When you remember some of the greatest wins in Newcastle United history, you think of matches against big clubs. Typically, you dont say, “Remember that win against Watford?” You think about 4-4 against Arsenal, Tino’s hattrick against Barcelona. You get my point.
I’m not saying yesterday’s 1-0 win over Chelsea is one of those games, but its certainly one that we wont forget for some time. That feeling of euphoria that we all got when Hayden put that ball in the net is not something that’s easily forgotten. Add the fact that we were home to Chelsea and is increases the magnitude of the moment.
Let’s be honest, the match was boring. There was about 3 or 4 opportunities for both teams the whole way, but it will be remembered for the magical moment that happened with 30 seconds left.
Going into this match the biggest question for NUFC was, were we going to get any of the 11 injured players back for this match. Questions were answered with the lineup announcements. A very positive lineup for Newcastle.
Startling Lineup: Dubravka, Krafth, Clark, Lascelles, Fernandez, Willems, Shelvey, Hayden, Almiron, Saint-Maximin, Joelinton
This was big news because of the arrival of Alan Saint-Maximin. It was his first appearance in a month. Shelvey also made his first start since his injury. As far as concerns with the lineup went, no strikers on the bench as Andy Carroll wasn’t fit enough and who knows what Gayle is doing with the transfer links surrounding him.
The match started and the formation started to take place. A 5-4-1 with Lascelles in the middle of the 3 CBs. Clark on the left and Fernandez on the right. Willems was Left-Wing-Back, Krafth was Right-Wing-Back.The middle was Shelvey and Hayden while up top was Saint-Maximin on the left, Almiron on the right and Joelinton in the middle.
Right from the start Chelsea took over from this match. Dominating possession. The only real positive for Newcastle in the early going was Almiron. He was very active and pressing high. His high press was able to cause two turnovers but nothing really came from then.
Then tragic struck. Willems went down from a serious injury. Willems looked to collide with Hudson-Odoi and immediately called to the sideline for help. Eventually, they needed to bring on the stretcher to get him off.
12th minute: Substitution Willems off for Ritchie
Ritchie just moved into Willems RWB spot. From there Chelsea went back on the attack. Dubravka made some really smart decisions and some key saves during the next stretch, but it was definitely all Chelsea.
Things took a little turn towards NUFC’s momentum at the 20 minute mark, and it was due to Almiron. He was a menace to Chelsea, pressing high, taking the ball, and attacking. NUFC were attacking Chelsea’s left side.
Almiron caused multiple defenders to track him which caused some other NUFC players to get free. Fernandez used that space and was able to cross a ball into the box. Joelinton rises above everyone and connected with the ball and it slams off the crossbar. A great chance by Newcastle.
The rest of its half ran its course. Dubravka made some great saves and as Chelsea continued their attacks, nothing ever came of them. On Newcastle’s attacks, there was nothing positive happening. Almiron was still dangerous and Rudiger was planted on Joelinton, giving him no space to work with.
Chelsea clearly dominated the match but when it came to the clearest chances, it was in Newcastle’s favor. When watching Newcastle’s backline, they moved with a lot of organization and would not let any Chelsea attackers through.
2nd half started and it continued with Chelsea’s domination in possession. As NUFC started to get more open, they eventually went back into their shell. One of the concerns of the start of the second half was Shelvey. He looked considerably slower than anyone else in black and white and seemed to be out-of-shape. On the attack, Shelvey failed to do what he does best which is pinging balls down the pitch in order to get ASM and Almiron behind the defense. That factor of their attack was non-existent. ASM and Almiron also switched sides from the first half. Now Almiron on the left and ASM on the right.
Chelsea had a lot of struggles trying to cut through the NUFC defense. It almost seemed like Chelsea gave up trying to do so, and resorted to simple-to-save shots from outside the box that never really challenged. When a player held the ball for too long eventually Almiron would get to them and get the ball away from them.
70th Minute: Substitution - Krafth off for S. Longstaff
I do my best to tell the truth and so far, I’ve been wrong about Krafth. He has not looked good at all in the past 3-4 months. It was a relief to see him come off. If NUFC had any weak link it was him.
Longstaff moved to the midfield alongside Shelvey and Hayden moved into Krafth’s spot as Right-Wing-Back.
