Newcastle United are the Premier League’s form team after a magnificent run
Chelsea lost to Arsenal last weekend and are in transition under Graham Potter
Newcastle have the chance to make a statement of intent against the Blues
The odds for Newcastle United vs Chelsea are provided by the Caesars sportsbook, which offers a $1500 risk-free bet to new customers.
The Magpies are playing well and are particularly strong at home, so the Blues could struggle at St James’ Park.
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After 14 rounds of fixtures last season, Newcastle United were still waiting for their first win. A 1-1 draw at home to Norwich City, the team that would ultimately finish bottom of the Premier League table, left the Magpies in 20th place. Steve Bruce was out and Eddie Howe was in, but there was no immediate upturn in results.
Fast forward 12 months and St James’ Park is unrecognizable. Newcastle are flying high. They head into the weekend as the Premier League’s most in-form team, having collected 16 points from the last 18 available. They have risen as high as third place in the table and the best online sportsbooks are beginning to take them seriously as contenders for the top four. Relegation concerns have been replaced by dreams about possible Champions League soccer.
Previously the most passive team in the division under Bruce, Newcastle are now known for their intensity, energy, and dynamism. Howe’s Bournemouth were never the most secure at the back, but his current side has the joint-best defensive record in the Premier League.
The Englishman has done brilliantly during his first 12 months in charge. Having the wealth of a sovereign state behind him has certainly helped, with Newcastle having spent upwards of £200m since Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund completed its controversial takeover of the club in October 2021.
Even so, Newcastle are ahead of schedule. They might not be able to secure a top-four finish, with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, and Liverpool chasing them down. But with the break for World Cup 2022 just around the corner, Newcastle are in a promising position.
A run of four games without a win has sent Chelsea sliding down the standings. They occupy the seventh spot ahead of a trip to St James’ Park, which will be a difficult assignment given that Newcastle have only lost one Premier League game in front of their own supporters since the start of 2022.
It is fair to say the honeymoon period is over for Graham Potter. The former Brighton & Hove Albion head coach made a bright start to his tenure at Stamford Bridge, avoiding defeat in his first nine matches at the helm.
But in recent outings, Chelsea have not been at all convincing. They were thrashed 4-1 by Brighton last month and were inferior in every department when they lost 1-0 to Arsenal in their previous league game.
Any manager needs time to get his ideas across, but that is particularly true of Potter. This was an appointment for the long term, not a quick fix. It took a while for Brighton to start climbing up the table under Potter and it might not be until next season that Chelsea are ready to challenge for the biggest prizes.
The intriguing question is whether the 47-year-old gets that long at a club that, more than any other in England’s top tier, is renowned for its revolving managerial door. That identity was forged during Roman Abramovich’s ownership, but Todd Boehly was equally ruthless in dispatching Thomas Tuchel. Potter will know that he must balance long-term promise with short-term results.
It is instructive that Newcastle are the favorites to beat Chelsea this weekend. That suggests the sportsbooks do not consider the Magpies to be a flash in the pan or a team that is punching massively above its weight right now.
Only Arsenal and Manchester City are above Howe’s team in the standings, and the respective odds reflect that Newcastle fully deserves to be where they are.
With 16 goals conceded, Chelsea’s defensive record is nothing to write home about but nor is it overly bad. Much more worrying is their lack of productivity in the attack. The Blues have found the back of the net just 17 times to date, which is only the 12th-best record in the league.
Potter would not be so concerned if his side were at least creating high-quality opportunities, but the data does not bear that out. Alarmingly, Chelsea rank as low as 14th for expected goals, below the likes of Brentford, Leeds United, Fulham, and Leicester City. That does not bode well for a game against the joint-tightest backline in the division.
A positive run of results has to come to an end at some point, even for the very best teams on the planet. But on this occasion, it is worth following the form book. Newcastle have the bit between their teeth, while Chelsea are a team in transition that is still discovering its new identity under Potter. Back the hosts to come out on top at St James’ Park on Saturday.
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Teams: Newcastle United vs Chelsea
Location: St James’ Park, Newcastle, England
Date and Time: Saturday, 12 November 2022, 12.30 PM EDT
How to Watch: NBC, Peacock Premium
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Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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