Chelsea have a number of injury doubts ahead of Newcastle’s trip to Stamford Bridge on Saturday, and they got worse on Sunday as midfielder Mateo Kovacic was hurt during Croatia’s game with Wales.
Newcastle can sympathise with Chelsea, as it is not long ago that Steve Bruce’s side was top of the injury table, with a host of players either carrying niggles or ruled out.
But it is his counterpart Frank Lampard who is suffering from being near the top of that unwanted table, with his eight injury concerns being behind just Manchester United (10) and Norwich City (13).
It should give Newcastle a lift ahead of a daunting trip, and if the hosts are without some key players, then it will be up to Bruce to maximise the opportunity that affords him.
Chelsea are running out of fit midfielders for Newcastle visit
Chelsea already have Ruben Loftus-Cheek ruled out, and N’Golo Kante is rated at 50-50, while the extent of Kovacic’s injury is being assessed.
The result is Lampard may only have four experienced midfielders fit, those being England duo Ross Barkley and Mason Mount, as well as Christian Pulisic and Jorginho.
With Mount and Barkley still with another England game to get through, Chelsea may be just one injury away from a real crisis.
If they are then forced to play one of their younger players as a stop-gap, Newcastle could look to exploit their weakness, with man-of-the-moment Matty Longstaff, and his brother Sean, grasping the midfield initiative.
Getting anything from the trip to the Capital will be a tough ask, even with their injury problems. But Newcastle must take encouragemt from their opponents’ current predicament, and there is no reason why another performance like their last, cannot see them pick up a point.