NEWCASTLE United should be going into Wednesday’s game with Chelsea full of confidence.
That might sound like a bizarre thing to say given the two sides’ respective results at the weekend, but there is nothing for the Magpies to fear.
In fact, the pressure is all on the Blues.
A top-four finish is a must for them. Yes, they can qualify for the Champions League next season by beating bayern Munich in the final in three weeks’ time, but they won’t want to rely on that.
Instead they will want to secure qualification through the Premier League, which means beating Newcastle and hoping Tottenham slip up.
In contrast, Newcastle have already exceeded their wildest dreams this season by ensuring they will finish in the top six. European football is already guaranteed – anything else would be a nice little bonus.
They should be positive, take the game to Chelsea and have a real go.
The home side may have battered QPR on the back of their stunning success over Barcelona, but this is still a team sitting below Newcastle in the league.
Their backline won’t be looking forward to facing an in-form Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Demba Cisse and Demba Ba. Frank Lampard and Co won’t relish having Cheik Tiote snap away at their ankles in the middle of the park.
Whether a defence containing Mike Williamson and Danny Simpson can cope with a rejuvinated Fernando Torres or Didier Droga is another matter, of course.
But United’s back four have constantly proved the doubters wrong, and who’s to say they can’t do the same at Stamford Bridge?