Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea aim to narrow the gap to Newcastle by securing a victory on Saturday, but they face the challenge of a hostile atmosphere in the north-east.
Newcastle, despite their earlier Champions League success, has grappled with inconsistency this season, with their last consecutive league wins in September.
Eddie Howe’s squad, navigating a tough European group, faced disruptions leading to a less-than-smooth start to the campaign. Despite a 10-game unbeaten domestic run prior to the loss against Bournemouth, injuries have taken a toll, with up to 12 players potentially unavailable.
The upcoming clash, marred by both teams’ injury concerns, remains a compelling encounter with significant implications for the season, particularly regarding European aspirations for 2024/25.
Sky Sports pundits Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher have given the edge to Newcastle to win in front of their fans at St James’ Park. The former Manchester United and England said on The Overlap, “2-0 Newcastle. Chelsea aren’t scoring up there.”
Eddie Howe’s men have only conceded three goals at home all season having played formidable opposition such as Aston Villa, Arsenal and Liverpool.
They will need their home form and resiliency to beat an in-form Chelsea team who have put four goals past Spurs and Manchester City each in their previous couple of games.