Chelsea and Newcastle United will face off at
St James' Park Sports Direct Arena in just a few hours, and we've got the latest injury updates. A reminder: this is the early game this week, so don't tune in late.
Jonas Gutierrez is suspended, as he picked up two yellow cards at Manchester United. Stuart Rayner of The Journal says that Sammy Ameobi is his most likely replacement, but it's not clear if he's reporting something he heard from the club or guessing based on recent trends. The younger Ameobi brother is certainly the odds-on favorite, but don't be surprised if Alan Pardew uses the opportunity to shake things up a bit. Our own John Murphy made the case for Shane Ferguson, and there has been some talk (on here, not around SJP) of Ryan Taylor moving up to left wing while Davide Santon slots in at left back. Possible replacement Sylvain Marveaux remains out with a groin injury.
If Alan Pardew wants to get crazy, he can field three strikers, since Leon Best is back from his groin injury, which he revealed was a 6 cm long tear, where previously it had been described as a strain. (The Chronicle) I'd bet Best comes back on the bench and only sees the pitch if the result is certain.
We reported earlier this week that Cheik Tiote will miss his sixth straight game this week, and there will be no surprises on this front. Danny Guthrie will again be his replacement, which makes this bit of trolling even more comical. (The Sun)
Steve Harper is back from his loan at Brighton & Hove Albion, and since this is a home game, it wouldn't be a surprise to see him listed as a sub instead of Rob Elliot. (The Chronicle)
Mike Williamson is reportedly close to returning to training, but he will likely not be available for several matches and definitely won't suit up for this one. James Perch will continue to be Alan Pardew's go-to defensive substitute. (The Chronicle)
Chelsea's injury report is very light. They are still missing Tiote's boyhood hero, Michael Essien, and Josh McEachran picked up a left ankle injury in Chelsea's Carling Cup tie with Liverpool that kept him from making the trip to Newcastle. John Terry will return from suspension. Check We Ain't Got No History for any other updates on Chelsea.
One final note: The tribute Newcastle scheduled for the late Gary Speed has been postponed, as his widow Louise has requested that it be moved so she can attend. She will be at Elland Road Saturday, so the event has been rescheduled to December 17. (NUFC Official Site)
Final Selection Guesses
NUFC (4-4-1-1): Krul | Simpson, STaylor, Coloccini (C), RTaylor | Obertan, Cabaye, Guthrie, Sammy | Ben Arfa | Ba
Subs: Harper, Perch, Santon, Gosling, Lovenkrands, Shola, Best
CFC (4-3-3): Cech | Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry (C), Cole | Ramires, Romeu, Meireles | Sturridge, Torres, Mata
Subs: Turnbull, Bosingwa, Mikel, Malouda, Lampard, Drogba, Kalou