• Premier League

Cech and Mata in line to face Newcastle

ESPN staff
February 1, 2013
Juan Mata is available despite picking up an injury against Reading © Getty Images

Petr Cech and Juan Mata both trained with Chelsea and are in contention to appear against Newcastle United on Saturday.

Mata went off early on in the team's 2-2 draw at Reading while Cech has missed the last two games. Benitez confirmed that they are both able to play, however, along with captain John Terry.

"Mata was training and Petr Cech was training so both are available," he said. "[Terry] is available too. It's another option we have. Only [Oriol] Romeu is out."

Benitez, meanwhile, expressed his surprise at Newcastle's drop in form this campaign.

"Last year was a great season," he said. "I was surprised they were not at the same level. I hope they do well after this game. What I have seen, they were doing well against Aston Villa. They are quite happy with the players and the performance at the end. After the game, if they can win other games, fantastic."

The Chelsea boss also backed Demba Ba to perform well and block out any criticism, despite the possibility of abuse for leaving Newcastle in the January window. By contrast, Benitez said the forward could be useful in providing inside knowledge on his old team.

"I think that he is quite confident he can do well if he plays. He's a professional. Some fans will be unhappy and others will understand. I will talk to him and he will give me the weaknesses and the strength of Newcastle."

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