Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink revealed that Diego Costa broke his nose in a nasty clash at Thursday's training session, but he still could be available for the Blues' Saturday Premier League match with Newcastle United.
Unlike when the Spain international brawled with team-mate Oscar last month, Costa's latest training-ground clash was a complete accident, according to Hiddink, per the Press Association (h/t Daily Mail):
Yesterday in training Diego got in a duel, got his nose broken. It was not Oscar. It was one of the youngsters of the academy. He put his nose on the back of the head and he was very unlucky. His nose was broken. He will return today, because today is the day they put on a mask. We are a team with a lot of masks. I think he will be available. I hope. I'm not sure, but I think he might be available.
The Dutch manager is right to hope that Costa can play against the Magpies at Stamford Bridge as he has netted seven times in his last nine appearances, per WhoScored.com.
In the Frenchman's absence, John Terry and Gary Cahill are the only experienced pair left to start in central defence, although Hiddink did not seem overly concerned about the situation, per Chelsea:
Guus says there are many options to cover for Zouma's absence in the forthcoming months. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 12, 2016
He is also not expecting any players to leave the club in the coming weeks with the Chinese Super League teams still able to purchase players until February 26:
GH on Remy to China/Falcao: "I think this squad we have now will stay until the end of the season"— Matt McGeehan (@mattmcgeehan) February 12, 2016
Chelsea have not been beaten since Hiddink came in as interim manager in December, a run of 10 games that has included four wins and six draws.
The 69-year-old has overseen only one home victory, though, and he is concerned over the lack of fear factor now associated with visiting Stamford Bridge, per GetWestLondon.com's Matt Lewis:
The status of being unbeaten sounds good but realistically we would have wished to have more victories, especially at home. And we have an opportunity to do so against Newcastle. They improved their squad with substances, some good signings, and they are more competitive now. When you don’t keep winning at home, people have less fear.
Will Chelsea beat Newcastle on Saturday?
Despite Chelsea's poor form this season—the defending champions currently sit 13th in the Premier League table—they should still be favourites to down 17th-placed Newcastle at home.
Steve McLaren's side do come into the match on the back of a win, though, having edged West Bromwich Albion 1-0 last time out.
Chelsea follow the Newcastle clash with their crucial Champions League last-16 first leg against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday, but Hiddink indicated there would be few changes to the side in preparation for the European clash, per the Blues' Twitter feed:
Guus says he is taking the Newcastle game very seriously but there will be a little change as Matic is suspended on Tuesday. #CFC— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 12, 2016
January signing Alexandre Pato is still not ready to make his Chelsea debut on Saturday but could play a part in Feb. 21's FA Cup tie against Manchester City, per ESPN FC's Ben Dinnery:
Pato won't be ready this weekend. "He is doing well. The aim is to have him back (for the FA Cup match versus City)." #CFC— Ben Dinnery (@BenDinnery) February 12, 2016
Chelsea's recent home record against Newcastle is good, the last three seasons having returned comfortable wins for the Blues at Stamford Bridge.
A continuation of that run would provide the Blues with a big boost ahead of a key week for them in their troubled season.
While a successful league title defence went out of the window some time ago, Chelsea are still in with a chance of winning both the Champions League and the FA Cup.
A decent victory over Newcastle, and Chelsea will go into their PSG and City clashes on a high.