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Chelsea to edge Newcastle and McClaren closer to crisis point

25 Sep | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Chelsea to edge Newcastle and McClaren closer to crisis point

The Magpies have won their last three matches against the London club at St James' Park - a fourth is needed, but very unlikely

The club that has lurched from crisis to crisis for longer than anyone cares to remember is, unsurprisingly, on the cusp of another one.

In the relegation zone after no wins from six Premier League matches having failed to score in four and recently dumped out of the Capital One Cup after losing at home to Championship side Sheffield Wednesday – the plight of Newcastle United is grim.

Their supporters are probably used to it by now, but this year should have been different.

Unlike previous seasons, owner Mike Ashley decided to invest in his playing staff by spending £50m on new players.

The squad might be a mishmash of emerging/unproven (delete as appropriate) foreign imports, but it is not the second-worst in the Premier League.

Ashley even appointed an actual manager in the summer, finally replacing Alan Pardew – who left the club in 10th after 19 games when resigning in December – with Steve McClaren after John Carver had occupied the position with less authority than a substitute teacher.

McClaren is a significant upgrade, even if he has only achieved success at Dutch side FC Twente since his decent performance at Middlesbrough manager got him the England job nearly a decade ago.

The performances of both him and his players are not good enough.

A match against title holders, then, does not appear the ideal fixture for the Magpies to turn their ailing season around.

That is despite the North East club winning their last three fixtures against Chelsea at St James’ Park.

Increasing that run to four – at 9/2 – is remote given the respective clubs’ contrasting fortunes.

McClaren’s side are bereft of belief, impotent in attack and – aside from a well-drilled display against Manchester United at Old Trafford – defensively vulnerable.

Chelsea, meanwhile, are resembling something of their former selves, having recorded three successive victories in the Champions League, Premier League and League Cup respectively.

The result against Arsenal last weekend was, undoubtedly, the most significant.

In addition to earning them three much-needed points, Jose Mourinho’s previously-muted players finally displayed the fierce competitiveness – a polite description of Diego Costa’s behaviour, admittedly – that was prevalent when romping to the league last season.

The Blues’ need for wins is still urgent, though, and they are 13/8 to triumph on Saturday night.

The aforementioned Costa is missing through suspension, so Loic Remy – a scorer in the 4-1 win over Walsall in midweek – should be trusted to take his place.

The French striker is 5/1 to score against his former club and 6/5 to do so at any time.

If Newcastle’s performance is as abject as the one they produced in their feeble Cup exit on Wednesday, then the visitors could enjoy a morale-boosting win.

Chelsea’s last five away matches have had more than 2.5 goals and that is 4/5 to happen again.

More than 3.5, meanwhile, is priced at 15/8.

The only surprise there would be if the home side make any significant contribution to the total.

That is how bad things are for Newcastle.

Upon being appointed, McClaren signed a three-year contract that had the potential to be extended to eight depending on his success.

If things do not improve, he will do well to make it to eight months.

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