Chelsea vs Newcastle preview, betting tips and prediction: Morata to star in easy Blues victory
Chelsea to win with Alvaro Morata to score first @ 11/5 with Betfair
Draw HT/Chelsea FT @ 11/4 with Betfair
Chelsea to win 2-0 at 5/1 with Betfair
This preview is being written before Newcastle travel to West Brom and Chelsea host Swansea in the midweek round of Premier League fixtures, but it is unlikely to change the outlook before the game at Stamford Bridge. Perhaps the most interesting tangent for the game is the first return to the home of the Blues for Rafa Benitez. Now Newcastle boss, Benitez spent most of the 2012/13 in charge of the current Premier League champions. He was remarkably unpopular thanks to his ties with Liverpool but he did manage to steer an unsteady ship to a Champions League place and the Europa League trophy.
Tactically, there aren’t many better, but Benitez is working with arguably the poorest squad in his top flight career right now. Newcastle’s form has nosedived lately, with four straight defeat seeing them drop from sixth to 14th. Crucially, they have conceded more goals in that time than their previous nine outings.
Antonio Conte’s side have not been amazing all season, but they appear to have found a bit of form. They should have non problems dispatching the Magpies in their current state.
Newcastle were early challengers for the Champions League, reaching the top four by September. But the defensive principles they built their philosophy on have gone out of the window lately. The nine goals conceded in just four games is actually flattering them; they allowed both Bournemouth and Watford a lot of chances in their respective wins at St James’ Park. The saving grace for Benitez is that, against another top side in Manchester United, Newcastle looked more like their old selves in the first half. Dwight Gayle gave them a deserved lead in the first half, but the Red Devils turned the screw and showed their class in the end. We can see a similar performance, hence our HT/FT tip.
The trouble is, Chelsea are looking so good going forward right now, that if Newcastle don’t turn up, it could get embarrassing. Alvaro Morata has eight league goals to his name so far this season and he is looking in fantastic shape, alongside Eden Hazard. The pair linked up excellently in the recent win at West Brom and it was the Spaniard who netted the winner against Manchester United, too. He certainly is worth backing as FGS on Saturday.
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Victor Moses remains sidelined with a hamstring problem, but Davide Zappacosta has really shone in his place and will continue in the line up against Newcastle. David Luiz’s future is still in doubt after the heavy defeat to Roma in the Champions League some weeks ago, but he is fit and could be in contention to start.
Part of the reason for Newcastle’s poor form has been injuries to key players. Captain Jamaal Lascelles’ absence has coincided with their organisational collapse, but it looks like he could be missing for a little while yet. Former Chelsea winger Christian Atsu will also not be available, though Jacob Murphy seems to be settling in a little better now.