Chelsea host Newcastle United this weekend and will be looking to avenge their loss to Newcastle earlier in the season, that saw their unbeaten run come to an end. Chelsea are enduring a sticky patch to the season and have not won in either of their last two games, notably falling to a 5-3 defeat at the hands of Tottenham Hotspur.
With Sergio Aguero injured, Diego Costa has fought back in the race for the Golden Boot and now sits equal with him on fourteen goals, after scoring the opener against Spurs. The prolific Spaniard has a remarkable 70.73% of shots on target this season (29 out of 41), in comparison to Aguero’s 60.71% (34 out of 56), according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Costa is 5/2 to score first with 888sport.
Eden Hazard has excelled this season scoring eight goals for Chelsea over the course of the first 20 games. He has now completed 92 successful dribbles, averaging out at 4.6 per match, according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, which ranks him as the top dribbler in the division, well ahead of second placed Raheem Sterling on 65. In addition, Hazard has completed the third most passes in opposition half (799), with only Cesc Fabregas and Yaya Toure topping him.
Fabregas himself has made an incredible 915 passes in the opposition half this season. Fabregas has made 1639 passes this season, the most in the league according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, which averages out at a pass every minute. Fabregas is clearly key to the Chelsea side and could well cause problems to the Newcastle defence from the middle of the park.
Newcastle head in to this game under the guidance of interim manager John Carver, after Alan Pardew left for Crystal Palace. Newcastle drew 3-3 last time out against Burnley and will be hoping for a repeat of their performance against Chelsea at home in order to get a result here.
Moussa Sissoko has been linked with a move away from Newcastle but should still be the player to pose the one of the biggest threats to Chelsea. Sissoko is the quickest player in the Premier League according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, having clocked a speed of 35.3km/h (21.93mph). Sissoko is 4/5 to remain at Newcastle this January with 888sport.
Jack Colback has been one of Newcastle’s best performers this year too, and has racked up some impressive statistics to back up his performances. The midfielder has covered the fifth most ground in the division, totaling 221.42km in 19 games. On average Colback covers 11.65km per game.
Daryl Janmaat has made the most tackles in the Newcastle squad, dispossessing the opponent on 54 separate occasions this season, ranking him twelfth in the division, according the the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. The defender has also made the most interceptions in the Newcastle squad with 44.
Chelsea vs Newcastle United Possible Lineups:
Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas; Hazard, Oscar, Willian; Costa
Newcastle: Krul; Santon, Williamson, Coloccini, Dummett; Anita, Colback; Gouffran, Cabella, Sissoko; Perez
Chelsea vs Newcastle United Match Facts:
- The only time Chelsea have lost their first two Premier League fixtures in a calendar year was in 1993.
- They have kept four clean sheets in a row at home and conceded just three goals at Stamford Bridge this season.
- Jose Mourinho has only once lost consecutive league matches as Chelsea manager – against Blackburn and Newcastle in May 2006.
- Newcastle have won just twice in their last eight league games.
- The Magpies have lost four successive matches away from home in all competitions.
- They have scored the highest proportion of second-half goals in the Premier League (76%).
Facts compiled from BBC.
Chelsea vs Newcastle United Prediction
2-1 win for the home side.
Data supplied by the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index. Select and manage your own team of stars with at http://fantasy.premierleague.com/ or with FIFA Ultimate team.