Chelsea return to Premier League action on Saturday evening as they take on Newcastle United at St. James’ Park, and Graham Potter has some key selection decisions to make.
The Blues will be hopeful of returning to winning ways this weekend after suffering back-to-back defeats for the first time under new head coach Potter.
Last weekend Chelsea were defeated 1-0 by Arsenal after putting in an underwhelming display against their London rivals, and in midweek they suffered a 2-0 loss against Manchester City that knocked them out of the Carabao Cup.
Potter’s side have not won a game in the league since they defeated Aston Villa 2-0 on October 16, and they face another tough test against the Magpies.
Ahead of the game, the 47-year-old said: “I think there is more to come from the team we have and the group we have.
“We’ve had some key players out: Kante, Chilwell, James, Fofana. They are key players and a couple of them are replacing key ones who left in the summer.
“I think we can do better than we have and that is where my focus is on.”
He also sent some praise the way of Eddie Howe and Newcastle, saying: “I have huge admiration for him. He’s galvanised the team and the club.
“It’s not one person, it’s a football club. You need a good organisation, structure and to align the resources that you have.
“They’ve got results and got results deservedly. That builds confidence and momentum.”
Predicted Chelsea XI to face Newcastle: Mendy, Azpilicueta, Chalobah, Silva, Cucurella, Kovacic, Jorginho, Mount, Havertz, Sterling, Aubameyang
Edouard Mendy will extend his stint in the side as Kepa Arrizabalaga is still absent from the squad after suffering a plantar fascia (foot) injury that has seen him miss out on a potential spot in the Spain World Cup squad.
In the backline, Thiago Silva will likely return after earning a rest against Manchester City in midweek. Trevoh Chalobah, who missed out on the 26-man squad selected by Gareth Southgate for Qatar, could line-up alongside the Brazilian if Potter opts for a back four.
Either side of these two both the Spaniards, Marc Cucurella and captain Cesar Azpilicueta, may be handed starts. But Lewis Hall will be pushing for a start after his fine performance for the Blues in midweek.
In midfield, Potter provided an update on Jorginho’s fitness on Friday ahead of the game. He said: “Jorgi trained today, so provided there’s no reaction, he should be in the squad.”
The Italian will likely be paired up in the deeper midfield area with Mateo Kovacic, who captained the team in midweek.
Moving forward, the English head coach will be looking to get Mason Mount, Kai Havertz and Raheem Sterling involved before they all jet off to Qatar.
In the clash against Pep Guardiola’s side, all three appeared from the bench, but failed to change the scoreline against Sterling’s former club.
Up top, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will likely return to the squad after playing no involvement in midweek.
With just one Premier League goal to his name since signing for the Blues, he will be hoping to break that duck against Howe’s side.
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