The Carabao Cup has reached its quarter-final stage and things will get going at Stamford Bridge, London, on Tuesday as the Magpies will visit the posh neighborhood of the capital to face the Blues and Mauricio Pochettino.
Last weekend, Chelsea’s win over Sheffield United in the Premier League lifted them to a mediocre 10th position while Newcastle’s victory over Fulham has NUFC sitting sixth.
Chelsea’s run in the EFL Cup has seen them defeat minnows AFC Wimbledon, Brighton & Hove Albion, and Blackburn. Chelsea has advanced past the QF in the last four times he reached such a stage. Sadly, that’s about to change.
Eddie Howe overcame a tumultuous period at the club to beat Fulham having endured elimination from all European competitions while also struggling in domestic outings, mostly on road games.
Newcastle put both Mancunian sides to the sword in earlier rounds having already deal with both City and United in back-to-back affairs. More promising for Tuesday, however, is the fact that Howe worked a masterplan that had Newcastle blasting Chelsea 4-1 in their Premier League encounter earlier this season. What about an encore, boys!?
Chelsea’s injury concerns include Wesley Fofana, Carney Chukwuemeka, Trevoh Chalobah, Lesley Ugochukwu, Ben Chilwell, Reece James, Marc Cucurella, Robert Sanchez, and Noni Madueke. All of Christopher Nkunku (debut), Enzo Fernandez, Armando Broja, and Malo Gusto could return to the squad.
Newcastle’s injury report hasn’t improved, and it might have actually grown even larger since the last time we checked because such is life upon Tyne. Joelinton, Fabian Schar, Sandro Tonali, Nick Pope, Jacob Murphy, Matt Targett, Javi Manquillo, Elliot Anderson, Joe Willock, Harvey Barnes, Kieran Trippier, and Alexander Isak are out. Loanee Lewis Hall is ineligible against his current-but-former club Chelsea. I might play for the Magpies today!
Here are some of Howe’s Wisdom Nuggets, courtesy of NUFC.co.uk
On the challenge of facing Chelsea and his side’s previous two wins in the competition this term...
“The two draws we had previously in this cup, they are as difficult as you can get. The beauty of those two games we have had has shown we can raise our game against top teams in this competition.
“We are determined to progress and create more memories. We know how difficult it will be, but we know the prize on offer.”
On what kind of starting 11 he may go with in the capital...
“A manager, I think, will have several versions of his strongest team - I don’t think there is one.
“It’s always in the hands of the players, really, in terms of form and fitness and lots of different reasons, so we will pick a team we think will give us the best chance of winning.”
On the Blues, who have shown signs of improvement under Pochettino...
“They are dangerous opponents for us - a very good team with a very good manager. Both teams will be equally motivated to do well.
“We will pick a team that will give us the best chance of winning. We desperately want to win.”
On fit-again defender Sven Botman and the prospect of handing him a first start since September...
“He’s rehabbed really well so we will have to make a decision on whether we want to start in this game.
“There are certain players that lift the team that little bit extra and Sven is one of those players. He’s a big presence, he’s a big guy and we missed his presence.”
On the injury concerns in his squad ahead of the tie...
“Alex (Isak) has a problem with his groin - he had a scan last week, it is not a big problem. It is minor, probably more fatigue than anything. It is enough for us to need to monitor him and be careful with him - we don’t want it to lead to anything longer.
“Both Joelinton and Fabian Schär will have scans today so we will know more. They don’t appear to be too bad but I am reluctant to say too much before we have the scan results.”
“That will be an ongoing process with Harvey (Barnes) - there is no update on that. He is hopeful of coming back within four to fivbe weeks, and that’s the latest plan.”
On his 100th game in charge of the club - a milestone he will reach on Tuesday night...
“I was surprised - it seems like it’s absolutely flown by, as life tends to do when you get older. I’ve loved every second of it.
“When you look back on a group of games, (there are) so many highlights, memories... I’m very proud to have, hopefully tomorrow, done 100 games and been through that journey with the club really. It’s been a really memorable time.”
- Date: Tuesday, Dec. 19th
- Kick-off: 20:00 BST / 15:00 EST
- Location: Stamford Bridge, London (England)