A Blue Up North previews Chelsea’s match against Newcastle United.
Chelsea return to Premier League action following the latest international break with a home fixture against Newcastle United and their focus will be regaining the momentum they had generated with a run of 4 straight victories beforehand.
The Blues had had a few indifferent results at the start of the season but they had climbed up to 5th in the league, swept Grimsby Town aside in the League Cup and gained a valuable win away at Lille in the Champions League in recent weeks.
And with their young starlets shining brightly, the future was looking extremely rosy. The incredibly speedy rise of Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham had been rewarded by inclusion in Gareth Southgate’s England set up.
In fact, under the guidance of manager Frank Lampard, Chelsea’s young lions have become the envy of the footballing world, with the media questioning whether other top clubs can replicate the process currently bearing so much fruit for The Blues.
But this has been a very long process in the making and why so many Chelsea fans are enjoying the latest chapter so much. And even though the season is less than a quarter way through, there has been plenty of evolution from the team in such a short spell.
The recent run of wins saw a more mature side from the players and Frank himself. Leads have been protected better, in game management has been more effective and the more experienced players have led by example.
In fact there has been comments as to whether the break had come at the wrong time for The Blues. However, a home tie against The Magpies could be almost the perfect match up for Chelsea to continue their run.
At Stamford Bridge, Newcastle have only won once in 25 visits and they have suffered some very heavy defeats in 17 losses during that time.
But it will not just be Chelsea and their youth products who will be looking forward to Saturday’s match. Newcastle might be flirting with the relegation zone, but they have already registered victories over both Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United this season.
And in their win over The Red Devils it was their latest youngster who shined brightest. 19 year old Matty Longstaff was installed into the midfield alongside his brother Sean and then capped an impressive top flight debut by firing in the winning goal.
Manager Steve Bruce will be able to name the same team who deserved that win despite missing Isaac Hayden due to suspension and Matt Ritchie due to an ankle injury. This would mean a place on the bench for Andy Carroll.
N’Golo Kante suffered a groin injury in the warm up before France’s match against Iceland. The annoyance was that he was then retained by the national side and sat on the bench for their second match instead of returning to Cobham for the rest and recuperation he clearly needed.
He therefore joins defenders Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen as unavailable, while this match is too early for Emerson Palmieri who could be involved at Ajax during the week.
Mateo Kovacic also suffered a thigh strain whilst on international duty but has been back to full training and could feature. But the main focus on Frank’s team selection and substitutions could well be in the wide positions.
Callum Hudson-Odoi was the match winner with 2 stunning goals for the England U21s and Christian Pulisic featured heavily for the USA, despite his substitution against Canada in their friendly loss. Both will surely get a run out on Saturday, with the former likely to start.
But as far as most Chelsea supporters are concerned, this will be a match that they will be hoping to see whichever line up starts take a reasonably early lead and build further on that. That can then allow Frank to juggle his squad with such a tough away trip in Europe upcoming on Wednesday.
A fifth straight victory will surely see the momentum return.
Written by Jon Ellis, home and away season ticket holder. Follow him on Twitter @ClitheroeBlue