Newcastle 2 Chelsea 1
Newcastle 2 Chelsea 1
Saturday 6 December 12.45pm
Not being well enough to go the Chelsea match, I had to watch it on telly. I was gutted to miss a huge game, but felt grateful to have watched an amazing game by the end.
The first fifteen minutes had each team testing the other out, then Chelsea started getting the ball to Hazard, who looked fast, clever and very dangerous on the ball. “Oh, no!” I thought as, one after the other, world class players looked to break us down.
They couldn’t do so though and we came back into the game looking the stronger heading into half-time and having had the best chance when Ayoze Perez neatly slipped the ball to the onrushing Colback, who had his shot saved by the oncoming giant, Courtois.
That looked to be it but Rob Elliot injured his thigh taking a goal kick, just before the whistle, and it was clear that he wouldn’t be returning.
On came 21 year old Jak Alnwick, whose last senior game was three years ago for Gateshead, making his debut for Newcastle United. Was the script already written for this young lad?
Chelsea came out with a bit more purpose and dominated possession, without really creating anything. Alnwick’s first part in this play was to flatten none other than Diego Costa. He wasn’t scared of anyone. We eventually broke up to Ameobi, whose cross was mis-cleared by Cahill and it fell to, an acutely aware, Papiss Cisse (on for Cabella 8 minutes after the start of the second half) to side foot first time into the net, past the Belgian keeper. 1-0 against one of the best teams in Europe.
Again, Chelsea came onto us, but the team played with guile, spirit and character, to a man, to stop them getting any reward. Colback was imperious in midfield, Ayoze showed great defensive nous and strength. Our returning captain, Coloccini, was superb and as brave as a lion, but everyone simply put their backs to the wall and got stuck in.
Then Hazard hit the post. Could we last out. Colback made another superb tackle in midfield, the ball fell to Perez, who was fouled, but referee Martin Atkinson played a fantastic advantage as Colback picked up the loose ball, slipped it through to Sissoko, who was through on goal, but the ball fell behind him as he was surrounded by defenders with Courtois bearing down on him. He managed to swoop his leg around and passed to Cisse who’d ran in support and he passed the ball into the net. 2-0 against a team unbeaten in the league. Could we?
It wasn’t over yet and the already booked Saylor rushed out and flattened Schurrle. He had to go. Down to ten men and Drogba scored from Fabregas’ free kick, with Alnwick making his only mistake. Ten minutes left and down to ten men. Could we still?
It really was trench warfare after that, real backs to the wall stuff as Chelsea had all of the possession and tried everything to get in behind us, then resorting to long balls to be knocked down. Bodies were flying in to block the ball at every turn.
Six minutes extra time was somehow added. Mourinho had been complaining about the time it took when the ball went out. Pardew was furious, the fans had no nails left. It was real theatre, but they couldn’t break our lines and Alnwick made a couple of great saves. The ball finally came out to Cisse, who headed for the corner flag and the ref whistled to end an amazing game.
We fully deserved to get something out of that game. Chelsea played their big guns, but they weren’t on form as we broke up every attack. Cisse and Alnwick were the heroes on paper, but every man was superb.
Tiote played a few misplaced passes and gave away possession a few times, but he really got stuck in. Mourinho said that he had no complaints and then proceeded to complain. He actually blamed the ball boys at one point. The man is pathetic and he couldn’t simply give any credit to a team who outfought, outbattled and outwitted his own team, who were made to look poor until Drogba came on.
Alan Pardew deserves credit. He played Cabella, who was ok, but wasn’t really in the game, brought Coloccini back, moved Dummett, dropped Gouffran and rested Cisse until the second half, because of his continuing knee injury, and gave the day off to Abeid, who had to play against Burnley with a broken toe.
He took Cabella off, but replaced him with goal hungry Cisse and dropped the impressive Perez further back and played on the break. It worked. We’ve only been beaten once at home so far this season, by the Champions, and we’ve stopped Chelsea from gaining the invincible title this season, which obviously riled Jose Mourinho.
23 points from 15 games and 2 points off the top 4, at least for now, is very good for a team riddled with injuries.
A great win and if you read my post from yesterday you’ll see that I’m doubly happy!
Team: Elliot (Alnwick 46) Janmaat, Coloccini, Steven Taylor, Dummett, Colback, Sissoko, Tiote, Ameobi, Perez, Cabella
Unused Subs: Williamson, Haidara, Anita, Gouffran, Riviere, Cisse
Ref: Martin Atkinson
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