Premiership: Chelsea v. Newcastle United

Update: I wasn’t at the game, and other commitments meant that I couldn’t even listen to any radio commentary, therefore I won’t be posting the usual good/bad type match report. See below for links to external reports.

Chelsea face injury-hit Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge later this evening knowing that they cannot afford to drop points if they are to keep the pressure on Manchester United.

Sunday’s disappointing draw with Arsenal left the Blues eight points adrift of Alex Ferguson’s side with just one game in hand, but Jose Mourinho remained unconcerned.

“I think he [Ferguson] must be happy now because we dropped two points, but if he thinks it’s over, he is in big trouble. After Wednesday’s game against Newcastle we will be five points behind them and five points is nothing in a long season,” he said.

Mourinho’s confidence isn’t misplaced. It’s over 20 years since Newcastle last won at the Bridge, and 553 minutes since they last scored there. In that period Chelsea found the net 17 times.

As for the teams, Chelsea have no new injury worries with Henrique Hilario likely to continue in goal for Carlo Cudicini who’s still struggling to shake off a leg muscle injury. Joe Cole is out for a month with a broken foot, while Petr Cech is hoping to resume full training in January.

In contrast, Newcastle are without several key players including Damien Duff, Scott Parker, Kieron Dyer, Emre, Nolberto Solano, Stephen Carr, Titus Bramble, Olivier Bernard and Craig Moore, as well as goalkeepers Steve Harper and Tim Krul plus long term absentees Michael Owen and Shola Ameobi.

Chelsea will be seeking their fifth successive home win over the Magpies. The last four games ended 3-0, 5-0, 4-0 and 3-0.

Chelsea 1 – 0 Newcastle United

Read Graham Nash’s reaction here.

Match reports: The Guardian; The Independent; Daily Telegraph; The Times; Official Chelsea FC Website.

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