Newcastle United’s Premier League rivals suffer key injury blow just days before crucial clash

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Newcastle United’s Carabao Cup opponents have been hit with a major injury blow.

Newcastle United’s Premier League rivals Chelsea have been hit with a major injury blow just days before their Carabao Cup tie with Eddie Howe’s side.

The Magpies and the Blues collide at Stamford Bridge in a crucial quarter-final match on Tuesday, December 19. The game follows a busy period for the Toon Army as they play host to AC Milan just six days before the cup game, whilst also playing host to an in-form Fulham team at the weekend.

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Howe’s team went all the way to the final of last season’s competition and after earlier victories over both Manchester City and Manchester United, many fans are now optimistic that this could be Newcastle’s best chance of ending their 55-year wait for a major trophy.

Both side’s will view the Carabao Cup as a huge opportunity to lift silverware. Chelsea themselves are expected to take the competition particularly seriously as it may present the club’s best route into a European competition after their below-par league form.

The Blues are hoping to bounce back from a humiliating 4-1 defeat against Newcastle at the end of November, but will have to do so without one of their star players in Reece James. The Chelsea academy graduate has been one of the club’s standout players in recent years and his form in the team saw him earn the captains armband after Mauricio Pochettino’s arrival at the club.

James has struggled to produce his best form this season and was actually sent off during the defeat against Newcastle for a mistimed tackle on Anthony Gordon.

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However, Newcastle fans are more than aware of the player’s talents and these were showcased against them in a 3-0 defeat back in October 2021 when the full back bagged two second half goals.

James sustained a hamstring injury during his team’s most recent defeat to Everton in the Premier League and he has begun his rehabilitation programme at the club’s training facility Cobham.

The exact length of James' absence has not yet been confirmed by club officials. However, given the full backs recent history with hamstring issues it is expected that the player will miss months rather than weeks with the problem.

A clubs statement read: "Captain Reece James has undergone medical assessment following Sunday’s 2-0 defeat at Everton. The defender was withdrawn during the first half at Goodison Park, and scan results have confirmed a hamstring injury. Reece will now begin his rehabilitation programme at Cobham."

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The upcoming quarter-final clash involving Newcastle and Chelsea marks the first meeting between the two teams in the Carabao Cup in 13 years. On that occasion the Magpies ran out 4-3 winners at Stamford Bridge with Nile Ranger, Ryan Taylor and Shola Ameobi (twice) grabbing the goals.

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