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Chelsea vs. Newcastle - Team News & Preview

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Try not to let this guy shoot too often...
Try not to let this guy shoot too often...

Do not adjust your dial; it's another Chelsea fixture - the third within a week! It almost feels like Christmas with all this fixture congestion. Hopefully Santa Eden* keeps the presents coming at the blistering pace by which he has already spoiled us.

* I feel this "joke" would've worked so much better if we had Roque Santa Cruz. Not that he'd ever spoil us with 3-5 (depending on who's counting) assists in his first two matches.

Date/Time: Saturday, August 25th; 17:30 (BST), 12:30 PM (EDT), 10:00 PM (IST)

Venue: Stamford Bridge, London SW6

TV Information: ESPN (UK); FSC (USA); ESPN (India)

Online: none

Team News: John Terry is out after nearly breaking his neck in an awkward fall vs. Reading. I imagine that did not feel good waking up the next day. Marko Marin is also out. Let's hope we don't have to cut-n-paste that into too many more articles after the international break.

Cesar Azpilicueta and Victor Moses are now officially on board (the former has even trained with the squad), but unless they've made the registration deadline, they will not play any part tomorrow.

David Luiz has recovered from his minor knee thing and should be back to partner Cahill.

Newcastle: Another team dealing with early season fixture congestion, thanks to the Europa League, this fixture comes just 48 hours after their 1-1 draw vs. Atromitos in Athens. They did essentially play their B-team in Greece though, so most of their danger-men are well rested.

Injury doubts for the Magpies include Cheick Tiote (calf), Shola Ameobi (hamstring), Demba Ba (shin), and Fabricio Coloccini (thigh). Three of those four play crucial roles for the club, although if Papiss Cisse does what he did last time at the Bridge, it won't really matter who Newcastle is missing.

For a more in depth look at Newcastle's tactics, don't forget to check out Tim's scouting report.

Chelsea: Roberto Di Matteo surprised with his strong lineup selection for the midweek match, which has now left the squad in a bit of a bind. Newcastle look a far stronger side than Reading, yet most of our first choice lineup has already had 180 minutes of action this week. Many even took part in the preceding midweek international friendlies and the Community Shield before then as well. Fernando Torres, for example, has now played four full 90-minute matches in 10 days, while Juan Mata looks like he just wants to put his feet up and kick back in a hammock for a minute or two.

That being said, it's hard to look past either of them for yet another start. The squad will have five days to recover before the UEFA Super Cup, they can rest then. Chelsea must build on the strong start and keep the three points coming at a steady pace.

Di Matteo does have options even without Moses and Azpilicueta, but I'd guess we'll see a mostly unchanged lineup:

(4-2-3-1): Petr Cech; Ashley Cole, David Luiz, Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic; John Obi Mikel, Frank Lampard; Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Ramires; Fernando Torres