57 min Danger! Willock gets in behind on the left and whips the ball across the face of goal. Hall is forced into a desperate intervention, stabbing it behind for a corner after it narrowly evades Wood. Howe has his hands on his head on the sidelines.
56 min Trippier is booked for bringing down Pulisic as he tries to break.
55 min Chelsea try to calm things down, but only invite more pressure. Mendy continues to look uncomfortable with the ball.
More correspondence, this time from Ryan Price. “How happy I was to read Brian Robson mentioning “stone cold”. My biggest bug bear is pundits going on about a “stonewall” penalty. What on earth (I’m being polite) does that mean?”
50 min So close! Trippier gets in a menacing cross which is headed down by Joelinton. Wood latches on to it, but Mendy saves at point-blank range. Guimarães has a crack on the follow-up, but it’s blocked. Newcastle recycle the ball and Almirón tees up Longstaff, but he fires over.
49 min The two sides have picked up where they left off, making a choppy start to the second half. Broja is bullied off the ball as he looks to get up the pitch.
There’s been a half-time change for Chelsea, with Potter bringing on Christian Pulisic for Azpilicueta.
We’re back in action at St James’ Park.
Finally, a self-confessed rant from Brian Robson (not that one). “That was a stone-cold penalty with an arm dragging away from his body and stopping a pass, so where was VAR on that one?”
Brendan Large tweets: “Alright Will, just wondering if you have any idea how Potter was thinking this team would score goals? Literally one attacker on the pitch and no go forward attitude. Hall has been Chelsea’s best player by a stretch I’d say.”
It’s a fair question, Brendan, with Broja looking isolated for much of the first half. Mount has had his moments, but there’s no getting past the fact that Chelsea have had one shot. Liquid football, it is not.
Julian Menz writes in with some queries: “Can you tell us more about how Chelsea are set up? Is Hall playing wing-back, was Loftus-Cheek playing wing-back? Is Azpilicueta now playing wing-back since Silva’s introduction?”
In answer to your first question, Julian: yes, and apologies for not having done so already. Potter has set up his side in a 3-4-2-1 formation, with Hall and Loftus-Cheek starting at left and right wing-back respectively. Since Loftus-Cheek was forced off, Silva has dropped into the back three and César Azpilicueta has been shunted over to the right flank. Chelsea’s midfield pairing of Jorginho and Kovacic are struggling for control and there’s been very little play through the middle, with the visitors’ only shot of the half coming from a cross – from Hall – out on the left.
Neither side have been at their best, but Newcastle have looked more likely to make a breakthrough. Chelsea’s attack has been utterly leaden for long stretches, even if their defence has largely held up well under pressure.
45+1 min The home fans roar for a penalty after Burn gets a low cross in which brushes Trevoh Chalobah’s arm. Robert Jones, the referee, waves away their appeals.
44 min Joelinton cuts inside off the left flank in search of an opening, but he’s crowded out.
We’ve had some email correspondence. “Great game,” says Richie Bradford. It’s hard to tell, but that could well be sarcasm.
42 min Over the last 10 minutes, Newcastle have had 72% possession. They are making a strong end to the first half.
41 min Mendy collects the corner gratefully. Neither side has made much of their set pieces so far.
40 min Almirón dribbles past three men in midfield to spark an attack which ends with Burn having a crack, which is deflected wide. Another corner to Newcastle.
38 min The corner falls for Willock on the edge of the box, but he can’t force a shot through the seething mass of blue shirts.
37 min Tripper plays in Longstaff out wide on the right. He gets a probing cross into the box, which Silva clears at the cost of a corner.
35 min Mason Mount dinks a ball over Newcastle’s back line to the onrushing Broja. Sven Botman pops up as the last defender to make a crucial intervention and head it away.
34 min Burn marauds into a vast ocean of space before moving the ball on to Willock. He picks out Guimarães, who has a go from distance. The shot is deflected and bounces away.
31 min Sean Longstaff saunters up to the edge of the area before picking out Kieran Trippier to his right. He gets an inviting cross to the near post, but nobody gets on the end of it.
29 min Jorginho catches Guimarães across the ankles in midfield and, despite making a big show of apologising, gets the first booking of the game.
28 min But wait a minute! The visitors go on a sweeping attack which ends with Hall picking out Broja in the box. He turns on his heel and gets a shot away, but it’s straight at Pope. The Newcastle goalkeeper makes a straightforward save.
