Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle: Dogged display ends in defeat – with zero shots on target

A valiant effort from those in black and white today, but a resilient defensive display ended in defeat thanks to a second half strike from Marcos Alonso.

I’m buoyed by our organisation at the back and the fact Chelsea really struggled to break us down in the main, but the fact we failed to have a single shot on target shows you where the big issues lie in this Newcastle team.

It was a solid first half with plenty positives. Chelsea could’ve been ahead if a Mason Mount shot wasn’t straight at Martin Dubravka, but we held our shape well, gave Abraham very little space and looked very organised as wel limited them to very few chances.

At the other end we hit them on the counter well and had an explosive outlet Chelsea were struggling to contain in Allan Saint-Maximin. That said, both Joelinton and Almiron lacked that killer instinct in the final third, failing to capitalise when presented with a few decent openings on the break.

I was content at half-time and felt we were well set to get a hard fought draw or even nick it, but the second half was very one sided, as if we’d used up the majority of our energy in the first 45.

We hung in, via a few key saves from Martin Dubravka, but Joelinton struggled, Saint-Maximin tired and we were no longer carrying that threat on the counter – meaning it felt a matter of time until Chelsea broke the deadlock.

Dubravka may have been frustrated not to have got a stronger hand to Alonso’s goal, but we couldn’t say it hadn’t been coming in the second half:

It was stubborn display and there’s positives to take from a defensive perspective, with Saint-Maximin looking a real threat in attack once again, but the lack of chances created is a real worry…yet again.

You can be as well organised as you like, yet it’s impossible to win games of football if you don’t score goals.

It’s good to see the defence looking organised, giving us a real platform to build on over the coming weeks, however we must carry a far more consistent threat in forward areas.

Joelinton is cutting a frustrated figure up top and Almiron continues to be all energy but little end product, so it’s now up to Steve Bruce to assess his options and create a formula that’s going to get us scoring goals and winning games – with us back in the relegation zone and facing Wolves, West Ham and Bournemouth in our next three.

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About Olly Hawkins

Olly has been a Junior Magpie from birth. As a season ticket holder and avid Newcastle United fan - he eats, sleeps and breathes all things NUFC.

58 thoughts on “Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle: Dogged display ends in defeat – with zero shots on target

  1. I find Man City hard to watch sometimes (they are on now). For all the pretty patterns and triangles and amazing skill their players have, and show, they still bore me 97.686 per cent of the time.

    That might be me being pedantic and it is only 96% of the time they bore me.

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  2. Olly: I totally agree with your assessment of the Longstaffs. They were good, but not spectacular.

    I was worried about all of the publicity but they seemed to handle it OK. I think they will do better against teams that are not as good a Chelsea and when the spotlight is off a bit. But there wasn’t much to fault or to cheer, which isn’t that bad against Chelsea away.

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  3. Another week where I’m torn.

    1-0 away to Chelsea isn’t terrible and we didn’t play badly. But that said, we could still be playing now and I’m not sure we would have had a shot on target let alone score.

    27% possession. 3 shots. 0 on target 🤦🏼‍♂️🤦🏼‍♂️🤦🏼‍♂️.

    Bruce has to change things up front.

    Joelinton just isn’t doing it. Gayle was slated for his lack of goals as a PL forward. But the big difference between him and Joelinton is at least Gayle was getting into positions to miss those chances – Joelinton isn’t even getting the shots in.

    Bruce also says that Almiron is struggling with confidence – then he has to change it!!. Bring him off the bench and see if that makes a difference – but keep starting him doesn’t seem to be working.

    We aren’t bad points wise, but performance and the stats we are putting out each week aren’t great.
    Teams know we are no goal threat and that will just encourage them.

    Just a bit disappointing I think.

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  4. Bruce is playing the Rafa way thing he hasnt got a Rondon,i also think we are very poor at crosses into the box,even if we played Carroll up front theres nothing in there to attack

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  5. I’ve now had enough of Joelinton. The guy’s a total dud. Him and Miggy could play all season and not score a single goal. I’d try a front 3 of Gayle, Carroll and Maxi. Even there problems arise. I’ve seen Carroll play about 90 mins now and I don’t recollect him kicking the ball.

    Chelsea are a good team and deserved the points.

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  6. georgio:
    I’ve now had enough of Joelinton. The guy’s a total dud. Him and Miggy could play all season and not score a single goal. I’d try a front 3 of Gayle, Carroll and Maxi. Even there problems arise. I’ve seen Carroll play about 90 mins now and I don’t recollect him kicking the ball.

    Chelsea are a good team and deserved the points.

    Think that’s extremely harsh.

    People see this big striker and presume he’s our new Rondon – he’s not. A totally different player who likes to play with the game ahead of him. We’re not playing to his strengths at all.

