MATCH REPORT: CHELSEA 2 NEWCASTLE UNITED 0

Summary
The Blues remain at the top of the Premier League, albeit having played a game more than most of our rivals, after a 2-0 win against Newcastle United, our third straight victory in less than a week.

It was an impressive performance which saw most of the damage being done before the break, as goals from Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres saw us seize the initiative.

Hazard opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 21st minute, drilling his strike beyond Tim Krul after Torres had been brought down by Vurnon Anita.

It was a goal our performance had deserved, and a minute before the break we extended our lead, this time Hazard feeding Torres, who unleashed an unstoppable strike into the top corner.

Chances were few and far between in the second half but there was little doubt that we fully deserved the three points, our first win over Newcastle at the Bridge since the 2007/08 campaign.

Next week sees an interruption to our domestic season as we take on Atletico Madrid in the Super Cup, but we resume in a fortnight’s time with a London derby against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.

Team news
Roberto Di Matteo made three changes to the side which beat Reading 4-2 in midweek. With captain John Terry missing with a neck injury, David Luiz came back into the side to partner Gary Cahill in central defence. Frank Lampard started on the substitutes’ bench, replaced by Raul Meireles, while Ryan Bertrand, an unused sub on Wednesday, was given the nod ahead of Ramires. Petr Cech captained the side in the absence of both Terry and Lampard, while both Cesar Azpilicueta and Victor Moses, our two latest additions, played no part in the game.

First half
Newcastle were unbeaten on their previous four league visits to Stamford Bridge, but it was the Blues who started the brighter of the two sides. Bertrand and Juan Mata linked up well down the left inside three minutes, only for the youngster to put too much weight on his cross, while soon after Meireles tried his luck with a speculative effort which sailed over the bar.

Torres then pounced on a loose ball, driving at the Newcastle defence, but after the Spaniard held it up intelligently, he laid it into the path of the advancing John Mikel Obi – a player not renowned for his goalscoring prowess – who fired over.

The visitors were content to defend deep and look to cause us problems on the break, and it was Demba Ba, scorer of their opener last week against Tottenham Hotspur, who had their first sight of goal, volleying high and wide from Hatem Ben Arfa’s pass.

Hazard, so instrumental in our opening two games, had been a peripheral figure early on, but the Belgian sprung into life in the 14th minute with a quick burst and shot which was comfortable for Krul.

Three minutes later and the Blues had the best chance of the game. A deep ball from Meireles found Torres with his back to goal, and as the striker controlled it and found Bertrand, his shot, under pressure from Fabricio Collocini, was straight at Krul.

The game had started fairly slowly, but it was turned on its head in the 20th minutes when we were awarded our third penalty in as many games.

Torres, who had looked lively in the early stages, darted into the Newcastle box before being tripped by Vurnon Anita, Phil Dowd showing no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

With regular penalty taker Lampard not on the field of play, it was Hazard who took responsibility, and the 21-year-old scored his first goal for the club with a powerful, low strike into the bottom corner.

Branislav Ivanovic, with two goals to his name already this campaign, almost made it three in three on the half-hour mark, rising highest to meet Ashley Cole’s cross, but Krul saved well down to his right.

Ten minutes before the break we almost doubled our advantage with a flowing move down the left which ended with Coloccini clearing Mata’s dangerous cross after he was fed by Hazard.

Shortly after, the Chelsea bench were on their feet when Torres looked to have been brought down by Coloccini after evading the defender.

It seemed a strange decision, and Dowd’s position as the most unpopular man in the stadium was compounded further when Torres was shown a yellow card for simulation.

Papiss Cisse, scorer of both Newcastle goals during their 2-0 win at the Bridge back in May, had Newcastle’s first real attempt on goal as the half drew to a close, capitalising on some sloppy defending by David Luiz, but his effort was easy for Cech.

Right on the stroke of half-time it was 2-0, with Torres scoring the goal his first-half performance had merited; exchanging passes with Hazard on the edge of the box before bending a delightful effort into the top corner with the outside of his right foot, giving Krul no chance.

Second half
There were no changes to personnel for either side at the break, Di Matteo clearly content with what he’d seen in the opening 45 minutes.

