The Premier League is back! After two long weeks of boring international football, we can finally watch our beloved Chelsea play again, with our first game back coming against an ever tricky Newcastle side. We travel to St James Park for the early kick off on Saturday. However, with a lack of training and after a busy two weeks for many of our international players, could we expect to see Lampard rotate heavily to combat fatigue and tiredness? Let’s find out…
My Predicted Lineup:
Mendy; James, Zouma, Tomori, Chilwell; Kante, Mount, Kovacic; Ziyech, Werner, Abraham
Darlow; Murphy, Schar, Lascelles, Fernandez, Lewis; Hendrick, Hayden, S Longstaff; Joelinton, Saint-Maximin
We make the trip to Newcastle this weekend, yet who might we expect to see? Ahead of this game, Lampard has more or less ruled out three of our star players. Havertz, Pulisic and Thiago Silva are doubts for the game on Saturday, with Kai Havertz short of fitness after being in self isolation following a positive COVID test. Christian Pulisic is still not up to full training following his injury before the international break, “Christian Pulisic is not fit for Newcastle but he’s stepped up his training slowly” Thiago Silva too, is not ready to play for Chelsea after only arriving back to London on Thursday, meaning he won’t be ready to play by the early kick off on Saturday.
Lampard also revealed he is optimistic about our new left back, Ben Chilwell and his back injury that he suffered whilst on international duty. The gaffer said “he’s been improving and getting fantastic care with England so I’m more positive he’ll be okay.”Therefore, with a lot of our team suffering from a very demanding schedule and because of obvious absences, I believe we could be in for a fair few changes for this starting lineup at the weekend. Could we see Fikayo Tomori back in the lineup or possibly Mateo Kovacic return after his impressive brace against Portugal? Time will tell, however whatever the lineup, I think I speak on behalf of every Chelsea fan right now, when I say I cannot wait to see my team back in action.
As for our opposition, with very few of their players being selected for their international team, it means they have had a lot longer to prepare for the game and will be well rested to face us. Before the break, they were having a mixed form of results with impressive results coming against Everton, Spurs and Wolves however they have also been on the receiving end of a thrashing from Man United as well as losses from Southampton, Brighton and West Ham all this season.
After a busy summer of new transfers, Newcastle have a new look front line with Callum Wilson hitting the ground running with 6 goals already this season. Although Wilson faces a race against time for the game, as he narrowly avoided a serious hamstring injury prior to the international break, so it will be interesting to see if manager, Steve Bruce risks using his new number 9. In fact, Newcastle have a number of first team players that have been ruled out of this game following injuries to Jonjo Shelley, Paul Dummett, Dwight Gayle, Ryan Fraser and Martin Dubravka.
However, of course the skilful Saint Maxim remains a threat, with his pace and trickery being his attributes, with his ability capable to unlock almost any defence in the league. We also know from past games how defensively solid Newcastle are, which means we are going to have to create moments of magic to enable us to pick up all three points this weekend, before our next Champions League game, away to Rennes.