Well that had to happen sometime, but at least Chelsea made it mildly entertaining towards the end. We are invincible no more, having gone up to St. James' Park and done what we usually do at St. James' Park, which is merrily poop ourselves. A 2-1 loss later and that 23-game unbeaten streak is up in smoke, but more importantly with three points dropped that previously comfortable cushion we have atop the Premier League is looking rather thin.
The first half looked promising. Well, promising-ish. After the pain that was the 0-0 draw at Sunderland, we at least looked reasonably threatening. Branislav Ivanovic was getting forward on the right and providing a useful outlet. Eden Hazard was repeatedly drifting past Daryl Jaanmat and causing trouble in the Newcastle ranks. Cesc Fabregas was finding space in the middle. The only thing that was missing was the goal, and if play kept up, it would come.
Come it did, but at the wrong end of the pitch. The hosts had looked intermittently threatening before the break, with Jack Colback forcing Thibaut Courtois into an excellent save at one point, but they stepped it up in the second and were rewarded with a goal. John Obi Mikel missed a diving header from a free kick (Paul Dummett was sitting on him, which might not have helped), and from the subsequent goal kick Newcastle went right up the other end of the pitch and scored a goal.
Quite what Ivanovic and Gary Cahill were doing remains unclear. The Serbian, as is his wont, allowed a low cross to come in from the right, which wouldn't have been the end of the world but for Cahill letting the ball go straight through his legs. John Terry and Courtois stared in mild disbelief as Papiss Cisse, on as a substitute, stabbed in to give the Magpies a 1-0 lead.
On came the substitutes. By the 70th minute Chelsea were playing with two up top, Didier Drogba having joined Diego Costa in menacing Jak Alnwick's goal. But changing the structure of the team allowed Newcastle to play on the counterattack, and a bizarre sequence of play saw Moussa Sissoko seemingly lose control of the ball before squaring to Cisse to make it 2-0 with barely 15 minutes left to play.
So far, so bad. At 1-0 we looked like we could have scraped an equaliser -- Hazard hit the post just before Cisse's second -- but down 2-0, all hope seemed lost. And then we were handed a lifeline through Steven Taylor, who got himself sent off for a second bookable offence (he hacked down André Schürrle). With Drogba scoring immediately after the man advantage, the stage was set for a furious comeback.
Except it never materialised. Chelsea failed to use their chances well, and Alnwick came up big whenever the Blues looked remotely threatening. There was no panic, which was refreshing, but neither was there much in the way of a coherent plan. Which makes some sense -- this was not a position that we've found ourselves in so far this year, and it's not a huge surprise that we found it difficult to deal with. Not even six minutes of stoppage time could save us.
And just like that, the run was done. Fortunately it means that the media will have to ask questions that don't involve the word 'unbeaten' in press conferences; unfortunately it means that we dropped three more points at what seems like it might be a pivotal moment. Jose Mourinho might claim that Chelsea are playing too well to have bad runs, but four points in three games is woefully bad form for a team with title expectations, and it is his job to ensure that we bounce back in a hurry.
Feeling [bad/angry/negative emotions here] about the game is fine for now. But after that, let's get off the ground and kick some ass.