Chelsea V Newcastle at Stamford Bridge : Match Preview

07 February 2014 04:01
Chelsea V Newcastle - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Salah set for Newcastle test

Mohamed Salah could make his Chelsea debut against Newcastle on Saturday, but the Premier League contest comes too soon for injured striker Fernando Torres.

Egypt winger Salah, who joined from Basle last month, was an unused substitute for Monday's win at Manchester City and is in contention to feature at Stamford Bridge.

Torres has missed the last three matches with a knee injury and returned to training this week, but is more likely to feature in Tuesday's match at West Brom.

The next three Premier League fixtures - against the Mapgies, West Brom and Everton - saw Chelsea claim just one point in the corresponding fixtures earlier this season.

But since the November 2 loss at St James' Park, Chelsea have lost just once in the Premier League.

The Blues are unbeaten in nine Premier League games since the loss at Stoke and boss Jose Mourinho remains undefeated at Stamford Bridge in the league, a run of 72 games.

Mourinho bemoaned his players' complacency at Newcastle, but believes they have learned from the loss.

He added: "We are improving. In this moment (last season) Chelsea were outside of every possible race and struggling to get a top-four position to play Champions League.

"I see the boys enjoying the situation very much and that's what I want them to do."

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew has dismissed Mourinho's claims that Chelsea are not genuine contenders for this season's title.

Chelsea's 51-year-old Portuguese manager was quick to play down his side's hopes of overhauling Arsenal and City after Monday night's 1-0 victory at the Etihad Stadium, which left them just two points off top spot.

However, Pardew is not so sure about the claim from Mourinho, who won the league twice at Chelsea in his first spell.

He said: "I don't believe that for one minute - and I think deep down, nor does Jose."

Newcastle head for the capital in disarray both on and off the pitch with injuries and suspensions, as well as Yohan Cabaye's exit, hindering Pardew, while behind the scenes, the club is in a state of flux once again.

The departure of controversial director of football Joe Kinnear on Monday was followed by that of reserve team manager Willie Donachie on Thursday night after he resigned as an investigation was launched into allegations that he hit one of his teenage players.

But as owner Mike Ashley contemplated the way forward, with Pardew warning a major summer rebuilding programme is required, the manager was concentrating purely on the business of rekindling a season which is in severe danger of running out of steam.

Newcastle, who sit in eighth place in the table, have won just one of the last seven games they have played in all competitions, and the last of them prompted a concerted outcry on Tyneside.

A 3-0 home defeat by derby rivals Sunderland for the second successive season, just days after Cabaye was sold to Paris St Germain and not replaced, sparked a furious backlash.

Fabricio Coloccini, Cheick Tiote, Yoan Gouffran and Papiss Cisse are all injured and Loic Remy is suspended.

Source: PA