The first chance of the second half fell to the visitors as they looked to reduce the two-goal deficit, Ben Arfa twisting and turning on the edge of the box before fizzing a strike narrowly past Cech’s left-hand post.

As the heavens opened, the game began to open up, with Newcastle intent on forcing themselves back into it and the Blues eager to kill it off on the counter-attack.

Cech was forced into a smart save by Cisse at his near-post after Mikel’s clearance had ran into the striker’s path, while at the other end it took a last-ditch intervention from Yohan Cabaye to prevent Torres from meeting Mata’s cross.

Both managers made their first changes of the evening shortly after the hour mark, with Ramires replacing Mata for the Blues in a bid to inject some fresh legs, while Ryan Taylor came on at the expense of Danny Simpson for Pardew’s side.

With much of the game being played in the middle of the park as both defences looked to keep it tight, there was little goalmouth action to speak of at either end.

David Luiz and Meireles fired successive free-kicks over the bar for Chelsea, and with the clock ticking down, Pardew made his final two substitutions, Sylvain Marveaux and James Perch replacing Davide Santon and Cabaye respectively.

Bertrand almost put the game out of Newcastle’s reach with a low drive from outside the box, and would have, but for a deflection which saw it deflected behind for a corner.

With seven minutes left to play Newcastle were almost back in the game, Ba reacting quickest to a loose ball in the Chelsea penalty area, but as the striker fired towards goal, Cech made a stunning save low down to his right to deny him.

Lampard was introduced for Meireles with three minutes remaining as Di Matteo looked to utilise the midfielder’s experience and see the game out, and with Newcastle still hoping to force a nervy finish, David Luiz suffered a head injury as he collided with Ba clearing a dangerous cross.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech (c); Ivanovic, David Luiz, Cahill, Cole; Mikel Obi, Meireles (Lampard 87); Mata (Ramires 66), Hazard, Bertrand; Torres.
Unused substitutes: Turnbull, Essien, Romeu, Oscar, Sturridge.
Scorers Hazard 21, Torres 44
Booked Torres 39

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Krul; Simpson (R Taylor 63), S Taylor, Coloccini, Santon (Marveaux 73); Ben Arfa, Cabaye (Perch 76), Anita, Gutierrez; Ba, Cisse.
Unused substitutes: Harper, Williamson, Obertan, Amalfitano.

Referee Phil Dowd
Crowd 41,718

TEAM NEWS: CHELSEA V NEWCASTLE UNITED

Raul Meireles will start his first game of the season with Frank Lampard named among the substitutes.

There is another change in midfield with Ryan Bertrand returning on the left so Juan Mata is expected to move to the right with Ramires making way.

David Luiz is the natural replacement for John Terry who has a neck injury. Petr Cech is captain.

Newcastle make two changes from the opening league win. Fabricio Coloccini returns to central defence in place of James Perch but there is no Cheick Tiote so Vurnon Anita starts.

Chelsea are expected to line up in the following 4-2-3-1 formation:

1 Petr Cech (c)
2 Branislav Ivanovic
24 Gary Cahill
4 David Luiz
3 Ashley Cole
12 John Mikel Obi
16 Raul Meireles
10 Juan Mata
17 Eden Hazard
34 Ryan Bertrand
9 Fernando Torres

Substitutes: 22 Ross Turnbull, 5 Michael Essien, 6 Oriol Romeu, 7 Ramires, 8 Frank Lampard, 11 Oscar, 23 Daniel Sturridge.

Newcastle are expected to line up in the following 4-4-2 formation:

Krul; Simpson, S Taylor, Coloccini, Santon; Ben Arfa, Cabayé, Anita, Gutiérrez; Cissé, Ba.

Subs: Harper, Williamson, Perch, R Taylor, Obertan, Marveaux, Amalfitano.

The referee is Phil Dowd.

Follow the game via our Live Matches from 5pm.

CHELSEA TV EXCLUSIVE: VIEW FROM THE GOAL

Petr Cech is the player speaking exclusively to Chelsea TV this week ahead of the weekend game.

A clip of the keeper’s interview can be seen here and there is much more available now via Chelsea TV’s online access, where there is also Roberto Di Matteo’s pre-match interview. 

