Get set for a cracking match as the
surprise package of the 2011-12 season; Newcastle United host misfiring former
champions Chelsea in Saturday's early game. Andre Villa-Boas has already
claimed this is a huge game for the Blues.
Before the season kicked off you’d have
been forgiven for thinking this fixture was a three-point banker for the London
club. However the first season for Andre Villa-Boas in charge of the Blues and Alan
Pardew's first full season in charge of the black and whites has rewritten the
rulebook. Newcastle United are above Chelsea in the league, and have the better
recent form! This means that Saturday's lunchtime kick-off is technically a six
pointer for a Champions League position.
History paints a very interesting picture
Out of the last five games (in all
competitions) there have been three draws and two away wins; one for Newcastle
and one for Chelsea. The last time these teams met (towards the end of last
season) Newcastle recorded a worthy point in a 2-2 draw. The meeting before
that at St James Park (as it was then called back in November 2010) ended with
another scoredraw at 1-1.
If you think this game will end drawn you can pick up soccer odds of 12/5 on the teams sharing the points come the final whistle. Looking at
things another way; Newcastle have just taken a (1-1) point from Old Trafford,
a ground where Chelsea recently lost 3-1…add those scores together (if you feel
like it) and you get 4-2 to Newcastle, worth a LOL bet at 80/1. If you do want to
bet on a draw avoid betting on 0-0 (even at 9/1), we know both sides can score and
concede goals this season. Chelsea have scored nine in their six games away
from home and Newcastle have scored 10 on home soil (those numbers average out
to a 2-1 home victory, available at 12/1) .
A rose by any other name…
It could be a match to match the occasion,
as this is the first game played at the Stadium
Formerly Known as St James’ Park. Andre Villas-Boas' Chelsea have won just
one of their last four games in all competitions and face a Toon side who are
yet to be beaten at home this season.
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew claimed that
Chelsea will be intimidated by the home crowd on Saturday, "We have one of
the big clubs coming to us and they will fear coming to us in front of 52,000
Geordies." The sportsbooks must think it’s possible as they have a Newcastle
win at 14/5.
Newcastle were until recently one of the undefeated sides (home and
away) in the Premiership, but in their last five games (in all competitions)
you will see two wins, two losses and a draw, totalling just seven points.
However it is worth mentioning that one loss was in the Carling Cup and the
other was an away defeat to table topping Manchester City. Chelsea have
recently been beaten by QPR (and Arsenal and Liverpool) in the League and were
dumped out of the Carling Cup by Liverpool on Wednesday night. That Carling Cup
exit was a doubly terrible defeat as it marks the second time Liverpool had
beaten Chelsea inside 10 days, the other defeat being a 2-1 reverse in the
league. Despite some shaky results Chelsea's last Premier League game was a
resounding 3-0 demolition of Wolverhampton Wanderers that made it look as if normal
service had been resumed.
Newcastle will need to remain steady at the back if
they want to make Chelsea sweat. Newcastle United midfielder Yohan Cabaye is
confident that the Magpies can get a result against Chelsea on Saturday,
"We learned from the City game, we learned not to give Man United too much
respect. Against Chelsea, we have to play like we did at Old Trafford.” If you
fancy the Frenchman to back up his talk and be the first goalscorer he’s worth
a punt at 14/1. However Newcastle are without a Premier League win against
Chelsea in their last eight attempts, going all the way back to May 2006.That’s
probably why a Chelsea win is available at Evens.
For balance, and because of
Chelsea’s recent form, I also feel that if Newcastle open the scoring and go in
leading at half-time they could well end the game taking all three points;
Newcastle winning both halves is worth some soccer betting action at 11/2. The shortest half-time
full-time odds with the sportsbooks are on Chelsea winning both halves at 11/5
and I think if they want to take all three points from their trip up north,
they will have to get on the scoresheet early (as they did against Wolves) so
this bet is also worth a couple of pounds. All in all I feel that Newcastle
will put up a spirited fight against Chelsea, but won't (quite) take all three
points. I'm backing a draw in this game.
Prediction: A 1-1 draw, available