Newcastle United vs Chelsea KO: 12:45, St James’ Park, Premier League.
– Newcastle host Chelsea desperate to bounce back following a disappointing loss to arch-rivals Sunderland.
– Newcastle could consider themselves unlucky to have lost the match against Sunderland, as they took double the number of shots and had more possession than their Noth East rivals. Yohan Cabaye may feel particularly aggrieved not to have hit the back of the net, as according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, he took 6 shots against the Black Cats – the second most in the league. You can find Cabaye at 5/1 with 888sport.com to score at any time on Saturday
– Cheick Tiote has recently been handed the armband by manager Alan Pardew, and he vindicated this decision by leading from the front against Sunderland. In addition to completing more tackles than any other Newcastle player on Sunday, he also made 4 interceptions – the most in the Geordie squad.
– Mathieu Debuchy managed to net his first goal for the Magpies on Sunday. Fortunately for him, however, he is predominantly judged on his defensive ability – and so far this season this has been top drawer. Of the 33 challenges he has attempted, Debuchy has won a staggering 82% of them.
– Vurnon Anita has conceded that a lack of playing time might hinder his chances of going to next year’s World Cup, with Alan Pardew favouring the partnership of Cheick Tiote and Yohan Cabaye. Anita, however, might point to his passing statistics as a reason for a recall. The EA SPORTS Player Performance Index highlights that the Dutchman has completed a pass in the opposition half on average every 3.3 minutes this season.
– A last minute winner from striker Fernando Torres handed Jose Mourinho’s men all three points against Manchester City last Sunday. It was a just reward for the frontman, as according to the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, he took 5 shots on Sunday – more than any other Chelsea player. Torres is 23/5 with 888sport.com to score at any time on Saturday.
– Torres may have hit the headlines with his last minute strike, but the performance of Petr Cech should not be overlooked. Chelsea’s shotstopper kept Mourinho’s men in the game, completing 5 saves – the second most in the league. With Thibaut Courtois due to return from a loan stint with Athletico Madrid next season, Mourinho may have a tough selection decision on his hands.
– Ashley Cole will know that to retain the left back slot for England he will have to continue producing world class displays, as he has the pretender Leighton Baines breathing down his neck. The Chelsea man showed no signs of rustiness in his comeback from injury as he completed 8 tackles against Manchester City – the third most in the league.
– The decision to replace talisman Frank Lampard with defensive midfielder John Obi Mikel may have greeted with scepticism by many Chelsea fans on Sunday, but Mikel’s ability to keep things ticking in the centre of the pitch proved to be inspirational. Mikel completed a pass in Manchester City’s half every 1.6 minutes after he was introduced.