Chelsea continue their unbeaten ways as the West Londoners saw off opponents Newcastle in a very tough game for the Blues. Newcastle, under the management of former Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez crafted a very defensive, yet solid display for much of the game with the Chelsea attack simply unable to break down Rafa’s ragtag army.
It was clear from the first kick of the game how Newcastle would play in a new look 3-5-2 formation, sit deep, absorb pressure and then pounce utilizing the speed of Deandre Yedlin and Jacob Murphy. For the Newcastle fans, it was as dreary as the weather was in Tyneside. But it was a game plan designed to frustrate Chelsea, and for 45 minutes it did just that with Newcastle keeper Dubraka untroubled in the first half.
Yet Chelsea, spearheaded by talisman Eden Hazard grew stronger and stronger in the second half with Newcastle’s defence coming under increasing strain after each attack. But it was only centre-back Antonio Rudiger who came the closest to breaking the deadlock with a 25-yard effort from the German smashing against the Crossbar, although it only seemed to spur the Blues on even further.
That strain still seemed to catch up with the Magpies defence with Newcastle centre-half Fabian Schär felling Spaniard Marcos Alonso in the penalty area in the 75th minute, a controversial penalty was awarded by Paul Tierney. Which Eden Hazard calmly put away.
Despite a more defensive performance Newcastle’s best period in the match was after the Magpies switched to a 4-4-2 formation, with former Stoke City Man Joselu leading the line.
The magpie’s equalizer came after former Spurs man Deandre Yedlin lofted in a perfect ball to Joselu, with the Spaniard creating a peach of a header to beat countryman Kepa Arrizabalaga at the near post in the 83rd minute.
The goal itself was owed in part to Yedlin elbowing Frenchman Olivier Giroud in the face, which the Frenchman went to ground for. The Chelsea backline switched off allowing Joselu the time and space he needed putting Newcastle level with 7 minutes to go.
Yet it was Deandre Yedlin who turned from Hero to Zero late on in the match sending a Marcos Alonso shot into the back of the net courtesy of his toe, in all fairness it was a tough situation for the American international with Ross Barkley lurking just behind him it seemed a certain goal regardless of who poked it in.
The problems only seemed to get worse for Rafa’s winless Newcastle with the notable omission of Captain Jamaal Lascelles reportedly occurring due to a training ground dispute, with Lascelles refusing to play in a back 3.
When asked about a possible rift he stated the reason for Lascelles omission was due to “a number of players were injured” with the England defender included on the list. Newcastle will next face reigning champions Manchester City as Newcastle fight to get out of the relegation zone.
For Chelsea, the mood from Sarri was a bit happier than the one of Benitez, yet the Italian praised Benitez’s gameplan stating “the opposition was very compact and we needed to move the ball quickly and be patient.”
Chelsea, who are currently unbeaten under Sarri will next face Bournemouth as “Sarriball” hopes to roll onto another win and the Blues hoping to capitalise on their early season good fortune.
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