Chelsea host Newcastle for the second time at Stamford Bridge this term, after the boys from the North took the spoils at their last visit.United won 4-3 in a thrilling Carling Cup encounter in West London last year, with Shola Ameobi netting twice in the upset result over Carlo Ancelotti’s men.
A lot has changed at St James’ Park since, with notable differences to the first-team squad being striker Andy Carroll and manager Chris Hughton – both being moved on respectively.
Both sides fielded second-string outfits in United’s entertaining win in September, and both Ancelotti and Alan Pardew could look to do the same, with Chelsea’s title hopes all but gone after their 2-1 loss to Manchester United last start.
Should Sir Alex Ferguson’s men earn a point or more at Blackburn on Saturday, this match will be rendered a ‘dead rubber’ for both sides, and a chance for some youth to be injected with an eye to the future.
Striker Fernando Torres should have the chance to add to his lone goal for Chelsea, should Ancelotti start with the Spanish World Cup winner.
The Italian boss opted to start proven front man Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou in their most recent English Premier League clash, against Manchester United.
Chelsea have no fresh injury concerns going into Sunday’s affair, while United will be minus long-term absentees Hatem Ben Arfa, Stephen Ireland, Alan Smith, Dan Gosling, Leon Best and Mike Williamson.