Should the snow in the northeast clear up; Chelsea will visit a very white St. James’ Park on Sunday to take on a resurgent Newcastle United side. This will be the second meeting between the two teams this season with Newcastle eliminating Chelsea from the Carling Cup Third Round at Stamford Bridge. The Blues first team will be looking to avenge the reserves’ defeat, however they will still be without Frank Lampard and John Terry who are still missing with injuries. Yuri Zhirkov is also missing with a calf problem. Michael Essien is serving the final match of his three-match ban for his sending off against Fulham. Alex remains fit to play despite still needing knee surgery and Jose Bosingwa will again be available, most likely replacing Paulo Ferreira at right back and John Mikel Obi should return as well after being rested midweek against MSK Zilina.
Newcastle has had an up and down season under manager Chris Hughton. Hughton took the Toon from the Championship back to the Premier League last season and his campaign in England’s top flight has had some mixed results. While Newcastle have looked at times unbeatable, as destructions of Sunderland and Aston Villa showed, they have also looked clueless, as the loss last week to Bolton shows.
In the wake of the defeat at Bolton, Newcastle will be without their two first choice center backs Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson. Coloccini was shown a straight red for elbowing Johan Elmander, while Williamson was suspended retroactively after the FA charged him with violent conduct after barging into Elmander. Newcastle are also missing controversial midfielder Joey Barton as he finishes the last match of his ban, though he has been playing well for the Toon.
Shola Amoebi is doubtful for the match and Chelsea may be glad to see the back of him after his brace in the Carling Cup defeat, while newly capped England striker Andy Carroll will lead the line and is their leading scorer with 8 goals.