The league leaders, how good does that sound, entertain the ‘Toon Army’ on Saturday in a late kick off, at the home of the Champions of Europe. The visitors plundered all three points, in the corresponding fixture, last year which included a couple of wonder strikes from the impressive Papiss Cisse. The new look Blues will be out for revenge in front of a sell out crowd.
Much has been made of Chelsea’s defensive frailty following our midweek win over, newly promoted, Reading. I am backing RDM to get the balance of attack and defence right. The issues witnessed, against both Wigan and Reading, are symptomatic of the 4-2-3-1 system. There is an onus on the three players, behind Torres, to help out defensively, particularly those playing in the wide roles. When on the back foot, these players should be helping their full-backs, and the formation will look more like a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1. Chelsea are experimenting and I feel the obvious way forward is to play Luiz, alongside Lampard, in the double pivot, both are ball playing, forward playing and can find a killer pass. I still think Mikel looks cumbersome and is caught in possession too often. Whatever RDM decides, I can sense a real roller coaster season ahead, until we get the balance right.
Newcastle have started of where they left of last season. An excellent opening day win, against Tottenham, proves they will be no pushovers. Pardew’s biggest problem is to hold on to Cabaye and Tiote, following excellent season’s last year. They also have the problem of an away European tie, albeit against lesser opposition, 48 hours before Saturday’s showdown. Without doubt Newcastle will be fired up, well organised and dangerous. Stephen Taylor will also add defensive stability alongside, the vastly improved, Collicini, assuming he returns from injury.
No match preview, featuring Chelsea, would be complete without a mention of, the mercurial, Eden Hazard. What an impact! Four assists in two games! This kid has been touted as the ‘right footed’ Messi and who are we to argue? A true blue legend in the making. At this rate super Frankie could be the Premier League’s top scorer, without scoring from open play!
I expect a highly entertaining encounter, on Saturday, with Chelsea not being as gung ho as Wednesday evening. Put your ‘hard earned’ on a hard fought 3-1 home victory, leaving us ‘aving a laff’ all the way to Monaco.