This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Chelsea will play Newcastle United in their ninth match of the Premier League campaign on Saturday this weekend. One battle, in particular, could influence the outcome of the match.
The Blues are currently in the midst of a hot run of form, having won their last four matches in all competitions, whilst the Toon beat Manchester United 1-0 in their last outing before the international break.
Who has been the most improved player in the EPL this season? Find out in the video below…
Having averaged just 37.5% possession so far this season, the lowest of any team in the top flight, it is likely that Steve Bruce’s team will once again be on the back foot at Stamford Bridge.
With Callum Hudson-Odoi likely to feature again after starting his side’s previous match against Southampton, his battle with DeAndre Yedlin could have a telling influence on proceedings.
The 18-year-old Hudson-Odoi has had a positive start to the season after returning to the Chelsea fold following his Achilles injury in April. In his first four matches, he has one goal and three assists, and has been a regular menace on the left side of Frank Lampard’s attack.
He will likely face Yedlin on his flank after the USA international also recently came back into the team after a spell on the sidelines. His first start of the season came against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side before the international break, with the north-east outfit winning 1-0 thanks to a goal from Matty Longstaff.
Watch Chelsea Live Streams With StreamFootball.tv Below
In that game, Bruce chose to field a 4-5-1 formation. It was no doubt a defensive set-up, but it did its job effectively, frustrating their more illustrious opponents until they were able to take the lead deep in the second half.
The 26-year-old right-back had a strong game defensively, recording one tackle, two interceptions and three clearances throughout. He managed to keep the Red Devils’ Dan James under wraps, and he will be hoping to do the same against Hudson-Odoi next.
Should Newcastle line up in such a defensive way once again, the centre of the park will be congested, meaning the Blues will need to find space down the flanks.
Hudson-Odoi, therefore, should see a lot of the ball in the match, and will be facing off against the former Sunderland man on a regular basis.
Should he be able to get by him regularly – as his 3.3 dribbles per Europa League game last term suggests he can – then it could be a difficult afternoon for the St. James’ Park outfit’s defence, especially with top marksman Tammy Abraham in the middle. He already has eight goals this term in the Premier League, with his last being assisted by none other than Hudson-Odoi.
If Yedlin can hold firm, though, Chelsea may find it difficult to break this sturdy defence down – or at the very least will be forced to discover another avenue of doing so. It promises to be an entertaining match-up, just like the match itself.