Newcastle v Chelsea preview: Eden Hazard could make first Blues start
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Last Updated: 26/08/18 5:11pm
Eden Hazard could make his first Premier League start of the season as Chelsea travel to Newcastle on Renault Super Sunday.
Manager Maurizio Sarri confirmed the Belgian is ready for more game time and could be in the starting XI this weekend.
He also reiterated his desire to keep the forward at the club, saying: "I think Eden is ready for 50 or 60 minutes, I don't know for 90 minutes, but he can start.
"I am the coach of a very good team, a very great club, and so I think with such an important player I cannot sell without the possibility to buy another player at the same level. So I think Eden will stay with us for the whole season."
Rafa Benitez and Sarri know each other well, with the Blues boss taking over from the Spaniard at Napoli and Benitez was full of praise for his counterpart.
"Chelsea are a top side with a very good manager. I know Sarri well from Italy. They are playing well and are dangerous. But we are confident our fans will be behind us and support us," he said.
"We have to get our approach right - to try and win, but make sure we play in the right way. He's quite clever and he said he'll need time, which is true. But he knew his team had quality & so I was expecting a good start. I think they will do well, but hopefully not this weekend!"
Centre-half Cahill has yet to figure for Sarri this season and could have to wait a bit longer, with the manager saying: "With Cahill I think at this moment for a defender it's more difficult to play in my team after only 20 days of training.
"I told him that he needs to be patient now but that he is very important for us."
DeAndre Yedlin has trained this week after being injured in the opening day loss to Tottenham and looks set to be involved, while Javier Manquillo - who replaced Yedlin against Cardiff - will be assessed.
Benitez also confirmed that some of the new summer signings are close to starting as they improve their fitness.
Newcastle United have won four of their last five home Premier League matches against Chelsea (D1), winning 3-0 on the final day of the 2017-18 campaign.
Chelsea have lost 11 away Premier League games against Newcastle United, only losing more against Arsenal (12) and Liverpool (13).
This will be 11th time a Newcastle vs Chelsea fixture has been played on a Sunday in the Premier League - Newcastle have only lost once (W4 D5) previously, a 5-0 drubbing in November 2003 at Stamford Bridge.
Newcastle United have won their three home Premier League games on Sunday in 2018 (against Man Utd, Arsenal and Chelsea) while Chelsea have lost all three of theirs away from home (against Man Utd, Man City and Newcastle).
Chelsea have won four of their last five away Premier League contests, losing the other versus Newcastle in this exact fixture in May.
Maurizio Sarri could become the fifth Chelsea manager to win his opening three Premier League games in charge of the club after Antonio Conte, Carlo Ancelotti, Guus Hiddink and Jose Mourinho.
Rafa Benitez has currently won 49 of his 106 matches as manager of Newcastle United in all competitions (excl. shootouts).
Eden Hazard has been directly involved in 110 Premier League goals (69 goals, 41 assists) - only Frank Lampard (237) and Didier Drogba (159) have had a hand in more goals for Chelsea in the competition
I think Newcastle are struggling. Why did they let Kenedy take the penalty against Cardiff? He was having a nightmare. There's a bit of a feeling around Newcastle at the moment, and I think Chelsea will take advantage.
Chelsea don't look amazing at the back, Arsenal ripped them apart at times, but Newcastle don't have what Arsenal have going forward. Maurizio Sarri said he wants Chelsea to be pressing at all times, and it's a danger when they don't, even for 20 minutes.
I just can't see Newcastle picking them off here. Away win.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-2 (7/1 with Sky Bet)