Chelsea out to maintain impressive form at Newcastle
Jose Mourinho's side starting to believe in title credentials
Chelsea head north to play Newcastle on Saturday amid a growing view that Jose Mourinho’s side are the team to beat in this season’s Premier League title race.
Last weekend’s Fernando Torres-inspired victory over Manchester City struck a telling blow against one of their major rivals and kept them within two points of leaders Arsenal.
Then the midweek League Cup victory over their London rivals at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium confirmed the strength in depth of Mourinho’s squad, with the Blues winning 2-0 after both sides made a number of changes.
Mourinho’s confidence in his team’s ability is growing and Torres’s performance against City, coming hard on the heels of his eye-catching display in the Champions League win at Schalke, provided the firepower that has been largely missing from the Chelsea frontline.
The team is beginning to show signs of the strength and solidity that were features of Mourinho’s sides during his first spell at Stamford Bridge.
Ramires is one of the players responsible for that and the midfielder is eager to finally lift the Premier League trophy this season after collecting Champions League, Europa League and FA Cup winners medals during his three years with Chelsea.
“Every competition is important but it is true the Premier League is missing from my CV,” said the midfielder, who will be joined in the Brazil squad next month by club team-mates Willian, David Luiz and Oscar.
“It would be important to win the Premier League, not only for myself but for the club to get the trophy again after a few years without it.
“I hope we can win every competition but for me it would be a special feeling.
“In the Premier League you depend only on yourself, your team.
“I believe we are doing well at the moment and we’ve a great chance this year. We have everything in place.”
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew has insisted his side can cope with the swift turn-around ahead of Chelsea’s visit.
The Magpies return to Premier League action fewer than 72 hours after their gruelling extra-time League Cup exit at the hands of Manchester City, which saw defenders Paul Dummett and Massadio Haidara taken off injured.
Pardew, again without captain Fabricio Coloccini, who has missed three games with a groin problem, said rest was the order of the day for his side.
“We’re in a tough run of games. We’re feeling that in the dressing room and there are a lot of bruised bodies and tired legs.
“We’ve got a quick turnaround for the Chelsea game, and it’s got to be feet up for us and all about getting nutrients back into the players.”
Defender Steven Taylor is again absent with a recurrence of a hamstring problem as Newcastle look to record a morale-boosting victory following back-to-back defeats.
Pardew added: “To be honest, we’re not in bad form and we’re not lacking confidence, so we’ve just got to keep at this level.
“I can only hope that a couple of pairs of fresh legs that we kept in reserve against Manchester City will freshen us up.
“If we can hit the kind of levels we did against City, then we’ve got a chance against Chelsea.”