Chelsea v Newcastle | Sunday 28th January 2018, 13:30 | BT Sport
Chelsea will be without several first-teamers as they host Newcastle in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Sunday, but should have enough to see off their Premier League counterparts.
The Blues’ imperious recent record at home in the FA Cup (W8-D2-L0) should see them through against an expected weakened Magpies side, with their minds firmly set on Wednesday’s fixture against Burnley in the Premier League.
Last chance saloon for Chelsea?
After being knocked out of the League Cup midweek by Arsenal, Antonio Conte will know the FA Cup will take on extra significance with the title out of reach and two dates with Barcelona looming large.
A season without silverware could spell the end for the Italian, so he’ll have to ensure his starting XI is strong enough to see off any challenge from the 6/1 (SkyBet) outsiders.
Newcastle attention elsewhere?
Benitez will have marked the midweek fixture at St James Park as an opportunity to secure three points and will be well aware that Burnley’s direct and physical style will exploit any tired legs from Sunday’s tie.
This could force the Spaniards hand in a return to his former club with players such as Mikel Merino, Matt Ritchie and Dwight Gayle all likely to come in.
Magpies struggling for attacking inspiration
The goals have failed to flow for Newcastle this year, who have only scored 22 in the league – the same as Crystal Palace who failed to score in their first seven games – and their blunt attack will not receive any reinvigoration, with new loan signing Kennedy unavailable against his parent club.
Newcastle have drawn a blank nine times this season already and Chelsea to win ‘to nil’ is 6/4 with BetStars. Chelsea’s depth of quality in defence and Newcastle’s lack of forward power makes this an appealing price.
It’s unlikely to be a high scoring affair with Edin Hazard likely to be rested and Alvaro Morata, Willian and Cesc Fabregas all out. Paddy Power is offering 6/5 for Under 2.5 Goals if you don’t fancy relying on a Chelsea clean sheet.
Ross Barkley will be expected to make his first start for his new club and has a superb record against Newcastle United, scoring five and winning five in only six games against the Toon Army. He’s 85/40 to score anytime with Marathon and 7/1 to score first with Bet365.
There is a risk that the England international may not start having been out for the first half of the season, so it’s worth the wait to see the starting line-ups.
Chelsea v Newcastle – Chelsea to win ‘to nil’ (6/4 Bet Stars)
Chelsea v Newcastle – Under 2.5 Goals (6/5 Paddy Power)