Newcastle vs. Chelsea – Diego Costa Returns

Newcastle was once on a fiery streak but that came to an end when they visited fellow Londoners, West Ham. A draw against the Burnley after the West Ham game shows Newcastle might now be back from that short sprint in wonderland, when they collected all 15 points from five consecutive league matches, four clean sheets and knocking out Manchester City from the league Cup in the process as well. After collecting just a point in their last two games, December does looks like a good time for Jose Mourinho and Chelsea to step in considering Newcastle’s previous month.

Unlike Newcastle who had a spark in form just last month, Chelsea has looked in form all season long. The Blues are undefeated in all league games this season and pundits and bookmakers are already labelling them potential invincibles, although Jose Mourinho has played down that fact by stating that his side will still lose games because they play to win, Chelsea would be hoping not to drop any more points on the road at the moment like they did at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland, as Manchester City are fast approaching in second place.

Loic Remy returns to the familiar ground where he played his football last season on loan from QPR, Remy scored 14 goals in 26 league games for the Magpies, one of those goals was against Chelsea in this same fixture, he should be given a warm reception by the Newcastle faithful’s should he be involved in the game at any time. Diego Costa is back from suspension, his absence was barely missed as Chelsea ran riot on Spurs in the midweek and Gary Cahill is done nursing a concussion and should be cleared to play while Nemanja Matic is the only confirmed absentee as he picked his fifth yellow card of the season in the previous game.

Newcastle also have a pair returning from suspension, Moussa Sissoko and Jack Colback are both back from suspension and Sissoko might wear the armband for the Magpies again as Fabricio Coloccini is still with a calf injury.

Key Players

Newcastle’s Moussa Sissoko is back from suspension and is the engine room for Alan Pardew’s rejuvenated side; his presence was definitely missed in the game against Burnley. Also Pappis Cisse was one of the pioneers in silencing Pardew’s critics, Cisse is Newcastle’s top scorer with 5 goals, he once scored a devastating brace against Chelsea in his first spell for the club.

Diego Costa also returns from suspension and is usually the headliner for Chelsea’s league victories, the Spaniard would be looking to continue from where he stopped as regards to doing just that. Cesc Fabregas has gone without an assist in his last two games and with Costa back it could be the usual ‘Costa goal, Fab assists’ situation.

The Stats

Newcastle is unbeaten in five home games, since their opening day defeat to Man City.

The Magpies are also on a three game unbeaten streak at home with three clean sheets kept as well.

Chelsea can set a new club record of 24 matches unbeaten in all competitions by avoiding defeat against the Toons.

The Blues have kept just one clean sheet in seven away league games.

Head to Head

Newcastle has won their last two home games vs. Chelsea.

Alan Pardew has won once against Jose Mourinho in the Premier League, having lost five times to the Special one.

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