There is never a good time to face Chelsea, it’s an especially daunting task when you have lost your last two with one of those defeats being to your fierce rivals.
Going into the game it wasn’t all doom and gloom, we did produce arguably our best display last season against Chelsea in a 3-2 home win. Couple that up with the fact that Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has never been victorious at St James’ Park as a manager in his prior attempts. Could this surprising stat give Newcastle a boost of confidence ahead of kick off?
The best of the early chances fell to the visitors, with John Terry’s thundering header coming back off the crossbar.The Chelsea captain saw a second header cleared off Tim Krul’s line by Davide Santon, from the clearance Newcastle went on an attack of their own with Moussa Sissoko seeing his respectable effort gathered by Cech. Chelsea enjoyed most of the first half possession in a rather tame 45 minutes of football in difficult weather conditions.
The visitors did look comfortable in the first half but were unable to capitalize and hurt Newcastle when it counted. My opinion is that neither team looked especially bothered in the first 45, both sides could argue that they had to compete in the cup mid week. The wet and greasy conditions couldn’t of helped the quality either.
The second half was a lot livelier from the home side. Remy, Gouffran, Sissoko and Debuchy came out looking like they really wanted to win the game. Sissoko, the man who tormented Chelsea last season caused the Londoners yet more problems. The Frenchman ran on to a perfect through ball from Debuchy and from a tight angle managed to get his attempt on target with the Chelsea keeper tipping the ball away for a United corner.
Newcastle kept the pressure on with Yoan Gouffran and an energetic Loic Remy both being credited with on target attempts. The fans in the stadium felt an upset could be on the cards with Newcastle showing great persistence and energy- something that has been missing at times over the last year or so. The lads were playing some nice and exciting stuff this second half and it really deserved some reward.
That reward came when Newcastle were awarded a free kick. Yohan Cabaye stood over the ball, he was called over to the touchline by Pardew to receive instruction ahead of the set piece. Alan appeared to barking quite specific orders to the midfielder who looked happy to oblige. Following the tactical chat Cabaye returned to position and whipped the ball into Chelsea’s box, the delivery was perfect and was greeted with a diving header from Gouffran to put Newcastle one up.
Stand in captain Cheick Tiote was replaced with Vernon Anita who looked very lively following his introduction. Papiss Cisse also got a second half run out, replacing veteran Shola Ameobi although Cisse didn’t have much influence on the game. Anita however would set Loic Remy up for United’s second late on in the game, with the Dutch ace squaring the ball to Remy following some good work with fellow subsitute Gabby Obertan down the flank. Remy hit the ball on the spin with the ball going in off the post, leaving Petr Cech helpless.
The game was won and you could see what it meant to the players, who celebrated the second goal with a young disabled fan. The result and performance was welcomed by the fans and players alike who have endured a difficult week following the Sunderland defeat and Wednesday’s cup exit at the hands of Manchester City. For a man who’s long term future is still uncertain Loic Remy looked like a man bursting with pride after he secured the win and celebrated his goal. There again he may just be very excited about his goal bonus? 😉
One thing is for certain that second half spell was something we should all be proud of and it’s all about maintaining those high standards. If we played like that every week it would be wonderful whether it resulted in a win or even a loss. Take note Alan, you did good! Not the most detailed write up, but actions speak louder than words!
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Mike Williamson, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Davide Santon; Moussa Sissoko, Cheick Tiote (c), Yohan Cabaye, Yoan Gouffran, Shola Ameobi , Loic Remy
Newcastle Subs: Rob Elliot, James Tavernier, Sammy Ameobi, Hatem Ben Arfa, Papiss Cisse, Gabby Obertan, Vernon Anita.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Petr Cech; Branislav Ivanovic, David Luiz, John Terry (c), Ashley Cole; Ramires, Frank Lampard, Juan Mata, Oscar, Eden Hazard; Fernando Torres.
Chelsea Subs: Mark Schwarzer, Cesar Azpilicueta, Gary Cahill, John Obi Mikel, Willan, Andre Schurrle, Samuel Eto’o
Referee: Lee Mason