Going to St James’ Park is no walk in the park, no matter what Newcastle United’s current form may be. After all, before yesterday, Chelsea had won there just once since 2012.
Therefore, it was a great to see the Blues simply dominate across all aspects of the game, scoring a goal in either half — save for a few nervy moments where it felt that the hosts could have turned things around with a bit more luck on their side. Thankfully that never came to fruition.
Head coach Frank Lampard was certainly pleased with the performance, though he would have enjoyed seeing the second goal arrive a bit sooner.
“It’s always smoother on the bench for me and the staff when you do wrap it up early, but it can happen. We played well, it’s not an easy game for us coming here against a very organised team.
“It was great to get the early goal, that changes the aspect of it, but the second one was then so important and we obviously had chances to get that earlier. Even after that we could maybe score again, but we can’t have it all our own way. There are days where you aren’t quite at it in front of goal, then we put the game away very well I thought in our professional performance.”
The first 20 minutes saw Chelsea with nearly 80% possession, and more importantly, not just inert possession, with the attacking trio of Hakim Ziyech, Tammy Abraham and Timo Werner leading the charge, even though Newcastle put 10 men behind the ball routinely, if not all 11.
Unfortunately that impetus did not last all game, but Chelsea were still able to find pockets of space, especially on fast breaks. And that’s how we got our second goal, by way of a marvelous run by Timo Werner and a cool finish by Tammy Abraham (his third match in a row with a goal).
“I thought the first 20 minutes we were great because we had control and we had penetration. We had people running in behind, we were getting in sight and making crosses. I think sometimes the danger of that sort of control is it becomes comfort, which is dangerous and we then turned it over a couple of times.
“So that was the message at half-time. They came out more positive in the second half and I always felt the real danger moments for us could be on transition and counter-attack, because Timo showed that two or three times in the first half and then obviously he shows that for Tammy’s goal.”
Step by step, Chelsea are proving to be a team that can suffocate opponents in midfield, be lethal in front of goal, and hold our pretty well at the back as well — in no small part thanks to the efforts of Édouard Mendy, who kept yet another clean sheet.
We could attribute such performances to a lucky streak or a good run of form from certain players. And that’s certainly helped. But dominating a Premier League opponent on their turf after a two-week international break shows that this is no fluke.
“We played well in patches and the result is key in these games because the Premier League is tough. It’s relentless and after the break where we were playing well and everyone goes in their own directions and comes back. I thought the lads dealt with the challenge of the game very well today, so I’m very pleased.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
Chelsea are the real deal.