Maurizio Sarri will be hoping to silence his critics as the Blues play Newcastle and reunite with their former manager Rafa Benitez this weekend.
Chelsea – who come into the game following a 1-0 loss to Spurs – have looked shaky in recent weeks with a lack of a frontman causing significant problems for ‘Sarriball’.
With Alvaro Morata’s exit looming large, and Giroud often featuring as a substitute, it is no wonder Chelsea have scored just three goals in four matches.
To put that into perspective the league’s current whipping boys, 20th-placed Huddersfield have scored four goals in that time – arguably against harder opposition.
The Blues claimed victory in the last meeting between the two sides with a 2-1 win in August courtesy of a DeAndre Yedlin own goal. A game in which the West Londoners seemed unable to break down Newcastle’s defence throughout the match.
Whilst Newcastle’s lowly 15th place position makes the Magpies the clear underdogs in this fixture, Benitez’s men have notoriously been a tough team to break down. A feat that former boss Antonio Conte knows too well after 3-0 defeat back in August 2018.
One only has to look at their 3-2 loss to Manchester United to see how well drilled Benitez’s side can be, despite the scoreline their first-half performance was near perfect. Chelsea fans will be hoping Rafa doesn’t replicate that on Saturday.
A back injury to Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek rules him out of contention until February.
History favours the West Londoners with the Blues winning six of the last eight meetings between the pair. But as seen throughout the season, Newcastle should not be underestimated.