The Blues have secured another valuable three points after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Newcastle United and have gotten themselves in the top four for the time being. Chelsea dominated the whole match with 71% possession and had 16 shots and 13 chances created to Newcastle’s 5 shots and 4 chances created. It would’ve been frustrating if the Blues didn’t come off victorious but a Marcos Alonso left footed screamer got the job done.
The match started off slow and the Blues had some sloppy passes that led to easy Newcastle counters. The Toon could not though take advantage of Chelsea’s mistakes and more than often lost it in the final third fairly easily. Saint-Maximin had some flashy moments including a play where he dribbled past several Chelsea defenders, including Mount, in a Newcastle counter but their final third decisions let them down.
Chelsea were a little complacent in their passing in the first half and could’ve moved the ball a little bit faster in order to break Newcastle’s compact defence. There was a wonderful linkup play between Tammy, Mount and Hudson Odoi where they had the chance to go up 1-0. Hudson-Odoi laid off a pass for Mount in the box but Mason only found the keeper, Dubravka who made an extraordinary save. Chelsea were starting to find pockets of space, especially on that left hand side, where Hudson-Odoi was bright and energetic and giving Yedlin some trouble. He managed to find players with his diagonal ball but Chelsea couldn’t convert any of the chances. Another great cross from Hudson-Odoi found Willian at the near post where the Brazilian had the chance to put the ball in but headed it wide. Alonso earned a yellow after a hard-nosed challenge on DeAndre Yedlin and was having some trouble defensively. The Blues made a first half change as Ross Barkley came off in the 43rd minute injured and Mateo Kovačić came on to replace him.
The second half started off better and Chelsea upped the tempo and were putting Newcastle under waves of pressure. Mason Mount came off after a subpar performance for the young American Christian Pulisic. Right off the bat, Pulisic made an impact with his pace and what looked like a 4-2-3-1 with Pulisic free up front to play off Abraham with Willian & Hudson-Odoi on the wings. Jorginho and Kovacic managed the midfield and each had a wonderful game, especially Jorginho who was dictating the game offensively with his needle threaded passes.
Newcastle weren’t closing off on the Italian midfielder and Jorginho had plenty of space to find his teammates in the second half. Chelsea were knocking on Newcastle’s door and the fans were getting behind the team but Bruce’s team were stubborn and made it hard for Chelsea to find the net. Christian Pulisic had the opportunity to immediately make a contribution after nearly scoring but Dubravka made another remarkable save denying the American youngster. The ball finally found the back of the net in the 73rd minute when Hudson-Odoi laid off an assist to Marcos Alonso who powered a shot past Dubravka. The Slovakian keeper managed to get a hand on it but Alonso put enough power into the shot the Blues were up 1-0.
Abraham had many opportunities to score this game but nothing was going his way. Give credit to Newcastle as they were neatly organised and not easy to break down especially in that first half. They made astonishing saves especially one from Yedlin who denied Abraham from scoring a tap in. It all started from a wonderful run from Kovačić who found Pulisic in the box and the American gently rolled it to Tammy but Yedlin came storming in for last ditch save. Hudson-Oodi picked up his fourth assist in 4 games and is continuing to contribute to the team and by far looked the most dangerous on the pitch. He became the second youngest player in the Premier League history to assist in three consecutive appearances, behind only Michael Owen. (@OptaJoe). He came off in the 90th minute for Reece James who would then come on as a right wing back converting the formation into a back three.
Newcastle made some last-ditch changes with the likes of Andy Carroll and former blue, Christian Atsu. The last 8 minutes were a little nervy as Newcastle were coming with everything to get an equaliser but Frank Lampard’s side squeezed out the win which has put the Blues in the top four for the time being with 17 points. Their next league game is away to Burnley at Turf Moor where they face Sean Dyche’s side but before that they will have to face Ajax away in the Champions League. This is a game which no doubt will be a tough fixture for the Blues as they hope to gain more points in the group.