Newcastle United Vs. Chelsea, 2011 Premier League Week 13: Sports Direct Arena Hosts First Fixture

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 26: Newcastle United Manager Alan Pardew applauds the fans at the end of the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Newcastle United at Old Trafford on November 26, 2011 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Newcastle's perfect home record will be tested by an anxious Chelsea and a gratuitous marketing ploy.

Fourth and fifth, Newcastle United and Chelsea are currently on top of what is becoming a third pack (from Newcastle in fourth to Arsenal, 3 points behind, in seventh). Neither side come into this fixture, though, in great form. Newcastle, unbeaten till late November, required a ludicrously generous penalty and a magnificent performance from Tim Krul to avoid a second consecutive defeat at Old Trafford last week. Chelsea, although they did manage to win in the league last week (dispatching relegation flirts Wolves 3-0), have lost a barely credible 5 of their last 9 games in all competitions: including an abject 2-0 reverse at home to Liverpool in midweek.

The devil, though, is (as usual I hear) in the detail. Newcastle's last two games were AWAY in MANCHESTER, which is all that needs be said about that, they remain unbeaten at home (4 wins, 2 draws). That impressive record, though, was achieved when Newcastle played their home games in front of an adoring crowd at St James' Park; tomorrow's fixture will be the first at The Sports Direct Arena. Given Andre Villas-Boas' comments during the week that the anxiety around Stamford Bridge negatively affects his players performance, Chelsea may benefit from playing in the unpopularly renamed stadium.

They will do so, too, with Captain John Terry back in their ranks after he served a one match ban on Tuesday evening. Oriol Romeu, who so impressed Terry standing in for John Obi Mikel last week, will continue in midfield where Newcastle are, again, without Cheick Tiote and Sylvain MarveauxSocial justice's Hatem ben Arfa, meanwhile, should make his first home start for Newcastle in over a year: the St James' Park faithful locals should enjoy that.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.