Newcastle made it two wins in a week by beating Cheltsea 3-2 at St James’ Park this afternoon.
The victory means that we stay in 15th place in the league but we now have a six point cushion over the relegation spaces which gives us some much needed breathing space.
It’s also the first time under Alan Pardew that we’ve come from behind to win a match and if we show the same desire, intensity and quality throughout the rest of the season I have no doubt that we’ll soon start creeping up the league and we can start forgetting about relegation and perhaps start looking towards finishing in the top-half of the table, something which would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago.
Our new signings have done the business so far and they have made a difference. Yoan Gouffran was excellent today, full of running and tricks giving us an outlet in attack but the main praise has to go to Moussa Sissoko. The former Toulouse man was outstanding and whilst people laughed when I pointed out that some had compared him to Patrick Viera I’m at least hoping they are starting to see why that comparison was made by those in the know.
Newcastle started off brightly and imposed their authority on the game without really creating much in front of goal. The tide of the game levelled out though soon afterwards as both sides struggled to create chances. The home side undoubtedly had the best of them though with Papiss Cisse wasting a couple of chances and Yohan Cabaye threatening from distance.
Demba Ba, on his first return since his move from Tyneside to Chelsea, had a miserable day. His only real chance fell when he shot at Tim Krul and headed the parry wide, and he got a broken nose for his efforts and was withdrawn shortly afterwards. However he departed the field after witnessing his new side fall behind. Yohan Cabaye fed Davide Santon on the left and the Italian crossed for Jonas Gutierrez to head home for his first goal in just under a year.
On balance of play United deserved the lead. Chelsea could only muster one shot at goal while the home side managed much more and could have perhaps been more than one goal to the good as the half-time whistle blew.
Half-time: Newcastle 1-0 Chelsea
Chelsea came back into things with a bang in the second-half though, whether it be down to a rocket up the backside from Rafa Benitez or an inability from our side to get started in the second period, but the away side drew themselves level with their second attempt at goal as Frank Lampard fired an unstoppable shot past Tim Krul from 25 yards.
That was on 55 minutes and by 66 minutes the home side found themselves behind courtesy of another goal of superb quality, scored this time by Juan Mata who curled the ball round Krul leaving the Dutchman with no chance of making the save.
At that particular moment I had a familiar feeling and thought we’d end up with nothing from a game which has started off so well for us. However Moussa Sissoko had other ideas and restored parity by marking his home debut with a goal just five minutes later. Papiss Cisse set Yoan Gouffran free on goal only for Petr Cech to block the shot from the former Bordeaux man. Fortunately it fell to Moussa Sissoko who was following up and slotted the ball into an empty net.
The game ebbed and flowed from then on with both sides looking likely to snatch three points. My personal highlight though was again from Sissoko who chased down a long ball forward and beat Ashley Cole in a sprint over a 30-yard chase which saw the Frenchman’s shot at goal tipped wide by Cech.
Sissoko was not to be denied though and just a minute from time he sealed the three points driving home low past Petr Cech after Santon’s perfectly weighted pass.
Chelsea tried for an equaliser and Steven Taylor put a part of his body on the line he’d probably rather have not used to block a late effort from Frank Lampard, but it epitomised our spirit and in the end, possibly being a bit biased but I personally don’t think so, we deserved to take the three points.
Full-time: Newcastle 3-2 Chelsea
I expected nothing from the game today so to grab the win was an absolute bonus as far as I’m concerned. This team will be nowhere near relegation providing they can keep this up and stay injury free, and with Hatem Ben Arfa to come back into the fray things can only get better in an attacking sense.
It was a team effort today, but Moussa Sissoko stood out. For £1.8 million we’ve grabbed a stunning bargain and I’m glad we brought him in now rather than waiting for the summer. He looks a class act already.
The scenes immediately after Sissoko grabbed the winner were brilliant also. All players and manager celebrating together with Alan Pardew central to the celebration. From that alone I think the rumours that he had “lost the dressing room” can be put safely to bed.
Howay the lads!
Newcastle: Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon; James Perch, Yohan Cabaye; Yoan Gouffran, Moussa Sissoko, Jonas Gutierrez: Papiss Cisse
Subs: Rob Elliot, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, Gael Bigirimana, Vurnon Anita, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, Shola Ameobi
Chelsea: Petr Cech; Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Ashley Cole; Ramires, Frank Lampard; Oscar, Juan Mata, Ryan Bertand; Demba Ba
Subs: Ross Turnbull, Paulo Ferreira, Cesar Azpilicueta, Nathan Ake, Yossi Benayoun, Marko Marin, Fernando Torres