By 90Min
May 12, 2018

Newcastle host Chelsea looking to end a run of four straight defeats and end the season on a high after retaining their Premier League status for next term. Sitting 10th going into the final day, the Magpies could drop as low as 15th if they lose and other results don't go their way, such is the congested nature of the table.

They face a Blues side still holding an outside chance of qualifying for the Champions League, with Antonio Conte's men needing to beat Newcastle and hope Liverpool lose at home to Brighton to secure a top four finish. 

Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

More realistically, it will be a campaign in the Europa League for last season's champions, who have underwhelmed again in a title defence. Wednesday's 1-1 draw at home to Huddersfield sealed their fate and left an uphill battle to prevail on the final day.


Classic Encounter

Chelsea hold a torrid recent record at St. James Park, with just a solitary point from their last four visits. The most memorable of the North East club's wins was in 2013, when current boss Rafa Benitez sat in the west Londoners' dugout, during his six-month tenure after Roberto di Matteo's sacking.

The home side took the lead through a Jonas Gutierrez header four minutes before the break, after ex-Toon striker Demba Ba missed a host of chances to put the visitors ahead.

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The Blues responded after the break, with a quick-fire double from Frank Lampard and Juan Mata turning the game on its head to have Rafa Benitez's side leading with half an hour to play.

January signing Moussa Sissoko took the game into his own hands, tapping in from a saved Yoan Gouffran shot six minutes later. Buoyed by the equaliser, the home fans roared their side on and were rewarded in injury time when the Frenchman smacked an unstoppable 25-yard drive past Petr Cech to stun Chelsea and take all three points.

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It completed a sensational home debut for the 23-year-old, consigning the then European champions to an unlikely defeat, and established him as a cult hero. For Chelsea, the already unpopular Benitez was not helped by such results and it became evident his contract would not be extended beyond the end of the season, leaving in May.


Key Battles

Captain Jamaal Lascelles will have his hands full dealing with a motivated Olivier Giroud, looking to make his case for a start in the FA Cup final next weekend.

Clive Rose/GettyImages

The Frenchman scored the winner in last week's win over Champions League finalists Liverpool and has made an impressive start to life at Stamford Bridge.

In midfield, England hopeful Jonjo Shelvey may not have the time to develop his trademark long-range passes, with the relentless N'Golo Kante chasing him at every turn, and that could be a key factor in the final result on Sunday.


Team News

Ciaran Clark and ex-Chelsea man Christian Atsu remain out with injury and loanee Kenedy is ineligible to face his parent club.

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Thibaut Courtois has returned for the visitors after recovering from a back problem, and Antonio Conte has no new injury concerns. Ross Barkley and David Luiz remain out indefinitely.

Predicted Newcastle Lineup: Dubravka; Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett; Diame, Shelvey; Ritchie, Perez, Murphy; Gayle.


Predicted Chelsea Lineup: Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Rudiger; Moses, Fabregas, Kante, Bakayoko, Alonso; Hazard, Giroud.


Prediction

With Antonio Conte criticised for fielding a weakened side in the 1-1 draw at home to Huddersfield, the Blues will field a strong team and hope Brighton can do them a huge favour and win at Anfield.

Newcastle have had a solid season and will not be easy to roll over at St James' Park, with Benitez itching to get one over on his former employers.

LINDSEY PARNABY/GettyImages

Chelsea should get the job done but it will likely not be enough for a top four finish, instead gaining momentum for next week's Wembley date with Manchester United and look forward to a Europa League campaign next season.


Prediction: Newcastle 1-2 Chelsea

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