26th August, 2018
It was more or less a narrow escape for Chelsea as they won against Newcastle 2-1 courtesy a late own goal from DeAndre Yedlin to bag another 3 vital points away from home.
As expected for this game, the Chelsea Manager decided that it was time for Eden Hazard to start a game for Chelsea and so the player was thrown in right from the very beginning.
He was not the only one as the man on loan from Real Madrid, Kovacic was also thrown in to the fray from the beginning as well. What formed the coach’s decision on this?
This is what he had to say:
“I don’t know if Eden Hazard is able to play for the whole game but I think it’s time for him to start. He has worked for three weeks and now I want to give him minutes on the pitch. It’s the same with Matteo Kovacic, who will be a very important for us this season.”
The manager also decides to keep faith with Morata as his choice for the attack while Giroud awaits his opportunity on the bench.
In the game itself, Chelsea came out blazing as expected and controlled the game for most parts of the first half as Eden Hazard shows why the team cannot just let him go for now.
He is unarguably the “tormentor-in-chief” for the Blues as he keeps the opponents busy chasing him all over the place and having to be stopped mostly through fouls.
It must be mentioned that Jorginho for the umpteenth time in his short spell with Chelsea has been very impressive as usual in the midfield also.
However, the Newcastle lads were able to hold their own in terms of not conceding a goal in that hectic first half.
The second half was a replica of the first as Chelsea continued to dominate the game and search for that elusive goal but the Newcastle players kept defending with everything they have and simply trying their best to avoid conceding. It was more like an attack versus defence training session.
In a bid to change the way things were going the Chelsea manager decided he had seen enough of Morata and substituted him with Giroud in the 66th minute.
That was quickly followed by another change as Pedro was replaced by Willian three minutes later.
The manager was surely gradually losing his patience and wanted to see something more productive than the dominating passing game his team was playing.
Those changes seemed to have had some effect as Chelsea came close to scoring almost immediately as Rudiger’s ferocious shot beat the Newcastle goalkeeper only to hit the bar. That was at least an improvement on the part of Chelsea.
It got better for the Blues as Alonso gets brought down in the penalty box and the referee awards a penalty to Chelsea. Who else to take the penalty other than Hazard? He tucked away the ball neatly into the net for the much awaited first goal for Chelsea in the 76th minute.
Thereafter, the game turned on its head.
If the Blues thought it was now going to be easy to overrun the home team, they were mistaken as Newcastle equalised in a brief moment of loss of concentration by the Chelsea players as Joselu scores with a brilliant header in the 83rd minute.
The goal was protested vehemently by the Chelsea players because of an infringement in the lead to it but the referee refused to budge. Giroud had been flattened by an elbow from Yedlin, at which point a number of the Chelsea team stopped playing but the opponents did not do same.
Then came another drama in these last crazy minutes of the game. Four minutes after the Newcastle goal. Alonso hits a low right-footed volley towards goal and fortunately for Chelsea, it hit the outstretched left foot of Yedlin and dribbled into the net. Was this a case of Karma?
What a game this was for both teams as it came very alive in the dying minutes and Chelsea can consider themselves lucky not to have thrown away the three points at the end.
The line-up for the two teams were as follows:
Newcastle United (5-4-1) Dubravka; Yedlin, Fernandez, Schar, Clark, Dummett; Ritchie, Ki, Diame, Murphy; Rondon.
Substitutes: Darlow, Sterry, Atsu, Longstaff, Muto, Perez, Joselu.
Chelsea (4-3-3) Kepa; Azpilicueta, Rudiger, David Luiz, Alonso; Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic; Pedro, Morata, Hazard.
Substitutes: Caballero, Zappacosta, Christensen, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Giroud, Willian.