Newcastle at Chelsea FC Injury Report: Morata, Loftus-Cheek, Fernandez, Shelvey

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Chelsea FC began the season on a blistering hot streak, benefiting from the stereotypical bump that often accompanies the installation of a new manager. They have since cooled off, and enter this match well aware of the fact that points simply cannot be dropped here. Not when they have Arsenal and Manchester United hard charging on their heels for the top four.

Newcastle United are in a similar situation at the opposite end of the table. The Magpies are one of three teams that have acquired 18 points on the season, two higher than Southampton, who currently sit in the final relegation slot. By virtue of tie-breakers, Newcastle is 15th, but certainly extremely conscious of how close they are to the drop zone. So they can’t afford to be dropping any points either.

alvaro morata

Let’s take a look at the injury and fitness situation for both sides, in a match that actually has higher stakes than one might think at first glance. Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata has a thigh issue, but could still return to the squad for this one.

His availability could be put further into question given his uncertain future with the club. His agent is pushing through a loan move back to his native country, via Sevilla, as we speak, so it’s possible that he might have already played his final game in a Blues shirt this season.

Another player with an uncertain future is midfielder Cesc Fabregas. His transfer to AS Monaco has already been agreed upon, but Chelsea will not sign off on his departure until they have lined up a replacement. Finally, Ruben Loftus-Cheek is out with a back problem.

For the visitors, Ki Sung-Yueng and Yoshinori Muto are both absent due to international duty at the Asian Cup. However, Jonjo Shelvey (thigh) and Federico Fernandez (hip) could both feature after having now recovered from injury.

rafa-benitez

Newcastle United at Chelsea FC FYIs

Kickoff: Saturday, January 12, 5:30 PM local, Stamford Bridge

Chelsea starting XI Prediction: go to this link

Google Result Probability: Chelsea FC win 78%, Draw 15%, Newcastle win 7%

Manager Press Conference Video, Quotes: coming Friday

Odds via Betfair: Chelsea  1/4, Draw 11/2, Newcastle United 15/1

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Prediction: Chelsea 1, Newcastle

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, regularly appears as a guest pundit on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

He also contributes sociopolitical essays to Chicago NowFollow him on Twitter and Instagram. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to his.

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