RIght after this Chelsea got their best opportunities of the match. The first chance was Abraham sent into the box and he got around Dubravka, but the angle became too tight and Abraham lost balance and shot the ball wide.
The next chance was Jorginho crossed the ball into the box, Azpilicueta headed the ball down and Abraham got a hold of it. Dubravka blocked the shot and the ball trickled towards goal and Matt Ritchie cleared the ball off the line.
One of the reasons for these attacks was Hudson-Odoi moving to the left side of the pitch. He found a lot more freedom that way.
NUFC looked more tired and tired. Just trying and willing their way to a 0-0 draw. Their attacks lacked gusto and their defense was no longer making the runs they used to in the first half. They just relied on their bunker approach.
84th Minute: Substitution - Shelvey off for M. Longstaff
A few minutes after this sub, NUFC had a decent chance. Started by my MOTM, Almiron. He floated a cross to the back-post. ASM knocked the ball down and it went to Joelinton and he fired wide. It could of easily been a goal but it was an awful strike.
Bruce made a change right after that strike, moving ASM up top and putting Joelinton on the Left Wing.
Shortly after, it happened. The moment that makes you remember these types of matches, the moment where fathers will talk to their sons about, “Remember that match we went too when...?”.
90+4: GOAL 1-0 NUFC (Hayden)
St. James Park went into pandemonium! Ritchie hits a poor corner that was headed away and the ball went to ASM. ASM then delivered a beautiful cross into the box that connected to the side of Hayden’s face on the back post. The ball went off of Kepa’s wrists and into the net. WHAT. A. MOMENT.
NUFC 1, CFC 0
It wasn’t pretty at all, but I don’t know that anyone expected it to. NUFC did not have possession, but had chances and right at the death, they made it count! It is a massive 3 points that puts us level with Arsenal on points in the league. Our only goal came from our Right-Wing-Back, Almiron was so good, Joelinton had a good day as well (despite the missed chances) and Newcastle United walked away from a visctory against 4th in the table Chelsea.
Stats and Things:
- Newcastle sit in 12th place on the table with 29 points. They are now only 5 points from 5th place, 7 points from a relegation place.
- Chelsea have now gone winless in 6 of the last 7 matches at St. James Park
- Newcastle lost the xG matchup. NUFC had 0.84 xG and Chelsea had 1.81.
- Isaac Hayden led Newcastle in xG with 0.35. ASM led the team in xA with 0.42.
- PPDA (Passes allowed per defensive action in the opposition half) is another advanced stat is covered. For PPDA it is a bit of a non-factor for Newcastle because how much we bunker, a lot. But Newcastle gave up 25.30 PPDA against Chelsea. Chelsea gave up 4.30 PPDA
- xPTS is another stat predicting the amount of expected points each team were supposed to get based on match-play. Newcastle had 0.62xPTS and Chelsea had 2.15xPTS.
- Sunderland are still in League One
- Whoscored ranked each individual performance, these were the players the received a 7 or higher for Newcastle : Federico Fernandez (7.84), Isaac Hayden (7.50), Ciaran Clark (7.49), Jamaal Lascelles (7.45), Jonjo Shelvey (7.37), Martin Dubravka (7.23), Miguel Almiron (7.22), Matt Ritchie (7.20), Joelinton (7.19)
- NUFC are currently in 12th place. fivethirtyeight predicts Newcastle will finish the season in 13th place on 44 points. NUFC currently have a 10% chance to get relegated and a 6% chance on a top 10 finish. Below us, they predict as Aston Villa, Bournemouth, and Norwich to be relegated.
Steve Bruce said:
”They worked so hard. Talk about smash and grab or whatever you want to call it but the one thing we did do, you can’t fault them, was we defend really well.
”Of course, we have nicked it and sneaked it or whatever you want to call it but when you are playing against the big boys… Yes, we have to take care of the ball better for sure but you can’t fault them to a man with their effort and endeavour.
”The support here is the envy of most and they’re unique for their loyalty and the way they support their club.
”This club is everything here so when we score in the last minute with all the work that we’ve done, then of course it’s great and it takes the roof off. There’s a couple of times we’ve done it against the big teams, which is always nice.”