Chelsea overcame a resilient Newcastle side 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Saturday, with Marcos Alonso scoring the all-important goal. ?
The game started frantically, with the hosts dominating the early possession, but the Magpies looked bright on the counter.
Nonetheless, Frank Lampard’s men had two glorious chances to take the lead midway through the first half, but Willian headed wide and Mason Mount saw his shot parried away by Martin Dubravka.
The Blues made a bright start to the second half and were unlucky not to take the lead ten minutes in. Tammy Abraham saw a header cannon against the bar, before he put another header just over moments later. The pressure continued to mount as substitute Christian Pulisic saw his effort blocked from point-blank range by Dubravka.
The pressure eventually told as Chelsea opened the scoring after 73 minutes through Alonso, after some nice build-up play from Callum Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic. The home side saw out the rest of the match and picked up a vital three points.
Here’s the breakdown of the game.
?Key Talking Point
Although Newcastle beat Manchester United in their last match, many were expecting an in-form Chelsea to ease past their opponents. However, the Blues were lethargic in the early stages and appeared somewhat fatigued, with needless mistakes creeping in.
As a result, the hosts struggled to create too many opportunities in the first half and could well have found themselves behind at the break, but they got away with it. However, the speed and intensity of the play increased and following numerous missed opportunities, Lampard’s men were eventually able to find a way through.
STAR PLAYER – It was not a vintage performance, but this isn’t to say there weren’t any impressive performances. Willian and Hudson-Odoi were both exceptional, but we’ve decided to go with the Englishman.
The teenager was a constant threat throughout the match with his pace, trickery and end product. He played a delightful cross for Willian in the first half, before setting up Mount with another chance.
As time went on, it seemed like Chelsea were going to be left frustrated, but following some neat work by Pulisic, Hudson-Odoi was on hand to thread Alonso through and he was able to put his side ahead.
I love the way Hudson-odoi is playing! His decision making has gotten better since he came back from injury. ?#CHENEW
— Webbie mulla (@WebbieMulla) October 19, 2019
Key Talking Point
Steve Bruce’s men claimed a vital three points last time out when they overcame Manchester United thanks to a debut strike from Matty Longstaff. That performance was filled with steely determination, desire and quick counter-attacking play.
And it was clear from the start of this game that the Magpies were looking to pick up right where they left off last time out, as they came flying out of the traps. The back three (or five) were resolute at the back, while the attack was lightning fast on the counter. In the early stages, the away side had some real joy through the Longstaff brothers, who were feeding the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron at every opportunity.
The two wingers had the beating of Cesar Azpilicueta and Alonso, with both struggling to contend with their pace. Although Lampard’s men were eventually able to find a way through and claim all three points, Bruce can take plenty of positives away from the game.
.@NUFC showing early initiative with a counter attacking type football. Looking to exploit Chelsea’s weakness (Defense). #CHENEW
— Hemant Kumar (@SportsCuppa) October 19, 2019
STAR PLAYER – Each time any Newcastle midfielder got the ball, they would look up to see both Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron breaking forward. While both caused havoc with their pace, it was Saint-Maximin who was the primary threat.
The summer signing is lightning fast and proved it over and over again at Stamford Bridge. With the ball sticking to his feet like glue, he would accelerate away from three or four Chelsea players, before looking up and playing a pass or cross.
Perhaps what was most impressive was that he worked tirelessly throughout the match to support his defence, while also making lung-busting runs to get forward and support lone striker Joelinton. The club and Bruce will be hoping he can stay fit, as he has the ability to change games.
Chelsea next face a trip to Amsterdam to take on Ajax in the Champions League. The Blues then return to league action the following Saturday, playing Burnley at Turf Moor.
Newcastle, meanwhile, will be hoping for a strong showing when they host Wolves at home, before travelling to face West Ham at the London Stadium.