Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle.
Date: Sat 2nd February, 2013.
Kick off: 3.00pm.
Referee: Howard Webb.
UK TV: None.
Despite the fact that Chelsea are currently third in the league and we are lowly fifteenth, there have been distinct signs of hope for a draw amongst quite a few fans, and also Alan Pardew, for this one.
Why? As well as the new found optimism which has come from what has been regarded by most as a “successful” transfer window, not to mention our first away victory of the season at Villa Park, the Pensioners have drawn four of their last five games, and one of those was against League One’s Brentford! Of course, Rafa “the Gaffer” Benitez is a relatively new manager, unwelcomed by some amongst the Blues’ fanbase, and the team don’t quite seem to have settled yet under their latest manager, hence it might be one of the best times to take points off one of the top sides in the Premiership.
On the other side though, despite drawing with lowly Brentford, they also savaged the side we struggled to hold on for a 2-1 victory against 8-0 over Christmas last year, and hammered Southhampton 5-1 and Stoke 4-0 this year, as well as beating Arsenal 2-1. So which Chelsea will show up for this game? We shall see soon!
Alan Pardew is also taking quite a bullish attitude going into this game. Speaking in a pre match press conference, the Silver Supremo said:
“Just recently, a little bit of pressure has fallen their way because of a few draws, when they have actually looked like they were going to win games. Sometimes you play really well but can’t get over the line and get a win, and I think that’s where they are at. They will be searching for that against us, and I am hoping that we can stay in the game and they get edgy towards the end and we see a victory out.”
Meanwhile on the other side, Rafael Benitez had words of encouragement for the stuttering Magpies saying:
“Last season they had a great campaign, and I was slightly surprised that they haven’t been playing at the same level. But you can see they still have good players, and I think they will do well, but hopefully after this game. They did well last Tuesday against Aston Villa, so they will be happy with the performance and the result. After this game, if they can win a few games in a row I’m sure they will be fine.”
Thanks Rafa the Gaffer. One other character who has been a focus of attention for this game of course has been ex Newcastle and now Chelsea striker Demba Ba, who will be facing Newcastle for the first time as a Chelsea player. He said on the game:
“Newcastle is going to be a big game for me but I won’t let the occasion go overboard. Whenever you join a club you look at the schedule to see when you can play the team you left. So I knew straightaway it would be coming fast for me to go back to St James’ Park. But that’s not the most important thing. At the end of the day, it’s only another game, three points, nothing more than that.”
On his time at Newcastle he added:
“I’m proud of what I did there, of course I am. I did some good things there, no question about that, and from the first day to the last one I gave everything. The fans gave me 100 per cent from day one to the last day but I gave them the same back, 100 per cent. But this is life in football, from one day to another you can exchange and it is part of the job.
“Now I am at Chelsea, the next level. When you play, it’s to win, to win trophies. That is what it is all about and what is in my mind.”
On that I will sign off for now, after my usual reminders that I will be back to post the official teamsheets for the game before kick-off, as well as posting highlights and probably a full match video after the game too. Finally, though this game will not be broadcast live on UK TV, I will also be posting some links to watch the game online too before the kick-off.
Howay the Lads!
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul (G), Mathieu Debuchy, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (C), Davide Santon, James Perch, Yohan Cabaye, Yoan Gouffran, Moussa Sissoko , Jonas Gutierrez, Papiss Cisse.
Subs: Rob Elliot (G), Gael Bigirimana, Mapou Yanga-M’Biwa, Vurnon Anita, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, Shola Ameobi.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Petr Cech (G), Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, John Terry (C), Ashley Cole, Ramires, Frank Lampard, Oscar, Juan Mata, Ryan Bertrand, Demba Ba.
Subs: Ross Turnbull (G), Paulo Ferreira, Cesar Azpilicueta, Nathan Ake, Yossi Benayoun, Marko Marin, Fernando Torres.