When Thomas Tuchel took over Chelsea last month, we were in the middle of the table and although we were only 5-6 points behind in fourth place, we were staring up at almost half the league – which was a concern not just because we had failed. beat a single team above us in the table up to that point.
Now, after four games and three wins, including a victory over Spurs that was actually ahead of us at the time, Chelsea van Tuchel has the chance to move up to fourth place on Monday evening with a win over Newcastle United. We would do that at the expense of Liverpool, which would put a rather funny twist on Tuchel’s statements a few weeks ago when asked about his fellow countryman and coaching rival Jürgen Klopp.
“It’s hard to be so successful, but we’ll do our best. Jurgen is one of the very best coaches, one of the most fascinating personalities as a coach.
“I’m not sure if I should set my goal for myself because he’s Jurgen and he’s found his place, like he did at Dortmund. People love him, fans love him, his team loves him and he has the results for it.
“We’re starting now, to close the gap and take away some of his points and his reputation, with all due respect and friendship, of course.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Mirror
We must of course win first.
Date Time: Monday, February 15, 2021, 8 p.m. GMT; 3:00 pm EST; 1:30 am IST (next day)
Event location: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Peter Bankes (on the field); Chris Kavanagh (VAR)
Prediction: Cool, airy, dry
On TV: Sky Sports Main Event (UK); NBCSN, Universo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); SuperSport Premier League, Canal + Sport 3 (NGA); elsewhere
Streaming: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live, Universo Now (US); Hotstar (India); DStv now (NGA)
Chelsea team news: Tuchel’s good streak coincided with a relatively easier streak of matches, a streak set to end soon, with players such as Atlético Madrid (twice), Manchester United and Everton over the next month. Getting as many wins and points under our belt as possible is imperative to both our top four expectations and overall good vibes we’ve seen over the past few weeks.
Chelsea haven’t conceded a goal to an opponent since Tuchel took over, but we will be without Thiago Silva again, while Andreas Christensen probably shouldn’t be playing, even if we continue to pretend his concussion was just a bit of a one. “headache”. It’s all just pain, right? Meanwhile, the Kai Havertz mystery continues, but Timo Werner should be back after his leg bruise.
Newcastle United team news: After an absolutely horrendous run of results through December and January, eleven without a win, including nine defeats in all competitions, Newcastle have won two of three, including a 2-0 win over Everton in Goodison. They beat Southampton last weekend, although the Saints are currently in the middle of their own crisis and have now lost six times in a row in the league, including that 9-0 embarrassment against Manchester United.
But wins are wins, and those six points have kept the Magpies well out of the drop zone – 10 points ahead of Fulham at the start of Sunday – even when they’re actually only one spot above the bottom three.
Before Newcastle scored three points in one game against Southampton, Newcastle had only scored six out of ten in all competitions. Callum Wilson has hit double digits for the season during the big summer, but there are only two since the turn of the year – and he won’t top up that number against Chelsea thanks to a hamstring injury he sustained over the weekend. Defenders Javi Manquillo and Fabian Schär also confirmed their injuries in the same match, while Jamaal Lascelles and Federico Fernández were late with fitness tests. Midfielder Jeff Hendrick has been suspended.
The stars of the show against Southampton were Miggy Almirón, who has now scored three goals in his last four games, and Joe Willock, who was hired by Arsenal in January. Steve Bruce is hoping for a repeat of their performance, and of course, the ever-exciting Allan Saint-Maximin. He hasn’t had the best seasons, partly thanks to a two-month injury, but did have two assists against Southampton.
View from the enemy: Coming home to Newcastle
Earlier: Chelsea beat Newcastle at the Bridge the last eight times in a row (seven divisions, one cup), and we also won at St James’ earlier this season.