Two teams that have started the season well enough without necessarily blowing away their supporters will be looking to return from international break with a bang as Newcastle United host Chelsea in the weekend's opening Premier League fixture.
Chelsea manager Frank Lampard's side would briefly move top of the Premier League with a victory at St James' Park and their hosts, currently 13th in the Premier League table with a 3-2-3 record, could rise as high as seventh if they extend an impressive record on home soil against Chelsea. Of their last seven meetings in the league at this ground, Newcastle have won five and lost just once.
Here is how you can watch the match and what to know:
Newcastle vs Chelsea
- Date: Saturday, Nov. 21
- Time: 07:30 ET
- Location: St James' Park -- Newcastle, England
- TV: Peacock Premium
- Odds: Newcastle +550; Draw +333; Chelsea -200 (via William Hill Sportsbook)
Newcastle: Without any great fanfare Callum Wilson is once more proving to be a menace for Premier League defenders. Eight games have brought six goals, half of which may have been penalties but ultimately they will count the same for a Newcastle side that have been chronically lacking in consistent goal output.
Should Ryan Fraser also be available - he missed Scotland's international games through injury - then Newcastle will have a player to bring off the bench or possibly even start who has a telepathic understanding with Wilson. At Bournemouth those two could be devastating on the counter and they might relish running at a Chelsea defense that is likely to be without Thiago Silva.
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Chelsea: Recent week have proven that Chelsea might be better with Silva, who is not expected to make the trip to the north east, but that they can still be a solid defensive unit without him with Edouard Mendy in fine form between the posts. The question the coming weeks should show us is whether the numbers are embellishing the story of their defensive improvements.
According to Opta data, Lampard's side lead the league in expected goals against per 90 but the eye test says something rather different. Without Silva anchoring this defense the Blues can look skittish and disorganized, all too vulnerable to the best attacks. Newcastle may not be that but if they play with a certain freedom they might find Chelsea to be more vulnerable than they look on paper.
Chelsea might be without Christian Pulisic and possibly Kai Havertz but there is quality aplenty for the Blues to unleash at St James' Park, likely enough to carry them to the top of the table briefly. A 2-0 win for the visiting side seems the most likely outcome.