Friday, 21 November 2008

Chelsea v Newcastle Premiership Preview: Drogba Starts Ban For Blues – Taylor & Xisco In Contention For Magpies

Chelsea play, Joe Kinnear’s Newcastle United in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Blues go into the clash with Necastle on the back of four straight wins in the Premiership, which sees Chelsea at the top of the Premier League on goal difference over nearest rivals Liverpool. Scolari will be looking for his Chelsea side to take all three points against the Magpies as the West London club chase their first title under Scolari.

Newcastle will hope to take something from their trip to Stamford Bridge, but are yet to win on their travels away from St James’ Park this season. The Magpies are just above the relegation zone on goal difference and need to start picking up results quickly on the road if they are to climb to safety in the league.

Scolari is unable to call on long-term injury Michael Essien (knee) along with Franco Di Santo (hamstring) and Alex (thigh) for the visit of Newcastle. Frank Lampard is also a doubt after missing the England clash with Germany with a rib injury, while Ashley Cole, Petr Cech, Joe Cole and defender’s Ricardo Carvalho and Juliano Belletti could be in contention for Chelsea if they can shake off their respective injuries in time. Striker Didier Drogba starts his three-match ban for the coin-throwing incident against Burnley in the Carling Cup.

The Magpies are still without Mark Viduka ,Alan Smith and Ignacio Gonzalez, who all have achilles problems, while Kinnear will also not have Joey Barton (knee) available for the trip to Chelsea. Late fitness tests will be given to defender Steven Taylor and Xisco, who are both expected to recover from groin strins in time for Saturday’s game.

Chelsea: (from) Cech, Ivanovic, A Cole, Cavarlho, Lampard, J Cole, Mikel, Ballack, Malouda, Sinclair, Bosingwa, Bridge, Ferreira, Deco, Kalou, Cudicini, Terry, Mineiro, Belletti, Anelka, Stoch, Woods

Newcastle United: (from) Given, Coloccini, Enrique, Cacapa, Guthrie, Martins, Owen, Duff, Bassong, Harper, N’Zogbia, Gutierrez, Xisco, Geremi, Beye, Taylor, Kadar, Edgar, Forster, Tozer, Carroll, LuaLua

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