Chelsea v Newcastle United early team news: Late fitness test & emotional farewell as 16 ruled out
Chelsea v Newcastle United early team news ahead of this afternoon’s Premier League clash (kick-off 4:30pm)
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There is, however, a chance of finishing above Manchester United in third for the first time in Premier League history.
Here’s the early team news from both camps:
Newcastle United team news - eight players ruled out
Newcastle are without eight players for the visit to Stamford Bridge.
No.1 goalkeeper Nick Pope won’t play after undergoing hand surgery on Tuesday, so Martin Dubravka is set to deputise for his Premier League start in 12 months.
Joelinton and Javier Manquillo are among the latest players to be ruled out by Howe, joining Emil Krafth (ACL), Jamaal Lascelles (calf), Matt Ritchie (knee) and Joe Willock (hamstring) on the sidelines.
“We have a few issues,” said Howe told reporters during Friday’s press conference. “I think the end of the season has come at a good time for us.
“Players like Joelinton will miss the game, for example. [Javier] Manquillo will miss the game, and then we’ve got the others who have been injured going into the Leicester game.
“We’re stretched, but it will give us a chance to have a look at, maybe, one or two other things.”
Ryan Fraser’s absence continues after falling out with Howe in March.
Chelsea team news - eight players ruled out, two doubts
Chelsea too are without eight players, most notably Raheem Sterling (hamstring), Benoit Badiashile (hamstring), N’Golo Kante (groin), Ben Chilwell (hamstring) and Reece James (hamstring).
On James, it was hoped the England international would return for the final week of the campaign, however it’s been confirmed he’ll miss the visit of Newcastle after sitting out versus Manchester United in midweek.
“He came out [to train] yesterday but went back in, because he had a little bit of awareness [of the injury],” said interim boss Frank Lampard. “We hope the scan will show there’s no real damage.”
Meanwhile, Mason Mount could miss the opportunity of a farewell Stamford Bridge appearance because of a pelvic injury.
The 24-year-old, who is out of contract next summer, is reportedly keen on a move to Manchester United this summer. Chelsea reportedly value the England international at £70million.
Interim boss Frank Lampard said: “From working with Mason, you really feel the club when you’ve been in the academy since the age of eight. I don’t know what the situation is, because it’s a club and Mason issue.
“I know he’s held in high regard at the club. I know they are trying to do what they can to make him stay.“I’d never want to speak about what a player should do. It’s a shame we’ve got into this situation where it looks like it is happening maybe now.”
Also missing are Armando Broja (knee), Marc Cucurella (thigh) and Marcus Bettinelli, whole Mateo Kovacic is a doubt. Get the latest Newcastle United headlines with our free football newsletter! Follow the action from St James’ Park and beyond as we bring the sport news to you. Visit our website here to sign up.