Newcastle ending talk of Chelsea ‘Invincibles’
A lot of Chelsea fans were rightfully nervous coming into the match with their most vital defensive player, Matic, out due to suspension. Coupled together with Diego Costa seemingly slowing down his scoring rate, and Newcastle providing stern opposition to Chelsea in recent years.
The match started quietly before Chelsea found their stride and forced Newcastle on the back foot. Willian had two big chances and Chelsea were hitting Newcastle on the counter with Hazard exploiting the space left behind by Janmaat. After a big Fabregas opportunity following a blocked Hazard shot, Newcastle were slowly allowed more time on the ball and began to look more comfortable in possession. They had held of the first wave and could now create chances of their own.
After 32 minutes they did just that. Mikel was drawn out of position following a Cabella run and Sammy Amoebi’s pass was flicked on by Perez to Colback who was through on goal. Cortouis saved the effort, but Newcastle was growing in confidence.
The game continued to ebb and flow as both teams had chances and play. The earlier threat from Hazard had been stifled by him moving to the left, where Dummett did not give him the time or space he enjoyed on the left.
Just before half time, following an Oscar overhead kick Newcastle’s second string keeper Rob Elliot picked up an injury and had to be subbed of at half time.
Newcastle made it to half time not conceding and were growing in the game and Chelsea would have been kicking themselves for wasting their chances.
Jak Alnwick (21) was brought on for Elliot and announced himself after only a few minutes with an excellent punch from a Fabregas free-kick, levelling Costa in the process.
After 52 minutes Alan Pardew took out a poor Cabella for Cisse. The latter continued his great scoring record against Chelsea just minutes later. Following a hopeless Mikel header from a good Fabregas free-kick Newcastle continued their strong second half play as Cisse latched on to a cross that Cahill failed to deal with in the 57th minute. Cahill has been looking very shaky at the back off late, something which must be worrying the defensive-minded Mourinho.
Newcastle continued to press on after the goal and Sissoko came close with a header following a corner in the 60th minutes
Chelsea threw on Drogba and Luis to give them more strength on attacking crosses. Despite the increasing Chelsea pressure Newcastle defended well with captain Coloccini leading the line masterfully again after a three game absence.
Newcastle’s second goal came similarly after a big Chelsea chance as Hazard hit the post from a Shurrle cross. Sissoko and Cisse provided strength and pace on the counter. The latter slotted home the finish perfectly 38 seconds after Hazard hit the post.
Drama was added to the final minutes as Steven Taylor received a second yellow for a lunging tackle at Shurrle. From Fabregas’ free-kick Drogba headed home to make it 2-1. Chelsea pressed on hard for an equaliser, but Mikel’s floating balls were easily dealt with by Newcastle’s confident defending.
As the dust settled Newcastle were left celebrating a great victory with a clinical second half performance. Chelsea will be left ruing spilled chances and a Fabregas yellow card keeping him out of their next game. However, finally for Chelsea the rash talk of ‘invincible’ can be put aside. Alan Pardew’s success against Chelsea and Mourinho continues. Does this mean Pardew is now the Special One? Now that’s a harrowing thought.