Newcastle came out of the gate putting ten men behind the ball, clearly content to absorb pressure and keep the Blues from getting in behind. For the first 45 minutes that worked very, very well, as Chelsea struggled to create from open play with their best opportunities coming from set pieces.
The second half saw the same eleven players take the pitch for both sides, and Newcastle's approach to the game looking to be more or less the same. The hour mark brought a pair of like for like subs, with Samuel Eto'o and Willian replacing Fernando Torres and Juan Mata.
Several minutes later, a perfectly executed set piece resulted in a Newcastle goal, and Jose Mourinho responded with an Andre Schurrle for Frank Lampard swap. Things really picked up for Chelsea at that point, with the Blues creating quite a few excellent chances.
Unfortunately, Newcastle added a second and put the game to bed. Chelsea will now head back to London without a point, and looking up at one or more rivals. Here are a few thoughts in the immediate aftermath of this one
- I know the pitch today was pretty lousy, but the lack of movement from Chelsea's attackers today was pretty sad. It fell on David Luiz to play the long ball far too often because he just had no other options.
- I'm sure the comment section is going to turn into one giant bitchfest about who y'all can blame for the first goal, but sometimes a perfect pass just happens to find an excellent run. That's obviously something Newcastle were working on at the training ground, and they executed it to perfection.
- This (thankfully) isn't related to the Chelsea match, but for all you Americans reading, the Ajax/Vitesse game will be streamed on ESPN3 at 1:40 pm EDT, 10:40 am PDT. Here are the listings for elsewhere.