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Graeme Jones takes charge of Newcastle at St James' Park for the first time, as league leaders Chelsea come to town

The post-Steve Bruce era begins at St James’ Park this weekend, as Graeme Jones leads Newcastle United into battle against league leaders Chelsea, with no new manager yet confirmed on Tyneside.

Jones’ first game in charge ended in a rather fortunate 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace last weekend, thanks largely to the brilliance of Callum Wilson, who netted a stunning equaliser to ensure Jones’ first game at the helm didn’t end in defeat.

Things were much more straightforward for Chelsea last weekend, as Thomas Tuchel’s side, despite being without a recognised striker, put seven past Norwich City at Stamford Bridge, with Mason Mount scoring a hat-trick in the demolition.

That win ensured Chelsea stayed top of the table after nine games, and a penalty shootout win over Southampton on Tuesday night means Thomas Tuchel’s side are looking like serious contenders for everything this season.

If Newcastle are to join the Blues as contenders anytime soon, a permanent manager is required. Reports this week claim Paulo Fonseca has held talks with the powers that be, and former Dortmund boss Lucien Favre is also in the running. Either way, an appointment isn’t expected until at least the middle of next week.

In the meantime, Jones has had a full week of training with his squad, and adjusted the schedule. Under Steve Bruce, the squad would train a maximum of four times, something which was a cause for concern for a team that hadn’t won a game this season. Jones has had the players in every day this week, although whether we will see any results on the back of those sessions against a team as strong as Chelsea could be tough.

Speaking of the squad, Jones can welcome back Jonjo Shelvey after he was sent off against Tottenham and served his suspension against Palace. Freddie Woodman is 50/50 with a muscle injury, but Martin Dubravka could return after training for the last fortnight to build match fitness. Paul Dummett is the only definite absentee with a calf injury, but is back running after missing the whole season so far.

As for Chelsea, their striker issues remain a problem. Romelu Lukaku has an ankle problem which is set to keep him out for a number of weeks, and Timo Werner’s hamstring injury will also likely sideline him again. N’Golo Kante could be involved after reporting muscle tightness last week, but Cesar Azpilicueta, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Christian Pulisic and Andreas Christensen could all be back.

As far as recent meetings between the sides go, Chelsea have won five of the last six, with Werner and Olivier Giroud scoring the last time the sides met. Isaac Hayden scored a 90th minute winner at St James’ Park back in January 2020 in what proved to be Frank Lampard’s final league game in charge, before the Tuchel era began.

If Newcastle can repeat the feat this weekend, they could move out of the bottom three on goal difference. The problem is the teams around them all have winnable fixtures, meaning a negative result could leave them cut adrift by the time a new manager gets appointed.

Newcastle United take on Chelsea at St James’ Park on Saturday, October 30th. Kick-off is at 3pm.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

About the author

Marley Anderson

Marley Anderson

Head of Social Media at Sport Social
Social media for Sport Social. The man behind the memes. Regular guest on Football Social Daily, usually bemoaning Steve Bruce and his beloved back five system. Cumbrian born, Manchester drawn.
Follow @91Marley on Twitter

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