By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Newcastle United entertain Chelsea in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday (3pm kick-off).
Alan Pardew's side go into the fixture on a high, having brought in five new players to the first team squad during the January transfer window, while also picking up their first away win of the season at Aston Villa on Tuesday night.
Chelsea, however, have gone three games without a victory and twice thrown away two-goal leads to draw games - against Southampton and Reading.
When the sides met earlier in the season, goals from Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres handed the Blues a comfortable 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge.
Saturday's meeting is the 152nd match between the two clubs, and the 136th in the League. United need one more win to bring up a half century of victories against Chelsea, and one more goal for 100 in the League at home against The Blues.
This match has sold out.
August 25, 2012 - Chelsea 2 (Hazard 22pen, Torres 45) Newcastle United 0
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Petr Cech; Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, David Luiz, Ashley Cole; John Obi Mikel, Raul Meireles (Frank Lampard 87); Juan Mata (Ramires 67), Eden Hazard, Ryan Bertrand; Fernando Torres
Newcastle (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson (Ryan Taylor 64), Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon (Sylvain Marveaux 74); Hatem Ben Arfa, Vurnon Anita, Yohan Cabaye (James Perch 77), Jonas Gutierrez; Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse
FULL RECORD v CHELSEA
P151 W49 D39 L63 F188 A225
(Last six games - all competitions)
Newcastle - WLDLLL
Chelsea - DDDWDW
Newcastle (v Aston Villa, Premier League): Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon; James Perch (Shola Ameobi 69), Yohan Cabaye; Yoan Gouffran (Vurnon Anita 74), Moussa Sissoko (Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa 79), Jonas Gutierrez; Papiss Cisse
Not used: Steve Harper, Mike Williamson, Gael Bigirimana, Sammy Ameobi
Chelsea (v Reading, Premier League): Ross Turnbull; Cesar Azpilicueta, Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole; Ramires, Frank Lampard; Oscar, Juan Mata (Yossi Benayoun 77), Ryan Bertrand; Fernando Torres (Demba Ba 90)
Not used: Hilario, Paulo Ferreira, John Terry, Nathan Ake, Marko Marin
Newcastle - Sylvain Marveaux and Gabriel Obertan are both back in training following knocks which kept them out of Tuesday's win over Aston Villa. Cheick Tiote remains away on Africa Cup of Nations duty with Ivory Coast, while Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring), Ryan Taylor (knee) and Haris Vuckic (knee) are all ruled out.
Chelsea - Playmaker Juan Mata has shaken off a foot injury to be fit for Saturday's match, while goalkeeper Petr Cech should return for the Blues. There is a doubt over David Luiz (foot) but Oriel Romeu (knee) is out for the season. Victor Moses and John Obi Mikel are away representing Nigeria in the Africa Cup of Nations, while Eden Hazard completes a three-game ban.
A WORD FROM BOTH CAMPS
Alan Pardew, Newcastle manager: "Just recently, a little bit of pressure has fallen their way because of a few draws, when they have actually looked like they were going to win games. Sometimes you play really well but can't get over the line and get a win, and I think that's where they are at. They will be searching for that against us, and I am hoping that we can stay in the game and they get edgy towards the end and we see a victory out."
Rafa Benitez, Chelsea interim manager: "I am surprised they are not playing at the same level as last season. But I saw them at Villa on Tuesday and you can see they will do well - hopefully after Saturday. As for Demba, I think he is quite confident he can do well if he plays no matter what the Newcastle fans try to do."
Howard Webb (Yorkshire): 2012/13 record - 27 games, 97 yellow cards, 4 red cards
PLAYED FOR BOTH TEAMS
Demba Ba, Celestine Babyaro, Dave Beasant, Geremi, Mick Harford, Scott Parker, Gavin Peacock, Patrick van Aanholt
FANCY A FLUTTER?
To find the best odds for Saturday's match, thanks to our Official Betting Partner Bet Butler, click here.
DID YOU KNOW?
Rafa Benitez has had the worst start of all Roman Abramovic's managers at Chelsea. with the lowest win percentage so far.