Newcastle United host Chelsea on Saturday evening in a meeting between two of the Premier League’s wealthiest clubs.
Since the controversial takeover of Newcastle last year, no Premier League team has a larger net spend than the Magpies. Chelsea came under new ownership just last May and splashed in excess of £250m on transfers last summer, a division-high.
Thus far, Newcastle’s riches have been put to better use and are guaranteed of a top-four spot come Christmas Day. Chelsea have a game in hand on their upcoming hosts but trail Newcastle by six points.
Here’s everything you need to know about this expensive encounter.
Newcastle: 1 Win
Chelsea: 4 Wins
An illness he had been carrying last week forced Callum Wilson off during the interval of Newcastle’s comfortable victory against Southampton on Saturday. The England international was included in Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad and is expected to return for his club this weekend.
Ryan Fraser, Matt Ritchie and Paul Dummett have been struggling with calf problems which leave the trio in doubt. Alexander Isak (thigh) and Emil Krafth (knee) have been ruled out for several months.
Newcastle Starting 11 (4-3-3): Pope; Trippier, Schar, Botman, Burn; Longstaff, Guimaraes, Willock; Almiron, Wilson, Murphy.
Bench: Darlow, Lascelles, Shelvey, Saint-Maximin, Targett, Manquillo, Wood, Anderson, Lewis.
Injury has prevented Ben Chilwell, Reece James, Wesley Fofana and N’Golo Kante from receiving World Cup call-ups from their respective national teams.
Kepa Arrizabalaga hasn’t been part of the Spain squad for two years but is carrying a foot problem. Jorginho is struggling with an issue in the same, rather important, area. Carney Chukwuemeka is nursing a thigh complaint.
Chelsea Starting 11 (3-4-3): Mendy; Chalobah, Silva, Koulibaly; Loftus-Cheek, Zakaria, Kovacic, Cucurella; Sterling, Aubameyang, Mount.
Bench: B*ttinelli, Pulisic, Broja, Gallagher, Ziyech, Hall, Azpilicueta, Havertz, Hutchinson.
Steve Bruce was in charge of Newcastle the last time they scored a goal against Chelsea – who were managed by Frank Lampard back in January 2020, pre-COVID. Almost three years on, it is highly unlikely that the Blues will be able to shut Newcastle out for a fifth game on the spin.
The Magpies have scored 11 more Premier League goals than Chelsea this season; just Wilson, Miguel Almiron and Bruno Guimaraes combined have scored as many goals as the Blues this term (17).
With six wins from their last seven league games, Newcastle canter into the contest as favourites against a Chelsea side that hasn’t beaten English opposition since mid-October.
Prediction: Newcastle 3-2 Chelsea