Chelsea FC at Newcastle Team News: Pulisic, Alonso, Schar, Manquillo

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When Chelsea travels to Newcastle United on Saturday they will be without the services of a few players, including left winger Christian Pulisic. In an interview with ESPN, the American revealed that he is still a few weeks away from full fitness, as he’s set to miss out on the London derby against Arsenal next Tuesday and the FA Cup 4th round trip to Hull City next weekend, in addition to this weekend’s fixture.

“It’s been almost a week, and I’m just kind of taking it day by day. I’m just rehabbing every day. I’m doing my best to be back in the next week, the next couple weeks,” said the 21-year-old who suffered an adductor injury in training last week. “I don’t think it should be too long, so I’m just working every day, doing everything I can to be back on the pitch.”

Elsewhere, Marcos Alonso could be in contention for this one while Ruben Loftus-Cheek remains out indefinitely as he continues rehabbing his Achilles.

Flipping over to Newcastle, they have a few fitness issues/team news items in this clash. Fabian Schar (hamstring problem) has a chance to play while Javi Manquillo (a more severe hamstring injury) likely will not. Elsewhere, Jonjo Shelvey and Jetro Willems could be set to play a bigger role in this one after having been healthy enough to be named to the bench in the mid-week FA Cup third round replay against Rochdale.

Chelsea FC at Newcastle United FYIs

Kickoff: Sat Jan 18, St. James Park, 5:30pm

Chelsea FC Starting XI prediction: go to this link

TV: Sky Sports

Form guide: Chelsea  WDWLW  Newcastle United  DLLLW

Probabilities: Chelsea wins 63%, Draw 21%, Newcastle United wins 16%

Prediction: Chelsea 3, Newcastle United 1

Newcastle has been a thorn in the side of Chelsea, in recent years, and while the Blues have certainly been very up and down lately, one could feel fairly confident the west London club will take care of business here.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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