26 min Newcastle have a semi-dangerous spell, Joelinton whipping a cross into the box which narrowly evades his teammates. Chelsea look increasingly constricted.
24 min Willock dispossesses Gallagher in midfield and goes on a bounding run into the box, but loses the ball at the crucial moment.
20 min Still no shots on target. Both sides are playing way too much football in the middle third of the pitch.
17 min Chelsea go on the attack but Hall misjudges a cross and it sails out for a goal kick.
15 min Finally, we have a shot. Willock lifts in a cross which is cleared as far as Miguel Almirón, who sends a volley looping over the crossbar.
14 min Newcastle are trying to press Mendy with the ball at his feet, with the Chelsea goalkeeper receiving some criticism recently for his distribution under pressure. He deals with it, just about.
12 min Édouard Mendy slices a clearance straight to Dan Burn, but he fails to control the ball and it trickles out for a throw-in.
11 min Bruno Guimarães overhits an attempted final ball which bobbles out for a goal kick. It’s been that kind of a game so far.
9 min Newcastle try to play their way through the middle, but Joe Willock’s final ball is intercepted. Chelsea make a half-hearted attempt at a counterattack, but it fizzles out.
6 min Potter is forced to make an early change, replacing the injured Loftus-Cheek with Silva.
4 min Ruben Loftus-Cheek is down clutching his leg, while Schär is also in some discomfort after taking a knock to the head in his coming-together with Broja. It’s unclear whether or not they’ll be able to continue.
2 min The free kick comes to nothing, Nick Pope gathering with ease. Newcastle get a free kick of their own, which is cleared.
Chelsea get us started. Broja is fouled almost immediately by Fabian Schär, giving the visitors a free kick out wide on the left.
St James’ Park observes a minute’s silence ahead of Remembrance Sunday. We’re about to get under way.
Five minutes to go until kick-off. Can you feel the hype?
Newcastle have dropped to fourth after Tottenham’s 4-3 win against Leeds. Chelsea remain eighth.
Asked about Hall’s first Premier League appearance, Potter is full of praise for the 18-year-old. “You saw his quality against Manchester City [in the Carabao Cup in midweek], he’s calm under pressure, he can take the ball and take responsibility. He gets up and down the pitch, he gives you good width and attacks the box when he can.
“He miscued a couple against Man City in the week, but [he’s got a] great attitude and a good temperament. So, again, it’s exciting for him and I’m looking forward to seeing him play.”
Potter tells Sky Sports that Sterling and Cucurella have been ill, which is why the former is out of the squad and the latter has only made the bench. He suggests that Sterling should be fine to travel to Qatar with England.
The warm-ups are in progress. We’ve got a little under 20 minutes until kick-off.
Here’s a stat for you. We all like stats, don’t we?
Potter, by contrast, has overhauled the team which lost 1-0 to Arsenal last Sunday. In attack, Armando Broja and Conor Gallagher swap in for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Raheem Sterling. In defence, Thiago Silva and Marc Cucurella make way for Kalidou Koulibaly and Lewis Hall, with the latter making his Premier League debut. Plus, Kai Havertz is out and Mateo Kovacic is in. That’s five changes in total.
Howe has made two changes to the side which beat Southampton 4-1 last weekend, a victory so emphatic that it did for Ralph Hasenhüttl. Chris Wood and Joelinton come in for Callum Wilson and Jacob Murphy, giving Newcastle a bit more height across their front line. Joelinton was suspended for the Southampton match but, having been integral to the team under Howe, his return is no surprise. Wilson has been ill this week, which explains why Wood starts.
… and here’s the Chelsea lineup.
Here’s Eddie Howe’s starting XI.
It’s going to be an introspective Christmas for Graham Potter if Chelsea drop more points this evening. Winless in four in the Premier League and down to eighth, the new manager bounce is well and truly over. Having said that he intends to use the winter break “to rejuvenate, to recover, to reflect and to improve”, Potter could do with something positive to ruminate over. Another setback here would conjure up bleak images of him sporting an enormous shaggy beard, sitting in an isolated cabin in the Swedish tundra somewhere and staring absently into a log fire with the wind whistling outside.
Of course, with Newcastle up to third and looking ominously good, Chelsea will need a much-improved performance to emerge victorious. With two goals in their last four matches, their faltering attack has been an area of particular concern. Newcastle, meanwhile, have the joint-best defence in the league, having conceded only 11 goals all season. That could be a troublesome combination for the visitors.