Chelsea will be looking to register a third successive Premier League victory when they face Newcastle United at St James’ Park this lunchtime, kick-off 12:30pm.
After signing off for the international with an emphatic 4-1 win over Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea know a victory over Steve Bruce’s side will take them top of the Premier League on goal-difference, ahead of Leicester City, who are not in action until Sunday evening when they lock horns with Liverpool at Anfield.
Following an indifferent start to the campaign, the victory over Chris Wilder’s Blades secured a fourth successive win in all competitions for the Blues, following earlier triumphs over FC Krasnodar, Burnley and French outfit Rennes.
As well as having won their last four matches, the Blues, who will resume their Champions League group stage campaign with a trip to Rennes on Tuesday evening, are unbeaten in their last eight matches, proving that they are now starting to find a successful formula following a stuttering start to the season.
One of the main successes for their solid recent run of form has been Frank Lampard’s ability to call upon a fairly settled defensive line, with Reece James, Thiago Silva, Kurt Zouma and Ben Chilwell, as well as goalkeeper Edouard Mendy behind them, forming a terrific bond.
However, Lampard, who watched his side suffer a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle on their last visit to St James’ Park, is set to be forced into disrupting that settled back-line against the Magpies, with Silva poised to miss out.
The former PSG and AC Milan defender only arrived back in England a couple of days ago after spending time in South America with the Brazil squad over the international break.
With time differences and travel time to take into consideration, Lampard, addressing the media on Thursday lunchtime, admitted that it was unlikely the veteran would not play any part.
Lampard said: “Thiago Silva has just landed. He just messaged me this afternoon so he probably won’t be going to Newcastle because of the length of the journey and timings.”
Chelsea will also be unable to call upon USA international Christian Pulisic for the fourth game in succession as he continues to work his way back from a long-term hamstring problem.