Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea travels to St. James’ Park on Sunday to go toe-to-toe with Newcastle United. After having shown glimpses of Sarri’ball’ against Arsenal, the Blues will be looking to make it three out of three in the league.
However, this part of the country isn’t a happy hunting ground for them as they have lost four of their last five games at St. James’ Park, including a 3-0 thrashing in the final game of last season, which proved to be Antonio Conte’s final Premier League game in-charge as Chelsea boss. In total, the Blues have lost 11 away Premier League games against Newcastle United.
Should he emerge victorious, Sarri will become the fifth Chelsea manager to win all of the opening three league games. The Magpies endured a frustrating outing against Cardiff City last time out and are with just a point from their first couple of matches.
Speaking in his press conference, Sarri stated that Eden Hazard is ready to start a game, but only for 50-60 minutes. Meanwhile, Cesc Fabregas is still suffering from a knee injury.
Kepa Arrizabalaga will be the man between the sticks for Chelsea. Fans need to be patient as he hasn’t looked convincing always. However, there are no doubts over the shot-stopper’s undisputed potential.
The back four will remain the same. Although there is a lot of work to be done by them, Sarri is expected to stick with Azpilicueta, David Luiz, Antonio Rudiger and the attack-minded Marcos Alonso.
Jorginho, who is proving to be the heartbeat of the side, will feature in the deep midfield role. He will sit back, allow midfielders to run wider, shield the defence and keep the play going.
Ross Barkley has shown no reasons why he should not be in the starting XI and thus, he will again start as the left midfielder. Summer signing Mateo Kovacic is expected to make another substitute appearance.
N’Golo Kante’s new role sees him play forward, facilitate Sarri’s high-press demands and create chances for his teammates.
Pedro has started the season with two goals in two games and should be given the nod over Willian at right wing. The magical, world-class Eden Hazard is in line to make his first start of the season.
Alvaro Morata got off the mark for the season last week with a morale-boosting goal. He will play as the number 9 for Chelsea again.
Probable XI (4-3-3)
Azpilicueta – Luiz – Rudiger – Alonso
Barkley – Jorginho – Kante
Pedro – Hazard – Morata