The winning run came to an end on a wet, grey day on Tyneside when after a first half in which the woodwork denied Chelsea a deserved lead, a much-improved performance by Newcastle after the break yielded them goals.
Yoan Gouffran, from a set-piece, and Loic Remy, in open play as Jose Mourinho’s men pushed for an equaliser did the damage, denying the Blues the chance to move to the top of the table and inflicting our second league defeat.
There were two changes from the side that had beaten Man City in the league outing last Sunday. David Luiz came back in for Gary Cahill who had started the last three games and Juan Mata, a scorer against Arsenal, was preferred to Andre Schurrle.
Newcastle made two changes too from their last league game, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa comes into central defence and Shola Ameobi replaces Hatem Ben Arfa in attack.
The first 45 minutes of this Saturday lunchtime game suggested anything but a Newcastle win and Chelsea will be asking why the performance level of the first half wasn’t reproduced after the interval.
We looked a side capable of making it seven wins on the spin right from the off, with Eden Hazard threatening with runs on the left.
Just before kick-off the rain had begun on Tyneside and became steadily harder in the opening minutes of the first half but that wasn’t dampening the determination.On 12 minutes Chelsea won a corner, played in by Mata, and from it both Terry and then Ivanovic had headers hit the bar. Ivanovic’s was deflected towards goal but didn’t dip quite enough to beat the woodwork.
Newcastle had a couple of attacks in the first 10 minutes, Ivanovic blocking a shot by Yohan Cabaye and Terry there to clear with a header when the ball broke free, but those apart, Chelsea were well in control throughout the opening 45 minutes.
Midway through the half, Hazard and Mata exchanged a series of passes in among black and white shirts inside the home area but when the ball came out wide the Cole, he could only find the arms of Krul with his low shot. Mata had been tripped during the move with replays showing there could have been a claim for a penalty.
David Luiz appeared to have licence today to advance with the ball and play passes through the inside-right channel with Ramires dropping behind his compatriot to cover. It looked only a matter of time before one those passes from the centre-back paid dividends, but Newcastle were keeping Chelsea at bay.
As the half entered its final 10 minutes, the industry of Torres and then Oscar won two corners in quick succession. The second was headed down and on-target by Terry but Santon stopped to clear it off the line. Newcastle broke up the other end but Sissoko’s shot which skidded along the wet turf was pouched by Cech.
On 41 minutes, the same Newcastle player was booked for a nasty-looking late challenge on Ivanovic.
The half closed with Chelsea having dominated possession, yet our chances had come from set-pieces. Could we do more from opening play after the restart?
Newcastle were forced into a switch seven minutes into the second period when their captain, Cheick Tiote, who had been given a tough first half by Oscar, was lost to injury. Vurnon Anita was his replacement. There were injury concerns for Chelsea moments later when Hazard slipped and stayed down in pain. Happily, after treatment, he continued on.
Terry had to be well-positioned to block and clear from Ameobi after the striker had been allowed past by David Luiz. Suddenly Newcastle were a threat and Sissoko was found in too much space on the right. His low shot was touched wide by Cech, and Remy’s strike seconds later was straight at our keeper.
Mourinho decided it was time for changes, bringing on Eto’o for Torres and Willian for Mata. Newcastle swapped strikers at the same time – Papiss Cisse on for Ameobi.
Before any of the new arrivals could have an impact, Gouffran tested Cech who was up to the challenge with a save low down at the near post.
However our keeper was denied the chance to celebrate moving clear today as Chelsea’s sixth-highest appearance maker of all time when Gouffran did find the net with 67 minutes played.
The goal came from a free-kick, a very well-directed one by Cabaye, and the Frenchman had escaped in front of the markers to head in. Cech this time had no chance.
With his side trailing, Mourinho made his final switch, Schurrle on for Lampard with Ramires now the single deep midfielder and the Blues with more bodies pushed up.
Eto’o tried to make something happen when the ball came his way on the right of the area but had a shot blocked by a prostrate Magpie. At the other end Terry, with quality defending, prevented Sissoko from doubling the Newcastle lead.
David Luiz was booked for a late challenge and then Ramires was carded for dissent after a foul.
On 79 minutes Newcastle rode their luck. Oscar played the ball into Willian whose powerful shot was saved by Krul. Eto’o was quickest on to it but Debuchy had the fortune to be in the right place to block.
When the ball came to Hazard 15 yards out with 86 minutes played but he drove it wide of the post with his left foot, the feeling was growing that Chelsea’s chance had gone.
That was confirmed two minutes later when Newcastle took advantage of the visitors pushing forward. The ball came into our area from the left and Remy fired it past unguarded Cech via the inside of the post to make it 2-0.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1):Cech; Ivanovic, D Luiz, Terry (c), Cole; Ramires, Lampard (Schurrle 69); Mata (Willian 61), Oscar, Hazard; Torres (Eto’o 61).
Unused subs Schwarzer, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Mikel.
Booked D Luiz 74, Ramires 78.
Newcastle (4-3-3):Krul; Debuchy, Williamson, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon; Sissoko, Tiote (c)(Anita 52), Cabaye; Gouffran (Obertan 84), Shola Ameobi (Cisse 61), Remy.
Unused subs Elliot, Taverner, Ben Arfa, Sammy Ameobi.
Scorers Gouffran 67, Remy 88.
Booked Sissoko 41.
Referee Lee Mason.