Newcastle United travel to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in Saturday’s late kick-off, with Steve McClaren hoping that his inconsistent side can ease their away day blues by snatching a result.
Although they remain unbeaten at St James’ Park in 2016, Newcastle’s wretched away form is making it increasingly difficult for them to pull away from the bottom three. The Magpies have lost their last five successive games on the road, and their last outing, a 3-0 hammering against Everton, evoked painful memories of November’s shameful 5-1 drubbing at Selhurst Park.
With games fast running out, Newcastle must urgently devise a system that will allow them to pick up points on the road, and that has to start against the Champions in West London this weekend ahead of an 18-day break from league action.
Arriving as axed boss Jose Mourinho’s replacement, Guus Hiddink has called upon his vast experience to inject fresh confidence into a dejected Chelsea squad that had looked completely unrecognisable to the all-conquering juggernaut that romped to the Premier League title under the special one last season.
The Blues are undefeated since the Dutchman arrived for his second spell in mid-December and, perhaps most importantly, their hot-headed talisman Diego Costa has belatedly returned to the devastating form that saw him terrorise back fours up and down the country during the 2014/15 campaign.
To their credit, Newcastle bounced back from the Goodison Park debacle by turning on the style in a resounding home victory last weekend, albeit against an astonishingly poor West Brom side.
Steve McClaren has shown a proclivity for sticking with a winning side so far this season, however, with several players returning from injury and a completely different beast to tackle this Saturday, the 54-year-old is faced with a number of selection dilemmas.
With that being said, here’s how we think Newcastle will line up at The Bridge.
The formation is 4-2-3-1