London: Champions Chelsea will aim to continue their laborious climb up the Premier League table with a victory at home to Newcastle United on Saturday.
Guus Hiddink's side are unbeaten in nine league games, but six of those have been draws. They come into the weekend in 13th place and cannot move into the top 10 until the following week at the earliest.
Stamford Bridge continues to be the home of entertaining speculation, however, with the club still searching for a permanent successor to Jose Mourinho and captain John Terry on course to leave at the end of the season.
One man who does appear to have a long-term future at the club is Oscar, despite the Brazil playmaker having reportedly been the subject of a mega-money bid from Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning.
"I want to stay here for a long time," Oscar told Chelsea TV. "I want to win more games, more trophies, because I love Chelsea, I love the fans. I like the city, my family like it here.
"I don't have a reason to change the club. Everyone likes me here and I'm very happy here."
But Oscar, who is under contract until June 2019, was at a loss to explain Chelsea's dramatic fall from grace.
"It's just the results," he told Sport magazine. "We started off not doing well this season. Last year we would play well and win, this year we were playing well and not winning. The results are everything.
"It's better now because we've started to win games again. We went back to playing well again. But when we lose, the mood is bad. When we win, the mood is good. It's the same anywhere.
"We are doing everything we can to win games and get back to the old Chelsea that won last season."
Defender Kurt Zouma's season is over after he suffered a serious knee injury in Sunday's 1-1 draw at home to Manchester United, in which striker Diego Costa netted a stoppage-time equaliser.
England's Gary Cahill will replace the Frenchman in central defence alongside Terry.
Newcastle's only aim is to avoid relegation and Jamaal Lascelles feels the arrivals of Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend in the January transfer window can help them address their woeful away record.
Steve McClaren's side have lost 14 of their last 18 games on the road and start as big outsiders at Stamford Bridge, where they have won just once in 21 Premier League visits. - AFP
Published Date: Feb 12, 2016 14:19 PM | Updated Date: Feb 12, 2016 15:00 PM