If you were to say that you were expecting a Newcastle United loss at Stamford Bridge, nobody would likely have begrudged you much. If you were to say that on the heels of a 4-0 hiding at the hands of Wigan Athletic, you'd probably be in with the majority of people. It was the lads' task on this Wednesday to right the ship and re-establish themselves in the race for the Champions League.
Chelsea started brightly starting right away with their tactic of a steady diet of chips over our defensive line and very nearly saw the idea rewarded early on. It was the kind of early match performance that we've seen before and which usually indicates a match in which we never get our footing- but true to form this season, surprise was the order of the day. Footing was found, and Newcastle began moving the ball around comfortably and you could see the confidence growing in the squad.
"Regular service has been resumed" was the broadcast call following Papiss Cisse's 12th goal in his last 12 matches. We've seen him score the clinical as well as the inspired, and if possible, this one was both. From an on-floor cross from Davide Santon, Cisse popped the ball in the air with one foot and placed home with the other from 18 yards out. A deserved 1-0 lead was unlucky not to be 2 heading into the break as Demba Ba came ever so close to breaking his goal-scoring duck, crashing a header against the bar from a corner kick late in the half.The second half (and some spillover) in talking-point format:
- Jon Obi Mikel knocked Cheik Tiote out of the match right around the hour mark with a deliberate high elbow aerial challenge. I believe that the word you'd be looking for here is filthy. I get that Tiote had fouled him a minute earlier, but I don't have a problem with a player going up with straight arms... when you crook the elbow and stick it in someone's temple, this is a problem.
- Demba Ba And Papiss Cisse are clearly not always on the same page... and it seems like they could be further apart than it looks like they are. In the first half, Cisse had the ball driving the end line and played across at the 6 yard box for Ba... who had stopped his run for a cut-back ball. In the second half, Ba made that run towards the net and Cisse didn't deliver the ball. The cameras caught them a time or two discussing and gesturing- not anything aggressive or anything... but I don't think that they're as complimentary as Cisse's goal-scoring form lets on.
- Davide Santon - Moments of brilliance, including his vital header off the line from a Frank Lampard header... but every now and then, a really inexplicable mistake that is going to cost him in the long run. Hopefully he grows out of this.
- Papiss Cisse. That is all. Watch this space for video of his amazing second goal because as soon as it's available it will live here.