Chelsea vs Newcastle United: Three key players to look out for

The Hard Tackle lists three players who can have a positive impact in the EFL Cup quarter-final between Chelsea and Newcastle United.

The EFL Cup resumes this midweek with the quarter-finals. Three of the four games of this stage are coming our way on Tuesday, with the marquee fixture pitting Chelsea and Newcastle United against each other at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea reached the EFL Cup quarter-finals by beating AFC Wimbledon, Brighton & Hove Albion, and Blackburn Rovers in the last three rounds, conceding only one goal. However, they have blown hot and cold this season, although they returned to winning ways last weekend by easing past Sheffield United.

On the other hand, Newcastle United’s journey to the EFL Cup quarter-finals has been more challenging. The Magpies beat Manchester City and Manchester United in the last two rounds to set up the date with Chelsea. Meanwhile, like the Blues, the visitors returned to winning ways this past weekend by cruising to a 3-0 win over Fulham.

Chelsea and Newcastle United have already met once this season, with the Tyneside outfit easing to a 4-1 victory. But the EFL Cup clash might be closer than the Premier League fixture. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle lists three players who can tip the scales in their teams’ favour on Tuesday.

Ian Maatsen

Our list begins with a full-back instead of an attacker. Before we get to the forwards, we will speak about Ian Maatsen, who has struggled to break into Mauricio Pochettino’s team this term and will be eager to make his mark on Tuesday.

The Dutchman returned from a successful loan spell at Burnley this past summer with high hopes of establishing a foothold at Chelsea. But that has not happened thus far this term, leading to speculation surrounding his future. The youngster remains highly rated, with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus, and many other bigwigs interested.

Meanwhile, reports have claimed that Chelsea will listen to offers for the versatile 21-year-old in January. So, with time running out for Maatsen at Stamford Bridge, Wednesday’s game becomes crucial for him to make his mark.

The youngster can trouble Newcastle United from the flanks, with his delivery and creative ability potentially making him an asset for Chelsea. Perhaps, if he rises to the occasion, the West London club might keep him at Stamford Bridge amid the struggles to consistently create chances.

Callum Wilson

We belatedly move to the attackers, the players whose output will make a telling difference for the two teams. Our second pick is Callum Wilson, whose performance is critical for Newcastle United against Chelsea.

The English international has been one of the best performers for Newcastle United this season. He tends to make his mark whenever he is fit and available to represent the Tyneside outfit. The problem for him is that his fitness issues tend to get the better of him time and again.

The 31-year-old has also struggled with some injury troubles this season, only recently returning to action. But with Alexander Isak now on the sidelines, Wilson has to step up for Newcastle United to stitch together a winning run. So, how he fares will determine whether the Magpies can get past Chelsea and claim a third major scalp in the EFL Cup this season.

Armando Broja

Our list ends with another striker. But unlike Callum Wilson, he is not certain about his position in the team for the long haul. We are talking about Armando Broja, who, like Ian Maatsen, will be eager to deliver the goods and turn his fortunes around with his performance on Tuesday.

The Albanian international has endured a frustrating period since returning to Chelsea after his loan spell with Southampton. A long-term knee injury scuppered Broja’s 2022/23 campaign while affecting his participation in the early days of the 2023/24 season.

But the 22-year-old has struggled to stamp his authority whenever he has taken the pitch this term. Broja has only one goal and one assist in ten outings thus far, although he has managed just 250 minutes of game time.

So, the young striker will have a point to prove, especially with his Chelsea future being uncertain. Expect him to be desperate to make his mark for Chelsea against Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday evening.

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