Details: Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET, Stamford Bridge, London
TV: FOX Soccer Channel
Chelsea top the English Premier League table for two reasons. One, they've played two matches while everyone else has played one, and two, because Eden Hazard, their new, all-conquering, silky-skilled Belgian savior, is everything anyone ever thought he might be.
The Blues have compiled six points from those two matches, and, as Chelsea supporters are such reasonable, level-headed folks, they will insist this is because their team represents all that is good and right about football today.
Maybe so, but the rest of us will point to Fernando Torres' offside goal against Reading on Wednesday and caution that it's still too early to declare Chelsea back.
In fairness, though, we'll also point to this weekend's home match against Newcastle United as a litmus test.
Beating Wigan and Reading, impressed as we all are, was fine and dandy. Beating Newcastle would be something else entirely. Under Alan Pardew, the Magpies have reinvented themselves as the North East's answer to Arsene Wenger and his late-'90s Francophile revolution.
That seems appropriate enough, really. William the Conquerer was Norman or French or whatever, and—dang, I'm really geeking out over here.
Point is, Newcastle's roster has enough francophone talent—Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa to name a few—for the local stores to justify carrying ascots and Daft Punk records.
And not only that, but they're pretty good. More than being merely French-y, Newcastle's revolution means they're now regular contenders for the top four.
Simply put, this is Chelsea's biggest test of the new season so far. Newcastle, who already beat Tottenham, will be pumped and ready to go.
Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Prediction: Chelsea win. Yes, I'm trying to jinx them.