The Magpies come into the match off the back of a win over Crystal Palace in the League Cup. Eddie Howe’s men secured their place in the fourth round of the competition, which will take place after the international tournament, thanks to heroics from Nick Pope in a penalty shootout after a 0-0 draw in normal time.
Chelsea are currently seventh in the table and six points behind Newcastle, who are third as it stands but do have a game in hand over their rivals.
Ahead of this clash with the Blues, Howe revealed that striker Callum Wilson is a doubt as he has been recovering from an illness during the week, which kept him out of the matchday squad against the Eagles.
However, the Magpies head coach must unleash the England international, who will be heading to Qatar for the World Cup this month, from the start if he is fit enough to feature.
He has played 30 top-flight matches for the Magpies since signing from Burnley in January and has failed to prove that he can find the back of the net on a consistent basis.
Wilson, meanwhile, is a proven goalscorer who has what it takes to lead the line in a huge clash at the top end of the table against Chelsea.
Reach PLC editor Andrew Musgrove previously claimed that the forward has a “clinical edge” and his statistics for Newcastle back that up. He has plundered 26 goals in 49 Premier League starts since making the move to St. James’ Park from Bournemouth in the summer of 2020 for a fee in the region of £20m.
Journalist Bence Bocsak tweeted that Wilson is on a “remarkable journey” after going from playing in the National League 10 years ago to potentially representing his country at the World Cup this month.
The £46k-per-week gem could take the journey to new heights by securing a top-six spot in the Premier League for Newcastle and playing European football for the first time in his career.
A win over Chelsea would leave them nine points clear of the Blues and they would head into the break in third place, putting them in a fantastic position for the club to be in heading into the post-World Cup matches.
Therefore, Howe must start Wilson as he is a superior goalscorer to Wood and has a higher chance of being a match-winner, given their respective goalscoring statistics, in a potentially pivotal clash between two sides vying for European places.