Shearer effect to pose Chelsea problems

Alan Shearer's arrival as Newcastle United's latest Messiah will have been greeted with alarm by everyone at Chelsea, who travel to St James' Park for what should be an emotional occasion on Saturday.

A win for Chelsea would close them within a point of leaders Manchester United, who host Aston Villa on Sunday, and a week ago the Londoners would have expected to secure that victory with relative ease.

"You can imagine the atmosphere up there. Alan Shearer is a God and quite rightly so. He will get the fans going and the players going," Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard told Sky Sports News.

"Unfortunately for us it seems to happen quite a bit. We had to play Manchester City when they had just signed Robinho.

"We have to react to the atmosphere and be on top of our game to get a result."

Shearer, worshipped by the fans during his decade as their centre forward, is certain to galvanise the whole city and the combination of a rejuvenated set of players and desperate fans should lift Newcastle to a new level.

They certainly need it after a dire run that has seen them tumble into the bottom three. Newcastle's only win in their last 12 league games was against bottom side West Bromwich Albion and relegation has become a distinct possibility.

Shearer, Newcastle's fourth manager this season, has eight games to save them.

Chelsea, who have had almost their entire squad on international duty around the world this week, are still kicking themselves over the 1-0 defeat by Tottenham Hotspur last time out which prevented them taking advantage of Manchester United's stumble.

The champions followed up their 4-1 home humiliation at the hands of Liverpool with a ragged, indisciplined 2-0 defeat at Fulham.

They are still a point ahead of Liverpool, with a game in hand, but will relinquish the lead on Saturday if Liverpool win or draw at Fulham.

Fourth-placed Arsenal, three points ahead of Villa, are at home to Manchester City on Saturday.