Chelsea have an exceptional squad, but they’ll be without arguably their best player against Newcastle.
In his pre-match press conference, Frank Lampard confirmed that N’Golo Kante is not available for selection. The midfielder is often the heartbeat of the Chelsea engine room, and his absence could certainly be a boost to Newcastle’s chances of getting at least a point from the game.
Kante is one of the best players in the Premier League, a defender’s dream with his ability to break up play and stop attacks. Chelsea don’t really have another player in that mould, which could give Newcastle the chance to take advantage of a less solid midfield.
But Lampard will have two other midfielders to choose from. He confirmed that Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley are available for the game.
The Croatian international picked up a knock against Wales earlier in the week, while Barkley scored twice for England on a horrible night in Bulgaria.
Kovacic is a bit of an enigma for Chelsea, but certainly looks better than he did last season. As for Barkley, his performances for club and country are chalk and cheese. It’s like he’s a different man in an England shirt.
The Blues have some exceptional attacking options in midfield, and the inexperienced duo of Sean and Matty Longstaff face a tough battle in the middle of the park. But it is one they can possibly win with the steely Kante set to miss out.