- Venue: St James’ Park
- Date: Saturday, 2nd February
- K/o: 15:00
Newcastle United have no fresh injury concerns ahead of the visit of the European Champions.
Danny Simpson (foot), Ryan Taylor, Haris Vuckic (both knee), Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring) and Dan Gosling (ankle) are all still sidelined, while midfielder Cheick Tiote is still contesting the African Cup of Nations.
All eyes will be on Demba Ba ahead of his return to St James’ Park following his January move to Chelsea.
Rafael Benitez will hope to have goalkeeper Petr Cech available for the first time in the New Year following his recent groin injury, while David Luiz remains out with an ankle injury.
Eden Hazard completes the last of his three-match suspension for kicking a ball boy, while Moses and Mikel remain on African Cup of Nations duty.
What sort of reception will Demba Ba receive as he trots out in front of the St James’ crowd in the blue of Chelsea for the first time since his January move?
He is still the Magpies top goalscorer almost a month after leaving Newcastle, which is indicative really of the form Alan Pardew’s side have been in recently.
Newcastle put the brakes on a dreadful run of no win in 6 with victory over fellow strugglers Aston Villa mid-week, and after bringing in a raft of new French recruits, Pardew will be hopeful of Resisting relegation.
Chelsea come into this one on the back of three consecutive draws and an elimination from the Capital One cup, and Rafael Benitez will be hoping that new signing Ba can come back to haunt his former club to get the Blue’s season back on track.
Unlike Newcastle, Chelsea have been suspiciously quiet in the transfer window, and while some may have been hoping for a £50 million splurge ala January transfer day 2011 which saw Fernando Torres join from Liverpool, Benitez has failed to add to his side since the capture of Demba Ba.
Benitez will be hoping Torres can end his barren run of seven games without a goal here.
Krul, Santon, Coloccini, Yanga-Mbiwa, Debuchy, Cabaye, Marveaux, Anita, Sissoko, Cisse, Gouffran
Cech, Cole, Ivanovic, Terry, Azpilicueta, Mata, Lampard, Ramires, Oscar, Ba, Torres
Source: Team Talk
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