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

The Hard Tackle picks three players who can make a positive impact when Newcastle United and Chelsea lock horns on Saturday.

The 2023/24 Premier League season continues with Gameweek 13 this weekend. The latest round of fixtures will present many intriguing matches, including the game between Manchester City and Liverpool. The action will then continue at St. James’ Park, where Newcastle United and Chelsea will clash on Saturday.

Newcastle United and Chelsea have been far from their desired spots in the Premier League standings this season. While the Magpies sit at seventh on the table, the Blues are three positions and four points behind in tenth.

But both teams have picked up form in the last few weeks, losing just once in their last five outings. Unfortunately for Newcastle United, they went down 2-0 to Bournemouth ahead of the international break. Meanwhile, Chelsea played out a morale-boosting 4-4 draw with Manchester City.

So, three points will be crucial for Newcastle United and Chelsea as they look to close the gap to the top four. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle lists three players who can singlehandedly influence the proceedings when the Magpies and the Blues lock horns at St. James’ Park this weekend.

Nicolas Jackson

Both teams have been prolific in the last few weeks, but the strikers have not always delivered the goods. That is especially true for Chelsea, with Nicolas Jackson’s output often leaving much to be desired.

The Senegalese international has found the back of the net four times in the last two games, including the match-winning hat-trick against Tottenham Hotspur. But his conversion rate has been abysmal for much of the 2023/24 campaign thus far.

Jackson has underperformed on his xG this season, although the recent exploits have reduced the gap. But if he wants to help Chelsea get the better of Newcastle United, his conversion rate needs to improve. The 22-year-old will invariably threaten with his movement on and off the ball. He can also link up play smartly. But how he fares in front of the goal will hold the key.

Alexander Isak

The battle of the strikers will swing the balance on Saturday. So, with Callum Wilson likely missing out against Chelsea this weekend, the second pick on our list is Swedish striker Alexander Isak, who has recovered from his recent fitness issues.

The Swede has been a solid addition to the Newcastle United squad since arriving from Real Sociedad last year. The 24-year-old is the epitome of the term “exuberance of youth”, as he does not hesitate in taking on the opposition’s defenders.

Meanwhile, finishing is his strong suit, unlike Nicolas Jackson, meaning Chelsea will do well to keep him quiet on Saturday. But apart from his potential exploits inside the Blues’ box, how well he holds the ball will also be critical to Newcastle United’s fortunes. In addition, he should be an imposing presence in the air, making him a well-rounded threat.

Conor Gallagher

Our list ends with a Chelsea player, although we have moved away from the attackers to round off the feature. We are talking about Conor Gallagher, who has transformed his fortunes in the first few months of the 2023/24 season.

The English international is still facing an uncertain future at the West London club despite starring for them in the positive moments. That has, in turn, captured the attention of high-profile clubs in the Premier League, including Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United.

The 23-year-old will unlikely set the stage alight with his creativity or goalscoring exploits. The Englishman can still stitch the play together, although his work rate will make the difference for Chelsea. Gallagher excels at making ball recoveries high up the pitch, which liberates the attackers. He is not afraid of putting in a tackle, which should frustrate his Newcastle counterparts.

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