Thomas Tuchel’s side head to St James’ Park looking to maintain or build on their early one-point lead at the Premier League summit, with main rivals Liverpool and Manchester City also in action on Saturday afternoon against Brighton and Crystal Palace respectively.
Centre-back Andreas Christensen also required surgery on a tooth issue, while midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek experienced hip pain.
Tuchel expressed hope that all three of those players would be back in contention for the trip to Tyneside, with N’Golo Kante also expected to return after missing the demolition of Norwich due to muscle tightness and Christian Pulisic nearly ready after being absent since the early September international break as the result of an ankle injury sustained on duty with the USA.
And Chelsea confirmed that all of Azpilicueta, Christensen, Kante and Pulisic were back in full training at Cobham on Thursday morning, with no mention of Loftus-Cheek.
Pulisic’s return will be particularly welcomed by Tuchel with the Blues currently short on forward options with Romelu Lukaku (ankle) and Timo Werner (hamstring) both sidelined, with Kai Havertz spearheading the attack in the duo’s absence.
The German confirmed that Lukaku and Werner would definitely miss both the games against Norwich and Southampton and he will be expected to provide a further update on their respective recoveries when he conducts his pre-Newcastle press conference on Friday.