Steve McClaren will be wondering what he’s let himself in for by becoming the Magpies boss. Newcastle look dangerously close to a full-blown crisis and it’s not even October yet. Shockingly, Newcastle have won a paltry four games so far in 2015—it won’t be long before fan unrest gets really ugly. It is hard to say exactly what is going wrong, but fans will point to a lack of investment and poor player coaching (to the point where Debuchy, Ba and Cabaye did extra training privately in order to succeed). Chelsea, having broken their losing streak with back-to-back wins, will be licking their lips.
In a team of chronic under-performers, Janmaat has tried to take up the slack. Often recognised by fans as being the only player who has shone consistently, the Dutchman will surely be the first to move on if Newcastle continue to spiral downwards. It took going 0-2 down at home to Watford for the Magpies to wake up, and it was Janmaat who got the goal after basically setting himself up for the finish. The right-back can’t do it all on his own though—his team mates really need to step up and be counted if this season is going to end in anything but relegation. A good performance against Chelsea (even if they lose) will give them a glimmer of hope to cling on to after being knocked out by Sheffield Wednesday in the League Cup midweek.
There isn’t much we can say about Hazard that hasn’t already been said ad infinitum. The Belgian superstar can cut the mustard against any opposition, including Arsenal last weekend. It might have been a bit scrappy (and it takes a deflection) but it was just reward for a top performer. Hazard is Mourinho’s main creative outlet, the player allowed to weave some magic when others have to defend. It would be a genuine surprise for Hazard not to score or assist against a Newcastle side that look utterly woeful. If Janmaat manages to hold off the Belgian, no matter—Hazard will just switch and focus on some of his hapless team mates.
With Diego Costa banned for three games, Chelsea’s other striker will probably get the chance to show his quality. Although he technically got an assist against Arsenal, it didn’t look particularly intentional. Remy has pace to spare and a good eye for goal though, and will be keen to score against his former club and show why he deserves to start ahead of Falcao. He has just 8 minutes of Premier League football under his belt this season, probably unfair on a player who would start for most other clubs.
The young Frenchman has managed to force his way into one of the best defences of last season, and has done so with pace and verve. If he keeps performing like this, he will keep one of Cahill or Terry out of the first XI.