Chelsea and Newcastle meet for the first time in a couple years, after the latter bounced straight back in to the Premier League following relegation in 2016.
After a decent start to the season, Benitez’s men have lost four of five and have just one win in their last nine games. That makes them one of the worst teams on form in the league, despite a current 12th place standing.
Like the Swansea game midweek, that doesn’t necessarily mean this will be an easy game for Chelsea, who are unbeaten against the Magpies in the last six. Newcastle have not won at the Bridge since 1986.
With Arsenal playing against Manchester United later in the day, it’s imperative that Chelsea collect all three points here.
Date / Time: Saturday, December 2, 12:30 GMT; 7:30am EST; 6pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Kevin Friend — back for his 20th Chelsea game, we last saw Mr. Friend in the 1-1 away draw against Burnley last season.
Forecast: Cold; light showers possible
On TV: Sky Sports Premier League (UK); NBCSN, Telemundo (USA); Star Sports Select HD1 (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: Sky Go (UK); NBC Sports Live Extra, Telemundo Deportes En Vivo (USA); Hotstar (India)
Chelsea team news: David Luiz and Charly Musonda remain out with knee injuries, though with contrasting rumors about their Chelsea futures — the former continues to be linked with a move away while the latter is once again posting on Instagram about how he belongs at Stamford Bridge.
Michy Batshuayi and Kenedy continue to work towards full fitness though it’s not clear whether they’re ready for any match action.
Conte rotated the squad for Wednesday night’s 1-0 win over Swansea and now has the option to do so again, in either a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2.
Newcastle United team news: Former Chelsea loanee Christian Atsu is out with a thigh ailment and centre back Jamaal Lascelles has an ankle problem. The rest are all available for Europa League-winning Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benítez, who’s unlikely to receive a warm welcome on this cold Saturday lunchtime.
WAGNH+LiBP on TOUR: London is Blue Podcast, yours truly, and a good many others from the USA will be at this game. Come on out and say hi. Keep your eyes on Twitter and the website for where we might be found.
Previously: Last time these two met, Chelsea romped to a 5-1 win.