Newcastle 1-2 Chelsea: Rafa’s approach deemed ’embarrassing’ but we almost got a point

Rafa Benitez opted to shift to a very defensive 5-4-1 but it wasn’t enough to keep Chelsea at bay, as they left St.James’ with a 2-1 win thanks to some good fortune.

A dubious penalty and  a late own goal from Deandre Yedlin meant Joeslu’s fine header in between was in vein as Benitez ‘parked the bus’; NUFC only had 18% possession in the entire match. It is another defeat though and with more tough games coming up, it isn’t a great start for the season for Newcastle.

Pre-match discussion centred on the surprise exclusion of key players Jamaal Lascelles and star midfielder Jonjo Shelvey were left out of the opening line-up, both due to injury according to the club. Rumours continue to circulate that captain Lascelles and Benitez fell out over tactics through the week which saw the former Forest man banished form the squad. True or not, it’s another off the field distraction we don’t need. Shelvey will be absent for a few more weeks with an ankle injury accordingly to Benitez post match.

The reshuffle did mean starts for four summer signings – Schar, Ki, Rondon and Fernandez. Schar was unfortunate to give the penalty away after winning the ball and Ki was quiet in a game where we didn’t have enough of the ball to judge him fairly. Rondon led the line well with next to no service but Fernandez had a promising game following his summer switch from Swansea and looks an able deputy to the injured Lejeune.

Murphy didn’t offer much in the place of the ineligible Kenedy but again, Newcastle were so defensive (Like Man city at home last season) it really was an impossible task at times for our forward players. Newcastle were a shadow of the confident aide who thrased Chelsea 3-0 at SJP on the final day last year and opting to be so defensive is frustatign when it doesnt come off. The gamble didn’t work for Benitez but we were 3 minutes away from a credible draw before Alonso forced Yedlin into a poor own goal.

It does though give external ‘pundits’ to criticise Newcastle  – Jamie Redknapp being the latest to call our approach ’embarrassing’. It is worth countering that it is poor to watch and frustrating but we have the smallest budget in the league; due to Ashley anyway. It is our large crowds that mean pundits judge us differently.

We need to stay United as we have City and Arsenal next, where we could easily be in the bottom three if we allow negativity to grow. Arsenal are vulnerable defensively so let’s hope to see a more open come when they visit after the international break but for this game, Newcastle’s defensive didn’t quite pay off.

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About Simon Riddlesden

Lifelong Newcastle United fan and East Stand season ticket holder. Observations from a supporter who has followed NUFC during Champions League participation and through relegation, taking me from Milan to Scunthorpe.

85 thoughts on “Newcastle 1-2 Chelsea: Rafa’s approach deemed ’embarrassing’ but we almost got a point

  1. I think I’m almost done with this team… we are so ****ing **** it is beyond belief… a ****ing championship team have destroyed us. RIP NUFC…


  2. Don’t want to see Atsu or Kenedy again. Murphy got to be first choice. We were lethargic, didn’t win second balls. Not fit.


  3. Kenedy’s last couple of performances show why it’s a nonsense to rely on him as our stand out player and major signing.


  4. 3rd game in a row a penalty is the talking point!!.
    Schar got the ball at the weekend and it was a pen, the keeper gets none there and it’s not …. I’m lost off with this sport now.

    Great composure and finish from Rondon – and I think we done enough to take it to penalties.

    Mind you, Kenedy wouldn’t have got one!! – sorry but if he’s what £25m buys you then I’m pleased we only got him on loan.


  5. I can excuse a player for having an off game but I have no time for players not trying. Kenedy was a disgrace.


  6. Rafa has his work cut out for me. There is clearly now a problem within the squad. The lack of ambition from the top has finally reached the players. They look disinterested and completely devoid of confidence and look, quite frankly to be wondering what the hell theyre doing here!


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