Who: Newcastle United FC vs Chelsea FC
What: English Premier League Week 10
Where: St. James’ Park, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England
When: Saturday, November 2, 2013
Weather: The Weather Channel forecast Newcastle upon Tyne
Time: 12:45 p.m. GMT/8:45 a.m. EDT/5:45 a.m. PDT
TV: NBC Sports Network, NBC Sports Live Extra, DirecTV (US)
Worldwide Livestreams and TV Channels: LiveSportsTV.com
Radio: SiriusXM - Sirius Channel 94 (Internet 94), TalkSport Radio, BBC Radio 5
Referee: Lee Mason
3-Way Odds: Newcastle United +450, Chelsea -165, Draw +280
Total: Over 2½ -125, Under 2½ -105
Decimal Odds: Newcastle United 5.50, Chelsea 1.65, Draw 3.80
Decimal Total: Over 2½ 1.80, Under 2½ 1.95
Fractional Odds: Newcastle United 9/2, Chelsea 20/31, Draw 14/5
Fractional Total: Over 2½ 4/5, Under 2½ 20/21
Alternate Odds: Chelsea -1 +115, Newcastle United +1 -130
Odds To Win Premier League: Chelsea 2/1, Newcastle United 2000/1
Source: Bovada (Kahnawake, Canada)
It was only a matter of time until Chelsea’s offense started taking a little pressure off the defense, and after a perfect, extremely prolific October, it seems that time has finally come for the Blues...maybe.
Playing in competitions in the English Premier League, the UEFA Champions League and the Capital One Cup in the month, Chelsea rattled off a pristine 6-0-0 record, outscoring opponents 18-3 in those competitions with goalkeepers Petr Cech (2) and Mark Schwarzer (1) combining for three clean sheets in the month.
For perspective, Luis Suarez had as many goals for Liverpool with his hat-trick over the weekend against West Bromwich Albion as all Chelsea opponents had over the entire month against the Blues. And that’s a 31-day month, Shedheads—a month where summer makes it painfully clear to those in the Northern Hemisphere that she’s left us, again, for another man.
But enough talk of the past, we have a game to preview here, and if you keep gabbing on and on and on about October, we may all be here until December so get on with it for the love of chocolate before I am compelled to give you an early holiday wedgie free from the good people here at Bleacher Report.
OK. Gotcha. I beg of you. Please, no wedgies. Ain't nobody got time for that. On with the show. I apologize. I just haven’t been myself since Mercury went into retrograde last week. Seriously.
Newcastle United (3-2-4, 11 points) plays host to second-placed Chelsea (6-2-1, 20 points) in the English Premier League's opener this weekend and will start the day off in 11th place, in a points-tie with Swansea City and Hull City. In this fixture last season at St. James’ Park, manager Alan Pardew and the Toon Army came away victorious with a 3-2 win and Newcastle has won two of the last three meetings with the Blues.
The Magpies have been pretty average at home so far (1-2-1; five goals for, five goals against), averaging just one point a game on the Geordie Shore and playing against a team finally starting to jell offensively like the Europa League champions, they will really have their work cut out for them against a suddenly energized and deep crew from West London.
Newcastle has its fair share of talented players including QPR summer transfer and leading goal scorer Loic Remy (five EPL goals), Hatem Ben Arfa (two goals), Yohan Cabaye (two goals) Moussa Sissoko, Yoan Gouffran, Cheick Tiote and Papiss Cisse—whom Pardew felt the need to take out of his starting XI against Liverpool after being immersed in the semi-depths of a 13-game league scoreless streak.
Against Chelsea, Toon netminder Tim Krul will really be put to the test, especially if the recent version of striker Fernando Torres shows up and performs as he did in Blues wins against Manchester City in Premier League play on Sunday. Whatever has gotten into the 29-year-old Spaniard is a welcome change for Blues fans.
Chelsea did have a wonderful October and is now in the thick of the EPL race, but a look at the recent league form guide reveals the Blues (13 points) are actually only the fourth-best team in England’s top flight over the last six games behind first-place Arsenal (16 points), Everton (15) and Sunderland (14).
One thing Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho seems to do is go with a fairly set starting XI, and after Tuesday’s win at Arsenal with pretty much a second-string unit, expect The Special One to go back to Cech; Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Ashley Cole; Ramires, Frank Lampard; Eden Hazard, Oscar, Andre Schurrle and the aforementioned Torres on Saturday at Newcastle.
Aside El Nino’s sudden success, Schurrle, Ramires, Cahill, Ivanovic and captain Terry all have also been playing brilliantly and, as has been for some time, the Blues defense has been out of this world and getting in front of everything opponents have been shooting at them.
Here, it’s a matter of momentum, expectations, depth and revenge to a degree, and with Chelsea clicking on so many physical and psychological fronts and having newbies like Willian and Samuel Eto’o—who will eventually get in their own grooves—capable of doing damage off the bench possibly as well as former Magpie Demba Ba, backing the Blues at -165 seems very, very wise.
And with the visitors capable of going over the posted 2½ total all by themselves, recommend taking a small shot on the Over also as Chelsea games averaged over three goals in October with the only one of the six falling under the posted total coming in Tuesday’s 2-0 win over the Gunners at the Emirates Stadium.
Trend-wise, the Blues are 5-3-2 over the last 10 in this series, outscoring Newcastle, 18-9 over that span with five clean sheets.
Next up on Chelsea’s schedule is a date with FC Schalke 04 in UEFA Champions League group stage play on Wednesday (Nov. 6) at Stamford Bridge (Fox Soccer Plus, 2:45 p.m. ET/11:45 a.m. PT) followed by a Premier League meeting with West Bromwich Albion a week from Saturday (Nov. 9). also in West London (NBC Sports Live Extra).
Prediction: Chelsea 3 Newcastle United 1
Bets: Chelsea -155, Chelsea -1 -115, Over 2½ -125
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