    A) we’re doing nothing but lump long balls to him. B) we’re not creating chances for him and C) there’s rarely anyone within 20 yards of him even when he does manage to hold it up.

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  7. I find those excuses rather weak Olly. I wanted to get behind him but he’s just not good enough for this league. Even if he manages a shot it’s a scuffed effort like his only goal. Waste of money and no upgrade on Joselu.

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  8. georgio:
    I find those excuses rather weak Olly. I wanted to get behind him but he’s just not good enough for this league. Even if he manages a shot it’s a scuffed effort like his only goal. Waste of money and no upgrade on Joselu.

    I think you’re missing the point. He’s not looked good enough so far because we’re playing a forward who was likened to Firmino as if he’s a 6ft 6′ battering ram.

    Bruce is NOT playing to his strengths – we’re not getting bodies close to him, we’re not creating chances for him and we’re simply lumping it long hoping for the best. Bruce is the one in all of this who isn’t up to it at PL level, not Joelinton.

    Weak excuses? You could put peak Papiss Cisse or Demba Ba in this team and both would’ve looked incredibly ordinary. If you isolate a striker, don’t create chances for them and do nothing but play long balls up to them (when long balls aren’t what they like), how is a player meant to impress and look good in a new league? (keep in mind he’s 23 also).

    It may be that things don’t work out for Joelinton and he couldn’t cut it at this level, but we’re making like ridiculously difficult for him.

    As for the Joselu comparison, you must be joking right?

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  9. Cannot see how you are defending Joelinton Olly.
    In the home game against Man Utd he contributed nothing. I have watched that game a few times and in one showing I deliberately watched only Joelinton. For the entire time he was on the pitch he hardly moved more than ten yards from the centre circle . He never came back to help the defence and he never went to look for the ball. He made very few challenges for the ball and lost the lot.
    I was amazed that Bruce kept him on the pitch for almost an hour before putting him out of his misery.
    Mr Bruce should do him a big favour and put him in the under 23 squad for the rest of the season.

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  10. That’s close to my assessment Sidekick. It may be harsh Olly but the PL is a harsh world. And I have seen Joselu play better than that. I get the stuff about position etc but would he be a better option than Maxi and Miggy supporting a proper striker?

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  11. To a large extent I agree with Olly. Joelinton ploughs a lone furrow and is usually marked by two or three men. We don’t get enough men forward or fast enough in support. His hold up play is quite good, he is strong but what’s the point of holding up the ball with no one to pass to. The way we play we should drop him and play Carroll, who is slow and done nothing so far, and resort to Division 2 football just lumping the ball forward. Most of the games I have watched this season we have been out run by the opposition both in speed and numbers.

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  12. We do run out of puff that’s for sure and that’s always been a problem, even under Rafa.
    We looked ok defensively, not brilliant but ok. Dubs pulled off two smart saves and Tammy really should of scored near the end of the game and Chelsea out ran and out played us second half.
    We have a major problem up front and some tough calls will now be needed from Steve in regards who starts and who gets dropped .

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  13. I have to say, I’m having my doubts about Joelinton too… I get the arguments that he’s isolated, but he cost £40 million… for that I expect more than a 1 dimensional striker … he should be able to make things happen more and at least get some shots on target… very disappointing so far.

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  14. I think we can all agree that Joelinton is not a £40 million player, far from it . If we were daft enough to pay that for him, which I doubt, it’s not his fault.

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  15. Goals, goals and no more goals. Shocked!

    I see Jabba met a couple of a Mexicans in London last week. It ended badly. I do hope they weren’t drug barons who don’t take kindly to disrespect…

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  16. I think a lot of people’s problems with Joelinton stem from the £40m price tag. A price tag that was a deliberate lie from Ashley to detract from the fury about sacking Rafa. I’d be surprised if the lad cost more than £10m and up to now he doesn’t look that good.

    I read your piece about it Olly, and yes lots of salient points made but I doubt you’d feel this way if he’d cost £3m.

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  17. Before we bought Joelinton many fans were annoyed that we had not made a big money signing and that other ‘ smaller’ clubs were spending more and therefore far more ambitious than us.
    I would bet that Ashley is now furious that he spent so much for Joelinton.
    I can almost guarantee that the £40m spend on Joelinton will be the last time that Ashley sanctions any transfer fee over £20m.
    The money should have been more wisely spent on developing the academy.

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  18. Fck me silly with a 10 foot pole.

    My 87 year old Aunt had stroke and I have to go back to Newcastle.

    I had plans to go to Scotland next year and brought it forward.

    These 5 star hotels are costing $50 a night. 5 star hotels in Chicago cost $300 a night.

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  19. Sidekick, it was Jabba who wanted joelinton, even when Rafa said he wasn’t value for money and that Rondon was proven and cheaper. Jabba said in his little statement/interview with Samuels that he was so keen on the lad he would stump up half the fee out his own pocket !
    Jabba doesn’t need an excuse for not spending big on players, by in large he just doesn’t .

