Newcastle United faced Chelsea this afternoon in what turned out to be an exciting encounter between the two sides which ended up with Chelsea winning 3-0.
The result flattered the visitors and didn’t reflect the performance that the team put in while Newcastle will feel aggrieved with Mike Dean’s failure to send off David Luiz after he denied Demba Ba an obvious goalscoring opportunity.
The first four minutes of the game proved to be very exciting when Demba Ba was felled by the Brazillian David Luiz outside the penalty area. Many in the ground thought the punishment for Luiz would be red card but to the crowd’s dismay he was only shown a yellow.
That decision was the game changer of the match and it allowed Chelsea to have a full eleven when they should have been down to ten men.
The interesting change was that Peter Lovenkrands was brought in for Jonas Gutierrez, much to the confusion of the Newcastle fans. He did provide some good crosses but he was fairly quiet in the game and didn’t provide much cover for Ryan Taylor. Ultimately Lovenkrands was very ineffective during the match and it certainly showed when he was taken off to be replaced by Sammy Ameobi.
There was a fitting tribute to Gary Speed when in the eleventh minute of the match, the crowd stood up and began singing and clapping in memory of him. It was a tremendously moving moment and highlights how well loved the Welshman was on Tyneside.
In the 14th minute of the game things Were to go against them when Yohan Cabaye was adjugded to have fouled Daniel Sturridge in the penalty box. Replays showed that Sturridge was very clever and looked at Cabaye before he came across. Put simply he was looking for the penalty but Cabaye should have known better than to stick his feet in when in the penalty box. Up stepped Frank Lampard only to see his weak effort saved superbly by Tim Krul.
Tim Krul had another fantastic game in goal for the Toon and he pulled off numerous saves in order to deny Daniel Sturridge and his colleagues when they were through on goal. He has shown that he has really grown into playing regular football for the team and his decision making was top notch again today. He knew exactly when to come out and when to stay on his line.
The team were dealt a huge blow when Fabricio Coloccini had to be replaced by James Perch with a thigh injury. He had already made several vital stops for the 28 minutes that he was on the field and we certainly seemed to miss his presence at the back when Chelsea were attacking. Perch did a good job of filling in at the back, he grew as the game go on and I was very impressed with the display that he put in.
Newcastle made several chances of their own, one notably being when Danny Guthrie fired in a cross which Demba Ba headed against the post only to see the rebound hit John Terry and David Luiz before finally going out for a corner. Demba Ba had also been denied by Cech only a few minutes previously and it seemed like whatever Newcastle threw at him, he managed to stop us from finding the back of the net.
The deadlock was broken when in the 38th minute, a well worked throw in found its way to Juan Mata who then crossed for Didier Drogba to head into the back of the net. Yohan Cabaye had lost track of Mata and equally James Perch did not mark Drogba close enough to put him off from heading the ball.
After the break, there was a change in formation for the Newcastle side. Alan Pardew reverted to a more familiar 4-4-2 system rather than the 4-3-3 that was played in the first half. Shola Ameobi came on for Hatem Ben Arfa who still showed signs of rustiness and I expect it will take a while before we see the player that we did in his starts last year. The change seemed to work, we looked more fluid and comfortable on the ball and it gave us the option of using Ba and Ameobi to put pressure on the opposing centre-backs.
There seemed to be more chances for Alan Pardew’s side in the second half, but it was almost like today was not going to be our day. First Drogba headed against his own crossbar, Shola Ameobi fired wide with a 25 yard effort after he found space in the middle of the pitch and Sammy Ameobi was unlucky not to have scored when his left-footed volley was cleared off the line by John Terry. Once again the Magpies were denied by the woodwork when Shola Ameobi’s well struck effort had Cech beaten only for him to see it hit the post.
In the final few minutes of the match, Fernando Torres found Salomon Kalou who slotted home to make it 2-0 to the visitors. There was another blow for Newcastle when Steven Taylor was forced off the pitch to leave Newcastle with ten men. Soon after Daniel Sturridge, who looked dangerous throughout the match, finally got one past Tim Krul to make it 3-0 deep into injury time.
There was no element of luck on Newcastle’s side today and the team will feel aggrieved that Luiz was allowed to stay on the pitch when he should’ve been sent off. The team battled hard but we certainly missed the presence of Cheik Tiote in the centre of the park and the superb work rate of Jonas Gutierrez to cover Ryan Taylor.
There is a lot for Alan Pardew to work on for next week’s away trip to Norwich City and he will be concerned about his defence more than anything, especially as Steven Taylor’s injury is being reported as a rather serious one.
Howay the lads!
Newcastle: Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Ryan Taylor; Gabriel Obertan, Yohan Cabaye, Danny Guthrie, Peter Lovenkrands; Hatem Ben Arfa; Demba Ba
Subs: Steve Harper, Davide Santon, James Perch, Dan Gosling, Sammy Ameobi, Leon Best, Shola Ameobi
Chelsea: Petr Cech; Branislav Ivanovic, David Luiz, John Terry (c), Ashley Cole; Ramires, Oriol Romeu, Frank Lampard; Daniel Sturridge, Didier Drogba, Juan Mata
Subs: Ross Turnbull, Jose Bosingwa, Ryan Bertrand, Raul Meireles, Florent Malouda, Salomon Kalou, Fernando Torres