Newcastle United was forced to take a loss against Chelsea, their first at home against the London club in seven years. I’d even say that the win was handed to Chelsea when the referee made the decision to hand a penalty to Chelsea on what was actual contact with the ball by defender, Fabian Schar. I digress.
The first thing of note is the Ritchie kick on Eden Hazard. The phsycality against the Belgian superstar was noteworthy due to his struggle to create any offense against the magpies throughout the game. It wasn’t until his penalty kick that he managed to get the scoring going.
Newcastle United started the game off with three at the back. But don’t let that fool you. The club was playing heavy defense, it almost seemed like they perpetually parked the bus. Rafa Benitez was completely prepared for a Chelsea offense ready to score, and the Newcastle United defense wasn’t going to have any of it. The defense was solid all throughout.
It was the offense that struggled, because Benitez was so heavy on the defensive play. Newcastle’s possession was terrible, as they faced onslaught after onslaught from Chelsea. The defense managed to create a tight space with little room for Chelsea forwards to get into, meaning the defense really controlled the flow of play on Newcastle’s end of the pitch.
The game itself was mainly uneventful because of this. It wasn’t until the 76th minute that a penalty was called on Fabian Schar that gave Chelsea a chance to score. Hazard buried the goal into the top corner of the net, where Dubravka had no chance to save it. This play is what opened up the game.
Desperate after finding themselves behind Chelsea on the scoreboard, Newcastle United’s offense pace picked up significantly. A longball into Chelsea’s part of the field, DeAndre Yedlin made a jump for the ball, elbowing Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud in the face as he does it. While that could have been called a foul, the whistle was never blown and the flag never put up; the ball was still in play. Landing a beautiful cross to none other than Joselu who landed the ball on the other side of the goalkeeper to tie the match at 1-1. Yeah, Joselu.
But the euphoria was to be short-lived. DeAndre Yedlin’s assist quickly turned into an own goal on a shot from Chelsea midfielder Marcos Alonso. Newcastle United was never able to recover from the blow, and the match ended at Newcastle 1-2 Chelsea.
Some match statistics:
19% Possession 81%
6 Shots 15
2 SOG 3
16 Fouls 8