    As for the fans, think most of us wanted more cash spent on proven players and a lot of us wanted Rondon who was relatively cheap for a forward.

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  20. The 10 foot pole remark was about the cost of hotels (cheap). Off season. RAIN. West of Scotland. I am coming back to mainly settle me Mam down. Her and my Aunt live about 200 yards apart and see each other every day.

    Anyway, I might go to the Bournemouth game.

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  21. Hope your aunt gets well soon, Eric.

    Don’t expect too many goals if you take in a match…

    How have we got so many players out of contract next year? It’s almost like we don’t have any plans for anything ffs!

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  22. It’s rubbish that’s for sure. I had a look at an Almiron showreel on the Mag site and the lad is banging fierce shots in from all angles. I know it’s the MLS but that doesn’t alter his ability to strike, to shoot. He’s been so timid for us it must be a lack of confidence.

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  23. georgio; I reckon Almiron will be dropped for Sunday. Bring in Gayle and have Joelinton play wide. I doubt we will see any other changes, but we will see Carroll on about 65 minutes for whoever is the most exhausted of the forwards.

    I thought the Longstaffs were OK but not great against Chelsea. I knew all that publicity would have an effect. It was a bit over the top. God knows how Ronaldo or Gazza dealt with it every week.

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  24. or even James Madison. The lad goes to a casino on a week off and it’s a national scandal. He was sent home by the England Doctor so it wasn’t like he was AWOL.

    It is not just the tabloids either. It is the so-called quality papers as well. And the regionals like The Chronicle. If it wasn’t for the football nobody would read that paper. Who wants to read about the latest burglary in Wallsend or Kenton which is about the only other thing in there…

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  25. Aye Mate, whilst your out can you pick me up a copy of The Chron because I really want to read that Newcastle Crown Court case about the latest Neanderthal to be up a granny in Byker for her 50 quid pension.

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  26. Tough game, we caught a hot Chelsea team who have turned around their season at the right time.
    they had 16 shots, half of which were on target and a further four blocked. Jorginho was a beast so we can’t blame our boys too much.

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  27. Aye, that’s 6 straight wins for Chelsea. They’re a much much better team than us with seemingly a better manager.

    11 goals already for Mitro. Good move Rafa.

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  28. The Joelinton argument is an interesting one.

    I have major question marks about his purchase. When you consider how little Ashley has spent and how long it was breaking our transfer record. Then, all of a sudden he’s spends £40m on one player – when he didn’t even have a manager in place – very suspicious imo.

    He was not a prolific scorer in Germany, so it was always unlikely he was coming to the PL to set it on fire.
    But I feel for him at the same time, because we are a team that has yet to have over 30% possession in any game so far. I’m not sure if there’s a game where we have had 15 attempts on goal – and id be surprised if we’ve had 20 shots on target so far this season.

    I know we’ve been hit with injuries so far this season. But I feel like Joelinton is a better player than we are allowing him to be just now.

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  29. Stuart was right about the goalscorers. We don’t have anybody really clinical.

    I would play Gayle.

    You can’t play Almiron on the right and then you have 2 other players who are basically the same – Joelinton and St Max. They all look like good players but need to settle in.

    And you cannot play Almiron, Joe and St Max in the same team. They are all too samey. Pick 2 and have Dwight in there.

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  30. Then you have Andy Carroll. His legs have gone. I don’t care if it is ankles, knees or groin!

    When we signed him the WHam fans said he was used up. He has to be a battering ram and that’s about it. So, Brucey, find someone to play off him or don’t play him (when fit 🙂 ).

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  31. Nickson has signed the same 3 players as forwards. That’s fine if we have an injury but they are all left side forwards FFS. Almiron, Joelinton and St Max all have the same skillset.

    It would be like signing 3 Michael Owens (when he was good). They can’t all play in the same team.

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  32. Not that shyte with the scarfs. Man U fans were doing that 15 years ago with the Glazers and they are still there.

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  33. Gayle has had plenty chances in the PL and he just doesn’t score goals regular enough. It says everything that he’s now our only hope.

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  34. I doubt Bruce will change from Rafa-ball after a 1 nil loss at Chelsea. The 3 up front are not even a 3 because they all work hard and track back. So, it is like a 5-5 formation with willing runners. Pardew-ball even. But no strikers if we need to hoof it.

    Luckily, we don’t have Timmy, Steven Taylor or Mike Williamson so it could work?

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  35. Olly:

    I will bet you a fiver that Almiron will be dropped and replaced by Gayle.

    My only question is who comes in for Schar.

    I am back in Newcastle on the 6th of Nov and will drop the fiver in a SBR charity place if I lose.

    Hell, I will just put the fiver in anyway 🙂

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