the international break can’t be considered a positive.”
Newcastle v Chelsea
Saturday November 21, 12;30
Live on BT Sport
Inconsistent Magpies tough to predict
Newcastle's Premier League season began with a solid 2-0 win away at West Ham and there have been other encouraging results on the road since.
New signing, Callum Wilson, scored in injury time to secure a 1-1 draw away at Spurs at the end of September and Jacob Murphy's 89th minute freekick at Molineux at the end of October earnt the Magpies another point courtesy of another 1-1 stalemate.
Newcastle comfortably beat an out-of-form Burnley at St James' Park but that victory was sandwiched between disappointing home defeats to Brighton (0-3) and Manchester United (1-4). The Magpies then beat Everton 2-1 at home and at the time, that looked like a really good win but it transpired to be one of three defeats in-a-row for the Toffees, who appear to have lost their early season form completely.
Newcastle were comprehensively outplayed in their final match before the international break, a 2-0 defeat away at Southampton, and the break looks like it came at a good time, with Wilson given time to recover form a hamstring injury picked up at St Marys. He's now likely to start on Saturday.
After three wins, three defeats and two draws, Steve Bruce's side sit 13th in the table, exactly where they finished last season.
Pretenders or contenders?
The international break couldn't have come at a worse time for Frank Lampard's Chelsea. Since losing 2-0 at home to Liverpool in September, the Blues are unbeaten in their last six in the Premier League - winning three and drawing three - and if they beat Newcastle on Saturday they'll climb to the top of the table.
Having been matched at a high of 55.054/1, Chelsea are now as short as 8.615/2 to win the Premier League and they're certainly starting to look like contenders. No team in the division have scored as many as the Blues (20) and following a pair of comfortable wins, 3-0 away at Burnley and 4-1 at home to Sheffield United, Lampard's charges are looking for their third Premier League win in-a-row but their recent record at St James' is far from spectacular....
Odds-on Blues short enough
If Chelsea are to move to the top of the Premier League table with their third straight win, they're going to have to overcome a very poor recent record at Newcastle, as well as the inconvenience of an early kick-off in their furthest away game of the season, straight after an international break.
The Blues have lost five of their last seven visits to St James', winning and drawing the other two. They lost this fixture 1-0 last season and the fact that they play so soon after the international break can't be considered a positive.
Chelsea will be without the unfit Christian Pulisic and Kai Havertz, who's been training on his own having been in isolation after contracting coronavirus. Thiago Silva probably won't travel to the North East, having just returned from Brazil and Ben Chilwell may also be missing having been injured on Sunday when playing for England against Belgium.
Lampard didn't sound happy at Thursday's press conference and who could blame him?
"We have been training with four players in the last week or two. The majority of our squad have been travelling, they are just getting back now. They will fly up to Newcastle, fly back, fly to Rennes on Tuesday and then back. When you look at the scheduling the broadcasters have never had as many slots. How much does that 12:30 slot need to be there?
"It is absolutely not the optimum way to have players preparing for Premier League games. Player injuries are going up across the league, the numbers are there if the Premier League wants to look at them. Zero pre-season, the schedule is tighter and if we want to handle them as best we can and look after the players, change the 12:30 time."
Stats suggest there'll be goals aplenty
Given there have been at least three goals scored in Newcastle's last seven home games and in 10 of Chelsea's last 11 away matches in the Premier League, the 1.75/7 about Over in the Over/Under 2.5 Goals market isn't too short.
Both teams have scored in half of Chelsea's eight games so far this season and in five of Newcastle's eight but if we look at last season's stats, we can see exactly why Yes in the Both Teams to Score market is odds-on. Just over half of Newcastle home games saw both sides find the net (53%) but both sides scored a whopping 79% of the time whenever Chelsea played away from Stamford Bridge.
The fact that both fixtures ended in 1-0 wins to the home side last season tempers the enthusiasm for a bet on goals but it's worth noting that the previous seven encounters between the two sides saw at least three scored.
Looking at the goal scorer markets, if he can overcome the disappointment of being substituted for Germany during their 6-0 thrashing to Spain, Timo Werner is the most likely to bag a goal. He's in search of his eighth Chelsea goal in eight games on Saturday and he's looking to become the first Chelsea player since Didier Drogba in 2009 to score in five consecutive appearances for the Blues.
Combining plenty of goals and Werner to score looks like the best way to take advantage of the Same Game Multi offer (see below) and Werner to score at anytime and Over 3.5 goals pays 3.78.
Bet £10 and Get £10 - Same Game Multi Offer
Bet £10 on a Premier League Same Game Multi for games on Saturday and Sunday and get a free £10 Sportsbook bet to use on any market, once settled, T&Cs apply.
Staked: 19 pts
Returned: 12.82 pts
P/L: -6.18 pts
3pt Lay Chelsea @ 1.548/15