Chelsea is ready for one of its last two tune ups before the real test, a run of matches that includes Manchester United, Everton, Leeds United, Atletico Madrid (x2) and Liverpool. The Blues have gotten out to winning ways under Thomas Tuchel, but goals have begun to dry up. Newcastle will likely sit back and defend, presenting the home side with a perfect opportunity to score a couple of goals.
Here is how The Pride of London staff sees the match playing out:
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Olaoluwa Nwobodo: 2-0 Chelsea
Chelsea won the reverse of this fixture fairly comfortably. Newcastle is historically a difficult game for the Blues. Tuchel has done well so far and his side is likely to dominate the ball again against Newcastle, but the important thing is what can they do with the ball? The Blues have not created a lot of clear-cut goal scoring chances since Tuchel arrived, the earlier this changes, the better.
Michael DeVito: 3-1 Chelsea
The wingers have been almost nowhere in scoring goals. The Blues won in the FA Cup thanks solely to Tammy Abraham, as he got the only goal and made a great save. Tuchel has to get the forwards on track. The team is winning, but early in the season, Frank Lampard’s squad won against beatable opponents, as well. Without the wingers scoring, the Blues will be topped by good teams. Maybe Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech and Callum Hudson-Odoi can break out against Newcastle.
Varun Dani: 2-0 Chelsea
The Blues don’t concede much under Tuchel, but they don’t score much either. This game will have another typical performance; frequent passes, scare chances but two important goals. Mason Mount to star as usual.
Scott Brant: 1-0 Chelsea
I don’t care what the reasoning or who to blame—players or manager—but that performance versus Barnsley was embarrassing. Yeah, sure, a win is a win is a win. Until we lose a match like that, then it will matter. The Blues grab three more points, but again in a boring and almost lucky fashion.
Anthony Gatt: 2-0 Chelsea
I expect another “grind it out” result on Monday for the Blues as they look to repeat the scoreline they had over Newcastle in November. Newcastle has found some form over the last few games, but defensively is on of the worst in the league. Chances will be hard to come by, but I think Tuchel’s men can find the breakthrough.
Gabe Henderson: 2-0 Chelsea
This is the same scoreline as the last time these two sides met. The Blues haven’t shown any signs of improvement in the attacking phase after a narrow one-goal win at Barnsley in FA Cup, this won’t be much different. It’ll be much of the same from Tuchel’s side as it controls possession and creates very little before a match winner in the late stages.
Kevin Peacock: 3-0 Chelsea
At some point, the possession that Tuchel’s Chelsea has will get translated into goals. There’s no reason for that not to happen against Steve Bruce’s Newcastle though. If the players need any kind of incentive, the fact that a win will take the team above Liverpool ought to be enough. In this topsy-turvy season, a top four place is well within the Blues’ reach and victory will be a confidence boosting fifth win on the bounce. Abraham to amongst the goals again with two and Mount the other.
Mike Malley: 2-1 Chelsea
Chelsea’s fixture list becomes significantly more difficult after this match against Newcastle, so the Blues need to take all three points. The team has been playing well since Tuchel’s arrival, but still has some room for improvement. The German tactician has yet to decide on a consistent first XI, so there will likely be more than a few changes on Monday night. By the time the final whistle blows, Chelsea could be back in the top four.
Olly Smith: 2-0 Chelsea
Chelsea play boring, slow, negative football 84 percent of the time. The only reason that the Blues will win and dominate is because Callum Wilson is injured for Newcastle and Bruce’s side will really suffer without him as a focal point and an outlet. Tuchel’s side will win and be back in the top four, but is it playing more attractive football? No. It is fun to watch? No. It’s a string of wins, but is any of it as good as during the earlier unbeaten run it was on? No. It’s a results business, sure, let’s just hope that there is some attractive flair being bred into the players by Tuchel because I’d rather snooze than watch the Blues play at this point.
Barrett Rouen: 3-0 Chelsea
The Blues win, Newcastle loses. I hope that Abraham plays because he’s great. In other news, Bayern signed Dayot Upamecano, which is kind of a bummer—I guess.
Nate Hofmann: 1-0 Chelsea
Hard to say what Newcastle will look like. Bruce’s side is dealing with a rash of injuries and a red card for Jeff Hendrick, so it will be a massively depleted squad that wasn’t that talented to begin with. Unfortunately, these are the types of teams in crisis that Chelsea tends to lay an egg against. Like so many matches lately, this will be another slog for the Blues that ends in a much-needed, albeit unconvincing, three points.
Travis Tyler: 1-0 Chelsea
The Blues continue to dominate possession and little else. Timo Werner earns another penalty, ironically is called out by Manchester United fans, and Jorginho converts.
Abhishek Pancholi: 2-0 Chelsea
A rather boring and uneventful game made bearable by three points at the end.
Tan Yi Hao: 2-0 Chelsea
Chelsea has all to play for on Monday night, knowing fully that a win would take the club back into a Champions League spot. As such, expect the Blues to come flying out the blocks with an early goal most likely enough to see out a Wilson-less Newcastle.
What’re your score predictions? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!