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Mourinho marching on Magpies

It’s beginning to look like the good old days again for Chelsea with Jose Mourinho back in charge and the team challenging for silverware on all fronts.

But it’s tight at the top of the Premiership and the charismatic Portuguese will settle for nothing less than three points when the Blues play Newcastle, still smarting from their derby defeat to Sunderland last Sunday, at St James’ Park this Saturday lunchtime. Coral go 8/13 an away win to keep the pressure on Arsenal and Liverpool, who clash at the Emirates later in the day.

We all know that Chelsea have an embarrassment of riches in midfield, highlighted when Juan Mata – by no means an automatic starter under Mourinho despite the high regard in which he is held throughout the game – starred in the Capital One Cup win at Arsenal in midweek, scoring an exquisite second goal to wrap things up.

But the real bonus for Mourinho has been the performances of his strikers in recent weeks. Fernando Torres is at last beginning to look like his old self again, scoring goals and smiling (the two things go together). Samuel Eto’o may never be the player he once was, but he is still sharp enough to cut it at this level. And then there is Newcastle old boy Demba Ba, who continues to give defenders all sorts of problems when he’s given the chance.

Coral go 9/2 Torres scores first or last (6/5 at any time), the same prices Eto’o and 11/2 and 6/4 Ba. Whoever Mourinho plays – and it seems that he now trusts his strikeforce enough to start with at least one of them – the Magpies defence could be in for a torrid time.

With almost a quarter of the season gone, the jury is still out on Newcastle. Bumping along in mid-table, it’s hard to tell which way it will go; an upward surge towards a European challenge or a plunge down to the relegation zone. They play well at times, but don’t seem to be able to string two decent results together.

Geordie fans are known for their passion and will be right behind their team if they start climbing the table, but if they start to slide, then there will be even more protests against owner Mike Ashley and Director of Football Joe Kinnear than there is already.

While there is Loic Remy – 11/4 to get on the scoresheet for the sixth time this season – there is hope of a decent campaign, but Chelsea may well prove too strong for them this weekend. I fancy there might be a couple of goals in it; Coral go 15/2 it finishes 2-0 to the visitors and 12/1 it ends 3-1.