Chelsea lost for the first time in thirteen games on Wednesday and suddenly the world is falling apart.
Short-termism rules the day even as we cry foul over the same thing.
But what’s done is done, and we move on. The League Cup is over, joining the Premier League on the “there’s always next year” discard pile. The Champions League dream is still alive, as is the FA Cup. It’s the latter we turn our attentions to this weekend, with Newcastle United coming back to town after their visit at the start of December in the league. Chelsea won then, and played quite well.
No better time than the present to repeat that.
Date / Time: Sunday, January 28, 2018, 13:30 GMT; 8:30am EST; 7pm IST
Venue: Stamford Bridge, SW6
Referee: Kevin Friend — Believe it or not, Mr. Friend was also the referee the last time Newcastle came to the Bridge, in the aforementioned 3-1 win for the Blues. Since then, he’s also arbitrated over our 5-0 smackdown of Stoke.
Forecast: Very mild.
On TV: BT Sport 2 (UK); Fox Sports 1 (USA); Sony ESPN (India); elsewhere
Streaming online: BT Sport Live (UK); Fox Soccer Match Pass (USA)
Chelsea team news: Chelsea remain without three important players in first-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois (ankle), leading goalscorer Álvaro Morata (back), and new arrival into the treatment room, Willian, who had played in 68 or Chelsea’s 69 previous games. Wonder if he knew where the treatment room even was!
On the plus side, Cesc Fàbregas has returned to training and will undergo a fitness test to determine his availability. Everyone else (minus Kenedy, who’s now out on loan) should be available, including Charly Musonda, who might be heading north after the match as well just like the visitors.
Chelsea struggled a bit in the previous round to vanquish Norwich City, needing a replay and extra-time and a penalty kick shootout to do so. Chances are however that we will see a rotated side once, with most of the first-team being involved against Arsenal and a league game coming up on Wednesday as well (against bournemouth)
Newcastle United team news: The Magpies have won three of their last seven, which doesn’t sound too impressive but considering that they had lost eight of nine just before the current streak, it’s not a bad turnaround.
The Magpies have a fairly clean injury slate, and could welcome back Aleksandar Mitrovic, Florian Lejeune, and Chancel Mbemba, too, to basically clear it out. New arrival Kenedy is ineligible against his parent club due to the loan contract terms.
View from the enemy: Coming Home Newcastle
Previously: I was there in person for this game, so this brings back some good memories.