Key events

4 min Ruben Loftus-Cheek is down clutching his leg, while Schär is also in some discomfort after taking a knock to the head in his coming-together with Broja. It’s unclear whether or not they’ll be able to continue.

2 min The free kick comes to nothing, Nick Pope gathering with ease. Newcastle get a free kick of their own, which is cleared.

Kick off!

Chelsea get us started. Broja is fouled almost immediately by Fabian Schär, giving the visitors a free kick out wide on the left.

St James’ Park observes a minute’s silence ahead of Remembrance Sunday. We’re about to get under way.

Five minutes to go until kick-off. Can you feel the hype?

Newcastle have dropped to fourth after Tottenham’s 4-3 win against Leeds. Chelsea remain eighth.

Potter talks up Hall ahead of league debut

Asked about Hall’s first Premier League appearance, Potter is full of praise for the 18-year-old. “You saw his quality against Manchester City [in the Carabao Cup in midweek], he’s calm under pressure, he can take the ball and take responsibility. He gets up and down the pitch, he gives you good width and attacks the box when he can.

“He miscued a couple against Man City in the week, but [he’s got a] great attitude and a good temperament. So, again, it’s exciting for him and I’m looking forward to seeing him play.”

Potter tells Sky Sports that Sterling and Cucurella have been ill, which is why the former is out of the squad and the latter has only made the bench. He suggests that Sterling should be fine to travel to Qatar with England.

The warm-ups are in progress. We’ve got a little under 20 minutes until kick-off.

Here’s a stat for you. We all like stats, don’t we?

16 – In October 2022, Eddie Howe’s @NUFC earned 16 points in six @premierleague games (W5 D1). That’s the club’s joint-most ever in a single calendar month in the competition, also earning 16 in December 2001 (seven games) and April 2006 (six games). Sweet. pic.twitter.com/JMtCnhJEHp

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 11, 2022

Potter, by contrast, has overhauled the team which lost 1-0 to Arsenal last Sunday. In attack, Armando Broja and Conor Gallagher swap in for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Raheem Sterling. In defence, Thiago Silva and Marc Cucurella make way for Kalidou Koulibaly and Lewis Hall, with the latter making his Premier League debut. Plus, Kai Havertz is out and Mateo Kovacic is in. That’s five changes in total.

Howe has made two changes to the side which beat Southampton 4-1 last weekend, a victory so emphatic that it did for Ralph Hasenhüttl. Chris Wood and Joelinton come in for Callum Wilson and Jacob Murphy, giving Newcastle a bit more height across their front line. Joelinton was suspended for the Southampton match but, having been integral to the team under Howe, his return is no surprise. Wilson has been ill this week, which explains why Wood starts.

Chelsea team news

… and here’s the Chelsea lineup.

Newcastle team news

Here’s Eddie Howe’s starting XI.

Preamble

It’s going to be an introspective Christmas for Graham Potter if Chelsea drop more points this evening. Winless in four in the Premier League and down to eighth, the new manager bounce is well and truly over. Having said that he intends to use the winter break “to rejuvenate, to recover, to reflect and to improve”, Potter could do with something positive to ruminate over. Another setback here would conjure up bleak images of him sporting an enormous shaggy beard, sitting in an isolated cabin in the Swedish tundra somewhere and staring absently into a log fire with the wind whistling outside.

Of course, with Newcastle up to third and looking ominously good, Chelsea will need a much-improved performance to emerge victorious. With two goals in their last four matches, their faltering attack has been an area of particular concern. Newcastle, meanwhile, have the joint-best defence in the league, having conceded only 11 goals all season. That could be a troublesome combination for the visitors.

Graham Potter at St James’ Park
Log fire just out of shot. Photograph: Scott Heppell/Reuters

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