Chelsea v Newcastle United, Saturday 19 October 2019, Stamford Bridge, KO 15.00

Following some carefree, halcyon Autumnal days with that rat faced charver, Pickford in the bottom three (instead of us), it’s a return to the Premiership coal face this weekend. We’re back to reality as a trip to that happiest of hunting grounds, Stamford Bridge awaits.

I was present the last time we managed to best Chelsea on their home patch. It was a surreal evening, indeed. Pardiola’s Mags (!) went to SW London and comprehensively outplayed and outthought the soon to be Champions of Europe. Of course you all remember it. Papiss had yet to send his rubbish, replacement identical twin brother to Tyneside, and scored two of the best goals ever seen in a black & white shirt. The second won MOTD’s ‘goal of the season’. To be honest, I actually thought his first might have been even better.

I ended the evening joyously minging. Having been shamefully cold shouldered by the North London, Ex NE Public School Jewish Mafia, I found myself in Piccadilly Circus watching a homeless ex lag from Gateshead, who called himself ‘the Fist’ (without a hint of irony) chasing terrified Japanese tourists up & down Regent Street. A kind of fever dream mixed up with a really dark version of ‘Benny Hill’, it was quite the evening, I can tell you.

However, since that balmy night in May ‘12, we’ve managed fewer points there than a Luxembourger Eurovision entrant and have a whopping -15 goal difference to underline this sorry stat. I think therefore, it’s fair to say that those black & whiter’s heading there this Saturday will be travelling more with faint hope than expectation.

Having suffered a hideous toe-ing at Old Trafford on the first game of the season, our opponents have gradually improved and are beginning to look a more serious proposition. Frank Lampard, their 74th manager this century is a good egg and also a Chelsea legend. Therefore, he appears to have the good will of that cheery lot in The Shed. Their last two barely accepted, Italian coaches put more silverware on the table than Geordie Octogenarians can ever recall seeing, but strangely Talksport fail to mention some of the bile that flew their way. Funny, that.

They already had the basis of a decent side, with the likes of perennial Fantasy Football picks Azpuelicueta & Alonso and despite a FIFA transfer ban for being incorrigible cheats, as luck would have it, they had about 87 loaned out players to welcome back into the fold.

The headliners from this plethora of young nomadic football talent appear to be Mason Mount & Tammy Abraham. The former, though being saddled with a 70’s pornstar moniker looks a real prospect. The latter, now banging them in at the top level, was desperately coveted by Rafa. Enough said. Their last outing, away at Southampton saw them return home 4-1 winners. Both the aforementioned notched, and even without the stellar, Eden Hazard – they’re a team in form and will take some stopping.

To Stevie’s Mags….. Penning this part has been a depressing trudge recently. Trying to say something encouraging in this largely, dog’s egg of a season has been on the tricky side, thus far. However, we march into battle this time having turned over Man United at St James’ and I’ve decided to dole out some praise.

OK, they may well have been a weakened version of the real thing. And, possibly the worst Red Devil’s side in waking memory, but they still have a lot more talent than us and we deservedly beat the swine. There were notable performances from the likes of Saint Max and Fabian, but the day belonged to two brothers from North Shields. When I heard the younger Longstaff was starting, I can’t have been the only Mag to wonder ‘is this desperation from an under pressure, clueless manager?’ So, if you’re gonna give it out, you’ve got to hold your hands up, where necessary.

Mr Bruce had been quoted as having a concern re the lack of mobility in centre mid. He decided to bring in a young player who gave him that, and more – so, fair play to him. Longstaff senior was back to his Carrick-esque best and his younger brother, Shortstaff basically ran the show. I understand that we’re not suddenly Barcelona, but the winning goal will definitely go down as one of my favourite St James’ experiences. My nine year old twin boys, who have sat watching a lot of uninspiring dullness recently, loved it too. So that was worth the admission fee x 3.

So, can we build on this promising performance and nab something at the Bridge? Well…. it’s not impossible, just highly unlikely. I believe that we’ll go there and give a decent account of ourselves, but will be ultimately outscored.

We still have a real problem up top, as wor Joe continues to play the number 9 role like its not for him. When big Andy comes on, the difference is palpable. The Brazilian has talent, no doubt but a 15 goal hold up man, he ain’t. His South American pal has had a bit of ‘banjo / cow’s backside’ issue since his much vaunted arrival, last season. Therefore, if a goal is to arrive it’ll probably have to come from midfield.

Enough waffle. I think we’ll lose 2-0. Sorry, but once more, it’s a ‘head’ not ‘heart’ call. If you disagree, this morning I saw the away win quoted at 9/1 . That means, if you put a tenner on, with your stake, you’ll lose exactly £10.

I know. I’m a misery. ‘Til the next time….

Nick Clark