Antonio Conte watched his team fall a goal behind to Newcastle after 12 minutes through Dwight Gayle’s opener.

However, only 21 minutes later Chelsea were in front and heading for another comfortable three points.

Conte said after the game that he was especially pleased to win because of the ‘advantage’ Newcastle held going into the match.

That ‘advantage’ being the fact that the hosts played 24 hours later than Newcastle in midweek.

Not much of an advantage when the opposition have 11 players on the pitch, plus many more on the bench and others not even in the matchday squad, who are far superior to what the visitors had.

Antonio Conte also had the luxury of bringing in the likes of Hazard, Moses, Drinkwater and Azpilicueta, none of whom had started in midweek against Swansea.

The gulf in class and cash spent on the respective squads means for me that even if Chelsea had played on the Friday night, they would still then have had far too much for Newcastle on Saturday lunchtime.

Five of Chelsea’s bench cost £140m, with the two others being England defender Gary Cahill who was bought back in 2011 for £8m, plus Willy Caballero who Newcastle wanted as their first choice keeper in the summer but Ashley even blocked a free transfer move for him due to the high wages.

All seven on Chelsea’s bench would automatically have started for Newcastle and have been our best players.

This chasm that Rafa Benitez is trying to deal with when it comes to returning to the Premier League with a seriously underfunded squad is daunting.

When it comes to playing teams that have flashed the cash, it arguably looks little easier with the next few clubs coming up, as whilst they may all have had their relative problems: Leicester, Everton and Arsenal have put serious investment into their squads.

Antonio Conte:

“I think our start wasn’t good enough. After going 1-0 down, we started to play with good intensity and good football. Our start was a bit slow.

“We did well after only two days’ rest. It was a solid performance despite the goal. We showed good motivation and good intensity. I made rotations in the game and the response of my players was positive.

“I think that today, to play and win after two days of rest means a lot. Newcastle had the advantage with one day more of rest.

“I think we must be pleased, a good answer of all my players.

 “Today another good finish, it is not simple to go 1-0 down and have the right desire and will to fight and will to win this type of game. It was very important to take three points and we did this.

“I think Hazard played a really good game. I think he enjoyed a lot playing this type of football. He is an important player as we can change, change our system. He can play as a second striker, he can play as number 10.

“Today Eden and Alvaro showed a great link and I saw a lot of good combination play. I am happy.

“But you know very well in this league there is a team doing extraordinary things, that is Manchester City.

“Otherwise I think stay there with the other teams. At the same time it is important to look at ourselves and go step by step and go game by game.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Chelsea 3 Newcastle 1


Newcastle: Gayle 12

Chelsea: Hazard 21, 74 Morata 33

Possession was Chelsea 66% Newcastle 34%

Total shots were  Chelsea 23 Newcastle 8

Shots on target were  Chelsea 9 Newcastle 2

Corners were  Chelsea 11 Newcastle 4

Referee: Kevin Friend

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Manquillo, Clark, Lejeune, Mbemba, Ritchie, Diame (Shelvey 75), Merino (Yedlin 85), Murphy, Perez (Hayden 62), Gayle

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Joselu, Mitrovic, Aarons

Crowd: 41,538 (Newcastle 3,000)

(Read what Rafa Benitez said after the defeat in West London HERE)

(Alan Shearer gives honest assessment on Chelsea defeat HERE)

(Instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to Chelsea 3 Newcastle 1 – Read HERE)

(Danny Murphy can’t believe this Newcastle player can’t get in the team – Read HERE)

(Mikel Merino speaks after the 3-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge – Read HERE)

  • Stephen

    It’s like being the poor relations invited to the big house for a family do.
    Worse still poorer than Brighton and Huddersfield add to that Wolves.
    Does a 50k+ home crowd and a football mad City/Region count for nothing?

    • Leicester Mag

      Sadly it does and has the opposite effect to that desired. It allows the fat beef hooker carte Blanche to do what the hell he wants to. Perennially mugged and faces rubbed in it into the bargain. The latest sham sale only adding to the delusion that comes from hope and passion. #gtbo

      • Stephen

        I think he will sell if he can get out with a profit
        If we were relegated again he wouldn’t get his initial investment back and historically he would father sell than buy in the transfer market.

  • Phil Yare

    strange comment. I will never understand the premier leagues obsession with rest even highlighting the tiniest of margins as some kind of colossal advantage.
    If it bothers the likes of conte, mourinho and wenger that much why don’t they all refuse the TV money and we can all play 3pm on a saturday? for clubs like chelsea, man utd , arsenal and man city isn’t that a total contradiction especially with their unmeasurable gain on champions league TV money and advertising?

  • steve

    We all know how bad Ashley is without having to make up facts, Caballero chose Chelsea over us, not a massive surprise.

  • Albert Stubbins

    Having eden hazard in your team is the biggest advantage any manager in the league could possibly have though Antonio!!

  • Kneebotherm8

    The depth and quality of Chelsea’s squad meant they could have played two different teams well capable of beating NUFC.
    What a load of tosh Antonio.

  • TheFatController

    The problem isn’t actually with Conte, it’s with the inability of the media to state the obvious back to managers, which would make managers look as stupid as they are sounding.

    But in fairness to the reporters, when you do ask awkward but obvious and fair questions, you sometimes can be threatened with physical violence (or exclusion) to intimidate you never to ask those type of questions again…

    And the manager found guilty of such intimidation has just been employed again. Condoning therefore the threatening of media reporters if they question managers in ways that state the obvious but are awkward.

    Makes you proud to be PL…

  • Monkseaton Magpies

    Hazzard was the difference always is when we have played them in recent years.
    No reason why we cannot beat them at home if Rafa plays his strongest team in their right positions which cost us two goals alone.