Newcastle earned their first league win in five in dramatic circumstances on Saturday afternoon, as they beat Chelsea 1-0 at St. James’ Park.
Newcastle had the first real chance of the game, when Joelinton’s header thundered off the crossbar. Chelsea responded soon after with two big chances of their own, with Tammy Abraham’s creative backheel coming off the bar and N’Golo Kante denied by Martin Dubravka.
The second half began with far less energy, though the Blues came close to breaking the deadlock. The ball came across to Willian in acres of space, but the Brazilian could only drag his effort wide in a squandered chance for Frank Lampard’s men.
Chelsea kept banging on the door, desperate for a goal. Abraham took the ball around Dubravka but couldn’t convert from a tight angle, before the Englishman’s deft close-range flick was calmly hooked off the line by Matt Ritchie.
Finally, right at the end, Newcastle snatched the three points in incredible fashion. Four minutes into stoppage time, Allan Saint-Maximin put the ball back into the box, as Isaac Hayden headed it home to send Tyneside into pandemonium and secure a dramatic win for the Magpies.
Key Talking Point
With four league games without a win and sitting just four points clear of the relegation zone, Newcastle were vying for a result on Saturday. They started the game positively and had a glaring chance to take the lead when Joelinton’s header smacked off the crossbar.
That proved to be the closest they came all afternoon, with the Magpies failing to really threaten their visitors’ goal. However, they were organised and resolute in defence, staying firm and organised to keep out the opposing threats in a very sound defensive performance.
Finally, Newcastle did the unexpected and snatched the three points in the most incredible way possible. The Magpies showed incredible character and determination to keep fighting for the winner, in what is a famous victory for Steve Bruce’s side in a hugely dramatic finish.
Starting XI: Dubravka (7*); Krafth (6), Clark (6), Lascelles (6), Fernandez (6), Willems (N/A);
Almiron (7), Shelvey (6), Hayden (7), Saint-Maximin (6); Joelinton (6).
Substitutes: Ritchie (6), S.Longstaff (6), M.Longstaff (N/A).
STAR MAN – The Magpies wouldn’t have been able to snatch the winner in the last minute without Martin Dubravka’s performance in goal. He smothered and shut out every chance Chelsea had on his goal, earning a thoroughly deserved and satisfying clean sheet.
Key Talking Point
Chelsea had the momentum of back to back wins and clean sheets, and looked comfortable amid the Newcastle pressure. Once they settled into the game they were in full flow, attacking the hosts from all angles and breaking down their defence bit by bit with some strong crosses.
It soon became clear that the Blues were in cruise control, yet had nothing to show for their possession and close efforts on goal. They pushed for the breakthrough but couldn’t find it, and as the game progressed they seemed to lose the momentum built and started to lose energy.
What happened in the final seconds was unacceptable, losing the game in the most painful way possible. Chelsea were underwhelming all game but the way they threw the game away in the dying seconds is utterly astounding- there are a lot of questions that must be asked of Frank Lampard’s side.
Starting XI: Arrizabalaga (6); James (7*), Rudiger (6), Christensen (6), Azpilicueta (6); Kante (7), Jorginho (6), Mount (6); Willian (5), Abraham (6), Hudson-Odoi (6).
Substitutes: Barkley (6), Emerson (6), Batshuayi (N/A).
STAR MAN – Chelsea’s best moments came from Reece James, who put in another outstanding display. His fantastic crossing and tireless work down the right flank is no new sight but a brilliant one to see, in an excellent individual performance amid a poor team one.
Newcastle are in midweek action on Tuesday, facing Everton at Goodison Park. The Magpies will then look to progress past the FA Cup fourth round for the first time in 14 years, with Oxford United the visitors to St. James’ Park on Saturday.
Chelsea have a tasty London derby up next, when they welcome rivals Arsenal to Stamford Bridge on Tuesday. The Blues then travel up north in the FA Cup, meeting Championship side Hull City next Saturday.