The first half was typical of Chelsea lately. Generally boring, creating one or two excellent chances, and not managing to find the back of the net. Newcastle did mange to finish one or their chances though, and despite Petr Cech being generally excellent, Chelsea trailed at halftime by a 1-0 score.
The second half got underway with no changes from Rafa, although one sub had already been used when Demba Ba was forced to come off. Frank Lampard was clearly a little pissed about the missed sitter in the first half though, and absolutely buried the first halfway decent chance of the second half. 1-1 Chelsea, with about 40 minutes left to play. Then Juan Mata went all Juan Mata on the Newcastle goal, and things were looking much better indeed.
Chelsea would push forward for a third, and they'd get caught on the counter with only one defender back. While Petr Cech saved the initial blast, the rebound fell perfectly for Newcastle and ended up in the back of the Chelsea net. Newcastle would add a late winner, and Chelsea dropped three more points that they really should have had. Here are my initial thoughts after another generally disappointing loss:
- Isn't it nice to have Petr Cech back? We really could have been in trouble without another fantastic game from our keeper.
- We're pretty clearly not winning anything this season with the way we've been playing of late. Rafa keeps talking about "improvement" and "progress", but all I see is regression.
- I don't understand Rafa's aversion to making any sort of substitutions when Chelsea need to either score or defend. Maybe it's time for John Terry to start instructing players to strategically "come up lame" when the situation warrants it so that Rafa actually has to do his job.
- I don't understand the hate directed at Demba Ba today. He didn't agitate a move away from Newcastle, he had a buyout clause in his contract and agreed to a deal when a bigger, richer club that plays regularly in the Champions League came calling. He also pretty much single-handedly kept them out of the relegation zone this season, yet they booed him off the pitch after he probably broke his nose and suffered a concussion. Classy...
- Rafa Benitez needs to be sacked. Today. There really needs to be someone waiting in the tunnel right now. The fans hate him, the players aren't responding to him, and he just sucks at his job. Make everyone happy today Roman, and just sack the worthless guy that is supposedly managing this club. Now. Thanks.