Newcastle United captain Jamaal Lascelles has claimed the Magpies are fancying their chances against Chelsea, as the Blues’ youth could hurt them on Saturday.
Frank Lampard has named the fifth-youngest starting line-up in the Premier League on average this season, with the Stamford Bridge natives holding an average age of 25.1 from the 21 players used thus far (TransferMarkt).
Among the Chelsea players named by Lampard for a league game this season, only 30-year-old Cesar Azpilicueta and 25-year-old Kepa Arrizabalaga have featured more heavily than 20-year-old Mason Mount, with the Blues youngster playing all bar ten minutes of what has been on offer thus far.
Tammy Abraham, 22, has played the fifth-most of any Blues player, and has returned a joint Premier League high of eight goals during his 576 minutes of top-flight action.
Lampard has matched his youth in attack with youth at the back, too, where 21-year-old Fikayo Tomori has featured in each of the West London outfit’s last five league games and made his Champions League debut against Valencia in September.
Tomori had only played once for Chelsea’s first-team heading into the 2019/20 campaign, but had spent the previous term on loan at Derby County under Lampard following a spell with Hull City, which returned a combined 81 appearances across all competitions (TransferMarkt).
Abraham also featured in 40 games across all competitions for Aston Villa last season as he helped the Birmingham-based outfit secure their return to the Premier League as play-off champions, in which he scored a total of 26 goals.
Chelsea’s youth has sparked slight confidence in Lascelles, who has told Newcastle’s official website that ‘there’s no reason’ the Toon cannot repeat their result against Manchester United when they travel to Stamford Bridge.
“They’re a young side with not much experience in there,” he said. “We’ve been working really hard this week and we’re looking forward to it. It’s going to be a tough game, but we do fancy our chances.
“We’re still going off the last game. We beat Man United at home and there’s no reason why we can’t beat Chelsea. We’ve still got the confidence from the last game and hopefully we can go and do the same job.”
Lampard has certainly called on a variety of young players this season, including 18-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi following his return from injury, but Lascelles’ point of their lack of experience potentially being a weakness has not been backed up by some of their performances.
Abraham is, after all, the Premier League’s joint-leading goalscorer with a hit rate of one every 72 minutes, while Tomori ranks only second to Wolves’ Willy Boly for successful tackles per 90 minutes for centre-backs with an average of 3, per WhoScored data.
Performances may occasionally dip, but it is unlikely that Chelsea’s youth will be what offers Newcastle a chance to take a favourable result in West London, where the Magpies have not taken a point since 2012 (11v11).
Steve Bruce’s Toon also only have a marginally higher average age this term, with United holding an average of 25.7 from the 22 players used so far, including 19-year-old Matty Longstaff, 21-year-old Sean Longstaff, and 22-year-old Allan Saint-Maximin.
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