Newcastle face the daunting task of travelling to Chelsea on Saturday as they return to Premier League action following their 1-1 draw with Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup.
The Magpies are without a win in their last five matches in all competitions, since securing a 1-0 win away at Huddersfield on December 15th. To make life harder, Rafael Benitez’s side haven’t collected a single point at Stamford Bridge since Papiss Cisse’s memorable brace won them all three points back in May 2012.
Here is Rafael Benitez’s likely lineup to face Chelsea.
1. Goalkeeper & Defenders
Martin Dubravka (GK) – The Slovakian has been impressive since he made his move to Newcastle permanent in from Sparta Prague in May last year. He will need big performance to keep Eden Hazard and co. at bay on Saturday.
DeAndre Yedlin (RWB) – The American will likely take up a wing-back role and Newcastle opt for defensive stability with a back five at Stamford Bridge.
Fabian Schar (CB) – One of three centre halves to be utilised by Benitez, the 27-year-old Swiss has his work cut out against the Chelsea front three.
Jamaal Lascelles (CB) – The Newcastle captain is a rising star on Tyneside, and will be barking orders at his defence throughout the 90 minutes.
Paul Dummett (CB) – Normally operating as a full back, the Newcastle born player will take up a central role as he did in his side’s 2-0 defeat at home to Manchester United .
Matt Ritchie (LWB) – The versatile winger will have to focus on his defensive duties on Saturday, as well as his dead ball expertise, as the visitors will rely heavily on set pieces for their goal scoring threat.
Ayoze Perez (RM) – Can be deployed either as a second striker or out on the wing. For Saturday, Newcastle will hope for a bit of trickery and guile from the Spaniard to carve open opportunities going forward.
Mohamed Diame (CM) – Will add steel to a midfield that will be dragged around the pitch due to the passing abilities of the likes of Jorginho and N’Golo Kante .
Jonjo Shelvey (CM) – Known for his range of passing and, often times, lack of discipline, his ability on the ball will be essential in feeding the forward players and stretching the Chelsea back four.
Christian Atsu (LM) – The former Chelsea player possesses great pace on the wing and will be eager to get one over on his former side this Saturday.
Salomon Rondon (ST) – The Magpies’ top scorer this season in the Premier League on six goals, Rondon will be looking to add to that tally, hoping for good deliveries into the box from the likes of Shelvey and Ritchie.