Chelsea vs Newcastle: Five key personal battles

The Blues will look to continue their title charge when they take on Alan Pardew’s men later today, who have been off the boil recently.

Both Chelsea and Newcastle will look to take points from today’s meeting at Stamford Bridge, with the hosts overwhelming favourites to continue their recent strong run of form.

However, the Magpies recorded a memorable 2-0 win against the west Londoners two years ago, and will look to get their season back on track with another positive result this time round.

Here are five key personal battles ahead of the clash.

Nemanja Matic vs Vurnon Anita

The Serbian reintroduced himself to the Chelsea fans with a dominant display against Manchester City last time out, and looks to be the missing piece of the Blues’ jigsaw.

After the sale of Yohan Cabaye and the absence of Cheick Tiote through injury, Vurnon Anita will be asked to step up here, with Moussa Sissoko a likely partner in central midfield.

Anita against Matic will be little vs large, and the former Ajax man will have a job on his hands to contain the powerful Chelsea midfielder.

Eden Hazard vs Mathieu Debuchy

The Belgium international is in excellent form and is an attacking talisman for a Chelsea side looking set to put a real challenge in for the Premier League title.

Debuchy had a torrid time against Sunderland last weekend, but is usually one of the most reliable and competent right-backs in the division.

The French defender will hope to get an opportunity to take advantage of Hazard’s reluctance to track back, but could have a busy afternoon trying to contain the former Lille winger.

Shola Ameobi vs John Terry

In the absence of Loic Remy and Papiss Cisse, Ameobi will more than likely lead the line for the visitors and will face a physical battle with the Chelsea skipper.

The long-serving Newcastle striker may well face times where he is isolated and need to hold the ball up, while Terry will be keen to outmuscle the Nigeria international.

Mohamed Salah vs Davide Santon

There is a real chance that the Egyptian wideman could make his debut here after a January move from FC Basle.

Although he usually operates on the left, with the presence of Hazard it could be that Salah plays on the other flank.

His introduction into English football could see his face Davide Santon, who will look to make the African midfielder head back towards his own goal.

Samuel Eto’o vs Steven Taylor

The Cameroon international is in what looks set to be his only season in English football, and although he has not set the world on fire, Eto’o has scored a few goals at home.

Steven Taylor’s determination and will to win will be crucial in Newcastle shutting out the hosts, and the homegrown hero will need to keep an eye on the experienced African striker.

image: © Jason Bagley

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