Slowly but surely Chelsea are looking like a Jose Mourinho team - full of spirit, difficult to break down and with a sprinkling or two of attacking quality.
The last couple of weeks have been really kind to Mourinho, after a difficult start to the season, and Chelsea, on the back of a good run which saw them also down Arsenal in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, can go to the top of the English Premier League table, for a few hours at least, if they get the better of Newcastle in their English Premier League game at St James' Park.
Chelsea striker Fernando Torres celebrates with teammate Ramires after scoring the winner against Manchester City, October 27
"What is important is to go in the right direction, and that is to play the way we are playing," Mourinho said. "We feel we are improving and the quality of our games is good. We won every match in October and we had to play Schalke and Arsenal away and Man City at home, so it was not an easy month.
"But being top or not at this stage is a question of one, two or three points so it is not very important. Of course it is better to be first than be fifth. Now we go to Newcastle which is one of the most difficult games in the whole season. It is very difficult to play at St James' Park but we are going to try.
Chelsea are scheduled to play in the early kickoff on Saturday, and with it comes several advantages and disadvantages. Win, and you put the pressure on the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool, who play each other late on Saturday, and Manchester City.
However, lose, and you give the above mentioned clubs the extra motivation to go out and pick up three points and either close the gap, or put further yards from the Blues, depending on the state of the table.
"A big team is a state of soul, and a collective soul, and at this moment all my players have this," Mourinho said, clearly relishing the form that his side have shown. "It doesn't matter to the soul if you score or don't score, if you play well or don't play well. It is a good squad and good people, and we try our best every match."
One thing that the League Cup victory against Arsenal clearly showed was the embarrassment of riches that Mourinho has at his disposal, with the manager able to make 10 changes and yet have several established internationals, who have been there and done it all.
Newcastle have no real such luxury, though, with Alan Pardew, who saw only Loic Remy come through into the team in the summer transfer window, struggling to cope with the trials and tribulations of the season already.
The Magpies, in 11th on 11 points, nine behind Chelsea, will be hurting from that 2-1 loss to rivals Sunderland last weekend, while they were unlucky to be knocked out of the Capital One Cup in midweek, with Manchester City scoring two goals in extra time.
Pardew needs a moment, or 90, of inspiration from his side to set them on their way this season, and three points against Chelsea in front of a roaring Toon Army might just be the tonic.
Team News: Newcastle Pardew, whose side defeated Chelsea 3-2 last season in the corresponding fixture, has plenty of injury problems in defence with youngster Paul Dummett (hamstring) joining Massadio Haidara (hamstring) and Ryan Taylor (knee) on the sidelines. Fabricio Coloccini and Steve Taylor are major doubts, but Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa is available after missing last week through suspension.
Mourinho also has concerns, but it is not because of injury - it is actually the lack of it. Apart from long-term absentee Marco Van Ginkel, the Portuguese has every player available.
"It is a bad feeling because it is not easy for me to leave some players at home and it is not easy for me to leave some players on the bench, because everyone deserves to play," Mourinho said.
"To have all the choices is a good problem, and to have all the players playing well and very much committed and with the group is fantastic, but to be the man responsible for saying you don't play or you are on the bench, is at this moment very hard because I feel I am unfair to all of the ones I am not selecting."
Key men: Newcastle: Hatem Ben Arfa has been off the boil a little in the last few games, and the Frenchman, who has previously been linked with a move to Chelsea, needs to sparkle for the home side.
Chelsea: Fernando Torres had one of his best games in a Chelsea shirt against Manchester City last weekend, and the Spaniard will want to continue that good form against the Magpies.
Where to watch
The game is scheduled for a 6.15 pm IST start with live coverage on ESPN and ESPN HD. You can also catch the match live online by clicking the official link HERE.
Expected lineups: Newcastle: Krul; Debuchy, Williamson, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon; Cabaye, Tiote, Sissoko; Ben Arfa, Cisse, Remy.
Chelsea: Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Lampard; Schurrle, Oscar, Hazard; Torres.
Prediction: 3-2 to Chelsea
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