Chelsea return to action in Saturday’s early kick-off in the Premier League with a trip to Newcastle United – a fixture which has tripped them up frequently in previous seasons.
Indeed, the Blues have won just once in their last seven trips to St. James’s Park – when a De-Andre Yedlin own goal with three minutes to go earned a 2-1 win for Maurizio Sarri’s side in August 2018 – and have lost five of those matches.
Many of the recent visits have been particularly forgettable for Chelsea; the 3-0 loss in May 2018 was Antonio Conte’s final Premier League match in charge of the club, while Isaac Hayden netted a dramatic injury-time winner in last season’s encounter after a drab affair.
Frank Lampard’s side defeat in the North East last season summed up precisely what this Newcastle side are all about: resolute, resilient, attritional and with a relatively basic – yet often extremely effective – game plan.
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The Magpies have avoided defeated on five occasions this season and in each game, they have enjoyed under 50% of possession.
Their two-goal opening day win at West Ham was achieved with just two shots on target and only 41% possession, while their 1-1 draw at Wolves saw them have just three shots on goal throughout the entire game and just two on target. Their recent home win over Everton was achieved with just 37% of the ball.
However, it was their draw at Tottenham which saw them defy statistics and match data to earn a strong result.
Spurs had 23 shots on goal across that game – 12 of which were on target – and 66% possession, while Newcastle scored with their only shot on target of the entire match; a penalty in the seventh minute of added time.
As per understat.com , Spurs had a non-penalty xG of 3.19 in that match while the Magpies equivalent figure was 0.18.