Premier League Preview: Chelsea v. Newcastle

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  • Ruben Loftus-Cheek (back) is unavailable but Alvaro Morata (hamstring) is expected to be fit to face Newcastle.
  • Chelsea have only lost one of its 23 Premier League home matches against Newcastle
  • Salomon Rondon has scored Newcastle’s last three away goals in the Premier League.

The last in a full day of matches comes Saturday afternoon as Chelsea hosts former coach Rafa Benitez and Newcastle (12:30 p.m. ET live on NBC or live online at NBCSports.com).

The Blues are coming off a surprise scoreless draw with Southampton while Newcastle are winless in their last four. The winds are swirling at Chelsea as Cesc Fabregas departed and Callum Hudson-Odoi is a big transfer target of Bayern Munich, though Chelsea has so far refused to accept any bids for the talented 18-year-old.

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Alvaro Morata could be fit to play, but one wonders if Maurizio Sarri will go with Eden Hazard in the false nine role again. At the same time, Newcastle has plenty of injuries to deal with, and three players just coming back off the sidelines. It will be a big loss to replace Jonjo Shelvey and Yoshinori Muto.


What they’re saying

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri on his team’s scoring problems: “We need to score. We need to solve this problem. In the last match we played very well, with continuity and with a very good offensive and defensive phase, and with a great performance from a physical point of view – the best of the season – but we didn’t score. We have to work and try to solve it as soon as possible.”

Newcastle manager Rafa Benitez on focusing his team against Chelsea: ”We have to realize where we are and we have to realize the only way forward is to stay united. We can’t waste too much energy. The idea last year when we were back in the Premier League was to be united. You have to realize that this is a big city and massive club.”


Prediction

Chelsea may be struggling to score goals, but Newcastle are in a relegation fight. Even without much of a striker, Chelsea should still have enough talent and firepower up top to win. Plus, with so many players out injured for Newcastle, the challenge grows even more for the visitors. Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle

Liverpool breezes past Newcastle United

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  • Lovren scores in 1st half
  • Salah wins, converts penalty
  • Shaqiri, Fabinho add insurance

Liverpool clobbered Newcastle United 4-0 on Boxing Day at Anfield, moving six points clear of second place Tottenham Hotspur.

Dejan Lovren, Mohamed Salah, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Fabinho scored for the Reds, who are now unbeaten in 20-straight Premier League matches. They have a seven-point advantage on third place Man City.

Newcastle is five points clear of the drop zone, but began a daunting run of fixtures at Anfield.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Matt Ritchie supplied a terrific cross over the head of Virgil Van Dijk in the 8th minute, but Joselu failed to turn it on goal and Liverpool were off the hook.

The Reds quickly answered with a chance of its own, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane teaming up to find Xherdan Shaqiri. The Swiss midfielder missed the mark.

Lovren put Liverpool ahead when Jamaal Lascelles‘ poor clearance of an Andy Robertson cross was lashed into the top of the goal from 16 yards.

The Reds were off-and-running, with Anfield behind them, and it was all Martin Dubravka could do to stop Mane from making it 2-0 when the keeper sprawled in front of the Senegalese man’s effort.

Ritchie took a ball off of Robertson following a partially-cleared cross, stinging a shot wide of the far corner from 20_plus yards.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Paul Dummett got a hold of Salah and the Egyptian wizard hit the deck to ask for a penalty. He got it, and converted, for 2-0 in the 48th.

Shaqiri then put it to bed — not like Newcastle looked in danger of scoring more than once in the half — when Trent Alexander-Arnold‘s smart pass along the six capped off a long spell of threats from the hosts.

Fabinho got in front of Mohamed Diame to finish the scoring.

Fulham nabs first clean sheet of season in draw at Newcastle

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  • Fulham’s 1st clean sheet of season
  • NUFC without shot on target
  • Three penalty calls unheard by Atkinson

Newcastle United couldn’t find a way past creaky Fulham, something no team has failed to do this season, as the Magpies drew the Cottagers 0-0 at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

Referee Martin Atkinson was the star of the show, turning down three penalty kick shouts: Two for handballs and another when Salomon Rondon was brought down in the box.

The Magpies now have 17 points and sit in 15th place, five points clear of the drop zone. Fulham earned its 10th point and remains in 20th.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Newcastle provided some chances for Fulham, but the most dangerous moment came courtesy the Magpies attack.

Jamaal Lascelles headed a free kick back across goal, with Fulham’s Dennis Odoi clearing the danger of a bounding ball through the six.

There was a scary incident in the 32nd minute, as Sergio Rico‘s two-handed clearing attempt made solid connection with Alfie Mawson‘s header. Both Rico and Newcastle’s Salomon Rondon called for medical attention as Mawson appeared to have been knocked cold for a moment.

There were shouts for a penalty when unheeded when Matt Ritchie saw his shot blocked into a Fulham defender’s arm.

The danger was limited in the second half, with Paul Dummett popping a header over the goal in the 75th. And Kenedy‘s shouts for a penalty when pulled by Joe Bryan went unrealized by Martin Atkinson.

Bryan hit a left-footed shot wide of the goal in the 79th, and Aleksandar Mitrovic twice-threatened Newcastle in the final five minutes. The Cottagers were shouting for a penalty when the second effort was blocked by a mess of Newcastle defenders.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Watch Live: Newcastle vs. Wolves

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Rafa Benitez continues his charge to lead Newcastle away from the relegation zone as the Magpies host Wolverhampton at St. James Park on Sunday. (Watch live at 11:00 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)

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Matt Ritchie and Paul Dummett both return to the Newcastle squad. The former was suspended last time out for yellow card accumulation and returns to the starting lineup, while the latter has missed the last three matches with an injury he picked up on international duty, proving fit enough for the bench.

For Wolves, Ruben Neves also returns from his one-match suspension for yellow card accumulation, while Leander Dendoncker is back on the bench after making his Premier League debut midweek in a nine-minute cameo.

Newcastle has never lost to Wolves in Premier League play, with two wins and four draws. The Magpies, however, have lost four of their first six home matches to start the season, tied for the worst start to a home campaign in their top flight history.

LINEUPS

Newcastle: Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Fernandez, Clark, Ritchie, Diame, Ki, Atsu, Perez, Rondon.
Bench: Woodman, Dummett, Muto, Kenedy, Manquillo, Joselu, Longstaff.

Wolverhampton Wanderers: Patricio, Bennett, Coady, Boly, Doherty, Neves, Saiss, Vinagre, Traore, Costa, Jota.
Bench: Ruddy, Cavaleiro, Raul, Gibbs-White, Moutinho, Denconcker, Bonatini.

Watch Live: Burnley v. Newcastle United

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Burnley host Newcastle United on Monday at Turf Moor (Watch live, 3 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as the two teams meet in very different form.

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The hosts have failed to win any of their last five Premier League games, while Newcastle have won two on the trot as Rafael Benitez has turned things around in recent weeks.

Expect this to be a tough, physical battle as the two most northerly PL clubs clash on a chilly November evening.

In team news Burnley have Steven Defour and Robbie Brady in their starting lineup, while Newcastle make one change as Ciaran Clark comes in for Paul Dummett.


LINEUPS