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.