Two Chelsea stars give Mauricio Pochettino boost for Newcastle with best-case injury scenario

Chelsea news as the Blues prepare to take on Newcastle in a key clash in the race for the top four

Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino

After a slightly underwhelming week on the pitch for England Cole Palmer has returned to Chelsea. The 21-year-old made the step-up to senior duties having originally been left out of Gareth Southgate’s squad for the final two Euro 2024 qualifiers but was brought in after injuries to James Maddison and Callum Wilson.

Chelsea attacker Raheem Sterling was also omitted from the squad but this was the third time in a row he had been sidelined by Southgate as his place at the major tournament next summer is more and more unlikely. Palmer, who joined Sterling in making the move from Manchester City to Stamford Bridge, has seemingly overtaken his new teammate.

With four goals and four assists in his last eight games it is no surprise that Palmer is on the radar of the England coach but it wasn’t enough to see him earn a full debut despite two ultimately meaningless games over the past 10 days. His first appearance came from the bench in the 2-0 win over Malta at Wembley last week before another go as a substitute in the final moments of an even more disappointing 1-1 draw away to North Macedonia followed.

It leaves Palmer in with a shout of making the final cut for the squad heading to Germany in just over six months time but he will need to continue his impressive form in order to make it happen as the Three Lions possess an embarrassment of riches going forward. In order to make his point

Palmer has now scored goals against Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City – all from the spot and under increasing pressure each time – with key attacking impact being felt outside of his lethal touch from 12 yards. This will be essential for him to bring to the team if he is to make it a third big result in a row for the Blues against Newcastle on Saturday.

Eddie Howe’s men welcome Chelsea to St James’ Park in a game between one side that was on the up last season and one that was in free fall down the table. This year the role reversal has continued but Pochettino would see his team move to within one point of the Magpies with a win.

Although Newcastle are ravaged by injuries – they could be without as many as 12 players for the game – the atmosphere in the north east is likely to be somewhat of a leveller on the field and Pochettino will be keen to have as many of his players available as possible. Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia are both yet to make their debut for the club but could return here, though it is still a big doubt.

The pair were both in training at Cobham once again this week, stepping up their recovery ahead of an extended tough run into December that includes matches with Brighton and Manchester United. Palmer was also back in Surrey with the club posting images of his return to the camp online.

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