After securing their biggest English Premier League win of the season, Chelsea will look to keep the momentum going against a Newcastle squad coming off one of its worst defeats.
The Blues defeated Manchester City 1-0 on Monday, becoming the first English team to win a road match at the Etihad Stadium this year. This victory tied them with City for second place in the league table, just two points behind Arsenal in first.
With the Gunners having a tough road match against Liverpool, Chelsea now have a chance to reach the summit of the table with a victory.
Meanwhile, a rough stretch has Newcastle United in eighth place in the standings. They only have earned one win and one draw in their last six EPL matches, and a 3-0 loss to Sunderland on Feb. 1 was likely the low point.
Turning things around at Stamford Bridge will be a tall task, but Newcastle will do whatever it takes to get back in the win column against Chelsea.
Who will win?
When: Saturday, Feb. 8
Where: Stamford Bridge, London, England
Time (U.S.): 10 a.m. ET
Time (U.K.): 3 p.m. GMT
Watch (U.S.): USA Network
Watch (U.K.): Not Available
Live Stream: NBC Live Extra
Odds (via SkyBet): Chelsea (1-4), Newcastle (11-1), Draw (9-2)
Top Storyline: Are Chelsea Prepared Against a Letdown Performance?
Chelsea were impressive in their win against Manchester City and the difference was the preparation.
Midfielder Nemanja Matic discussed the work that manager Jose Mourinho did the week prior, per the club's official site:
We prepared very well, the manager showed us some videos of Man City to show their quality and where we could capitalise on their mistakes. He prepared us very well as you saw on the pitch. Every player knew what he had to do at every moment in order to get the result.
It was very important for us, we now have more confidence because it's not easy to play against Manchester City. They are a strong team and they play very quickly.
The question remains about whether Mourinho will go into as much preparation every week. If not, the squad could end up struggling in the upcoming matches.
Confidence is a good thing, but it is important to respect every opponent in the EPL. Newcastle especially have some impressive victories and defeated Chelsea earlier in the year. If the home side are not prepared for this battle, they will fall apart early.
Mourinho has to ensure a complete effort by providing the same preparation every time out.
Prediction: Chelsea 2, Newcastle 0
As OptaJoe notes, Chelsea's defense has been simply spectacular over the past few weeks:
1 - Chelsea have conceded just one goal in the Premier League in 2014, fewer than any other team. Barricade.— OptaChelsea (@OptaChels) February 6, 2014
The squad has only allowed two goals in the past eight EPL matches, and each of those ended up being wins anyway. The back line has simply not made mistakes to give opponents opportunities, and Petr Cech has taken care of the rest with solid saves.
Meanwhile, the creativity up front has been just as impressive. Ian Darke of BT Sport analyses what makes Chelsea so difficult to defend against:
most creative teams get midfield runners ahead of strikers to add to threat. Eg Chelsea strikers don't get many. Midfield men do.— Ian Darke (@IanDarke) February 6, 2014
Newcastle have the talent to stay with them for some of the match, but eventually Samuel Eto'o, Eden Hazard, Oscar or someone else will break through with a goal.
Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.