Saturday 3 December 2011 12.45pm (Sky Sports)
Newcastle United 0
“I am going to have to look at the rule book, it’s a sending-off, it’s as simple as that. It changed the game.”
“He’s in on goal and he brings him down. I do not understand the logic of referees when that happens. I genuinely believe that the referee got that wrong.” Alan Pardew
If you are a football fan, maybe the most essential ability is to recognise the difference between a poor performance and a poor result.
This was a poor result.
If anybody still doubted that Jonas is a vital player for us then that should have been finally swept away today. Lovenkrands actually did a few decent things going forward but gave very little cover to Ryan Taylor…and cover was most definitely needed as once again one of the ‘better’ teams targeted our left-back position.
Daniel Sturridge made hay all the first half, in every aspect apart from putting the ball in the net. Tim Krul denying Sturridge at least four times and even when he won a penalty, our Dutchman made a superb save from Lampard’s spot-kick.
Ahhh but I’m forgetting one small detail, on four minutes we should have been playing against ten men for the remaining eight six minutes.
Ba was played through the middle and last man Luiz scythed him down with nobody within five yards and a clear route to goal. If the referee cried foul (which obviously it was) then it had to be a red card but Mike Dean came up with the only impossible scenario.
Unbelievably, Dean cried foul but only gave a yellow card, a bottler of the highest order.
No doubt the media will be playing that incident every two seconds over the next week, or maybe not.
Anyway, Chelsea took the lead just before half-time with a Drogba header, Ba having gone close twice at the other end.
Shola replaced Ben Arfa for the second half and all credit to our eleven for how they then took the game to them. I couldn’t put my finger on any particular thing but Newcastle clearly had the better of the half and only the woodwork denied Newcastle several times.
Chelsea of course had their moments but Alan Pardew has patently given this team a structure and a belief. Time after time Newcastle manipulated the play so that they freed up the pass for Guthrie and Cabaye to pick out the wingers in space.
The combination of (bad) luck and wasted chances came back to haunt us though as Chelsea scored two late goals to give a totally undeserved scoreline.
A disappointing result but a day that suggests we can look forward to better times ahead.
Newcastle United: Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (c) (James Perch 28), Ryan Taylor, Gabriel Obertan, Yohan Cabaye, Danny Guthrie, Peter Lovenkrands (Sammy Ameobi 71), Hatem Ben Arfa (Shola Ameobi 46), Demba Ba.
Subs not used: Steve Harper, Davide Santon, Dan Gosling, Leon Best.
Chelsea: Petr Cech, Branislav Ivanovic, David Luiz, John Terry (c), Ashley Cole; Ramires, Oriol Romeu, Frank Lampard (Raul Meireles 60), Daniel Sturridge, Didier Drogba (Fernando Torres 79), Juan Mata (Salomon Kalou 74).
Subs not used: Ross Turnbull, Jose Bosingwa, Ryan Bertrand, Florent Malouda.
Referee: Mike Dean
Attendance: 52,305 (2,987 away fans)