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The FourFourTwo Preview: Newcastle vs Chelsea

Chelsea are yet to suffer defeat in any competition this season, and travel to St James' Park on Saturday six points clear of defending champions Manchester City at the top of the table.

Their superb start to the campaign has led many to ponder whether Jose Mourinho's men could replicate the feat of Arsenal, who went the entire 2003-04 season undefeated.

However, history suggests that this weekend's trip to the north east represents a significant hurdle for Mourinho, as the Portuguese has never won a Premier League game at St James'.

The London club were beaten 2-0 in the corresponding fixture last season, too, although the scorer of Newcastle's second goal on that day - Loic Remy - now plays for Chelsea.

Newcastle approach this clash on a run of just one defeat in their last nine matches in all competitions and, following a midweek 1-1 draw with an improving Burnley side, Pardew is of the belief that his players can find weaknesses in a formidable Chelsea team.

"Mentally we are in a strong position and our confidence is high. We have good spirit and are learning lessons along the way," Pardew said.

"We need to threaten Chelsea because they look terrific. They are a great team who are strong and organised.

"Somewhere along the line Chelsea will slip up, and hopefully we can exploit any weaknesses they have."

But Newcastle's hopes of becoming the first team to beat Chelsea this term could be derailed by an injury crisis that has shown little sign of abating.

Captain Fabricio Coloccini is still struggling for fitness after missing the last two games with a calf problem, while goalkeeper Tim Krul remains out with an ankle complaint and winger Rolando Aarons is a doubt due to a hamstring issue. 

Ryan Taylor (knee) is sidelined, along with long-term absentees Gabriel Obertan and Siem de Jong (both thigh), as well as Davide Santon (knee).

Mourinho, meanwhile, can welcome back top scorer Diego Costa after the striker sat out Wednesday's 3-0 win over Tottenham due to suspension, although Remy and Didier Drogba both scored in that comfortable victory.

Midfielder Nemanja Matic is banned, but defender Gary Cahill has shown no symptoms of concussion after sustaining a head injury versus Tottenham and could be in contention to play.