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Selection problems for Chelsea and Newcastle ahead of weekend's game

Selection problems for Chelsea and Newcastle ahead of weekend's game

Chelsea and Newcastle face selection problems ahead of their Premier League game on Saturday _ and not just because of injury and suspension.
Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton will spend the next six days in jail after being refused bail Friday and charged with common assault and affray, or starting a brawl.
Barton was one of three people arrested Thursday after an alleged incident in downtown Liverpool around 5:30 a.m. local time that morning.
The other two were released on bail but Barton was remanded in custody until Jan. 3.
Barton missed Newcastle's 1-0 loss to Wigan on Wednesday with an ankle injury, and last played in the 2-2 draw with Derby last Sunday. Those results have heaped pressure on Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce and Barton's arrest won't help either.
At least Chelsea's issues are limited to injuries and suspensions. Midfielder Frank Lampard was ruled out for several weeks on Thursday after hurting his right thigh during Chelsea's dramatic 4-4 draw against Aston Villa on Wednesday.
Defender John Terry, midfielder Florent Malouda and striker Didier Drogba were missing that match with injuries and defender Ricardo Carvalho and Ashley Cole received automatic three-match suspensions after being sent off.
Cole has appealed his red card to the Football Association, which will decide Friday if he misses Chelsea's games against Newcastle, Fulham on Tuesday and the FA Cup third round against Queens Park Rangers on Jan. 5.
One person has benefited from the injury list _ striker Andriy Shevchenko. He scored two goals and set up a third against Villa and also scored against Liverpool in the League Cup quarterfinals on Dec. 19.
"I feel I played well against Villa, but for me the result of the team is more important," Shevchenko said. "But I feel much better, and my confidence is good. I want to play every game and do my best on the pitch."
Chelsea fell off the title chase last season when it drew three straight games after Christmas. But Chelsea's unbeaten streak in the league at Stamford Bridge is 72 games and Barton's arrest isn't the only problem for Newcastle.
Allardyce has only been at Newcastle since April, but is aware his future is shaky after a run of poor results.
"Newcastle is obviously a big club, but we all love the gaffer," Newcastle winger Damien Duff said. "We are behind him and we just want to put it right for him. He cannot take all the flak.
"We are the ones on the pitch _ so don't hammer him, hammer us."
Manchester United leads the Premier League with 45 points, followed by Arsenal with 44, Chelsea with 38, Liverpool with 36 and Manchester City with 35.
On Saturday, Manchester United is at West Ham and Arsenal has a difficult game at Everton. Also, it's: Sunderland vs. Bolton; Tottenham vs. Reading; Portsmouth vs. Middlesbrough; Birmingham vs. Fulham; and Wigan vs. Aston Villa.
On Sunday, Derby hosts Blackburn and Liverpool is at Manchester City.
Manchester United striker Carlos Tevez is set to play against his former club after being rested for the Red Devils' 4-0 win over Sunderland on Wednesday.
Despite West Ham barely avoiding relegation last season, it beat Manchester United 1-0 twice in the league last season. Tevez scored for West Ham in the 1-0 win at Old Trafford in May.
West Ham drew 1-1 with 10-man Reading on Wednesday and captain Lucas Neill urged fans to stick with the team, which has only won twice at home this season.
"What better way to get our home form back on track than with the Upton Park crowd behind us spurring us on to a victory over the Premier League champions," Neill said. "We did the double over them last season under much more pressure, so why can't we repeat that again this time round?"


Updated : 2021-04-21 08:03 GMT+08:00