Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce praised Chelsea’s summer transfer business and recent form ahead of Saturday’s clash.
Despite a lack of pre-season, the Blues’ summer signings have had immediate impacts on the team.
At the back, Edouard Mendy, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell have significantly improved Chelsea’s defensive numbers, with five clean sheets in the last six games alone.
At the other end of the pitch, Timo Werner currently leads Chelsea’s goalscoring chart with eight goals in all competitions (four in the league).
While the likes of Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech add the extra creativity Chelsea lacked at times last season.
Speaking in his pre-match interview, Newcastle boss Bruce was full of praise for the qualities of Chelsea’s new reinforcements.
“They bought exceptionally good players, at the end of the day, and that makes life a little bit easier if you’re a manager,” Bruce told reporters on Friday (via Newcastle United’s official website).
“Of course you have to find the right blend and the right balance, and they certainly seem to have got that over the last few weeks.
“They’ve conceded only one in their last six games.
“They’re a very, very good side and I believe personally that they will be there or thereabouts with the changes they’ve made.”
Two summer signings, Silva and Havertz, may not feature at St James’ Park, although the latter could still travel with the squad after testing negative for Covid-19.
For the home team, Bruce ruled out Ryan Fraser, with question marks over three players – Callum Wilson, Jonjo Shelvey and Matt Richie – who have only had a couple of days training and may not be 100 per cent fit for the weekend clash.