TORRES: PICKING UP POINTS

With the Blues having picked up maximum points from our opening two league games, the visit of Newcastle United will undoubtedly provide our sternest test thus far, and Fernando Torres believes it’s imperative we build on what has been a solid start to the new season.

Successive wins, against Wigan Athletic and Reading, have ensured a positive mood around the camp, and while the midweek victory against Brian McDermott’s side wasn’t without the odd scare, we showed tremendous heart to turn around a 2-1 half-time deficit.

It was Torres who scored the crucial third against the newly-promoted side, his first league goal of the new campaign, stabbing home Ashley Cole’s cross from close-range, and after also netting in the Community Shield against Manchester City, the Spaniard, as he admits, is in great spirits.

‘I’m feeling good, feeling sharp,’ says the Euro 2012 Golden Boot winner. ‘I’ve only been back in training for less than a month but the team is showing that we can hopefully do big things this season.

‘It’s always important, particularly in the Premier League, to start picking up points as quickly as possible, because the top teams don’t lose many matches or drop too many points, so I think it’s very good for us that we’re top of the table after our first two games.’

It’s no exaggeration to suggest that today’s visitors were the surprise package of last season, with a fifth-place finish which exceeded expectations in the north-east.

Alan Pardew’s side left Stamford Bridge in May with all three points after a Papiss Cisse brace had proved the difference on the night, and having got their season off to a flying start last weekend with a 2-1 win against Tottenham Hotspur, Torres is expecting yet another tough encounter.

‘We need to be in the top few positions when it comes to December and January, and to do that we need to keep picking up points,’ he says.

‘Saturday against Newcastle will be a very tough game. They proved last season what a good team they are, and it’s the first real big test of the season for us.’

Our attacking options have been enhanced immensely over the course of the summer with the acquisitions of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Marko Marin.

Hazard has stolen all the headlines from our first two games, and rightly so after a couple of wonderful performances by the young Belgian, and Torres is licking his lips at the prospect of linking up with such talented players on a weekly basis.

‘Players like [Juan] Mata, Hazard and Oscar are fantastic, and for a striker such as myself, it’s a real privilege to play alongside them and I’m just trying to enjoy it,’ says the striker.

PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: CHELSEA V NEWCASTLE UNITED – PART TWO

The first Saturday game of the season is upon us. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton, with help from former player Clive Walker, continue their look forward to the match…

TACTICAL BRIEF
A second home match in four days, and Chelsea will be looking to avenge last season’s 0-2 home defeat, which allowed the Geordies to finish one place higher in the league table. Clive Walker supplies the context.

Key battles
‘I was delighted to see Fernando Torres off the mark for the league season on Wednesday, albeit from a position that should probably have been called offside. You have that bit of luck sometimes; sometimes it goes against you.

‘That’s the only goal of Chelsea’s six so far that’s been scored by an attacker: three have come from defenders and two from a midfielder. Although it’s great to share the load I fancy Robbie Di Matteo will want his frontmen get their tally for the season.

‘Alan Pardew will hope to have his skipper Fabio Coloccini back in the centre of defence as that area will be under enormous pressure if Chelsea play well, with Torres always on the centre-back’s shoulder, looking to be slipped in behind.

Chelsea v Newcastle

‘We are playing it through the middle a lot, with little, quick players with great skills who retain the ball well. Steven Taylor is an excellent defender and Coloccini has improved a hell of lot. But I was at the Spurs game. Newcastle weren’t good first half. They didn’t look top-four challengers to me.

‘You certainly can’t fault Eden Hazard’s generosity in setting up five goals, and Alan Pardew will have been sweating over video to see how to stop the Belgian, who has been a revelation.

‘He is so quick and decisive in everything he does it’s very hard for opponents to know how to counter. Most have simply decided to foul him! He hardly gives the ball away either and the likes of Cheikh Tioté and Jonas Gutiérrez will have to be on their toes covering his movement. Gutierrez is not great defensively for me and our guys could tie him in knots.

‘It’s a bit “Tales of the Unexpected” on both sides really. Hazard brings unpredictability in that he can quickly change the shape of your attack. He has got together with Mata and it seems to work, and Mata already had a good link with Torres, which makes a triangle. That’s what you’re taught when you start off in the game – work in triangles. In the fullness of time I don’t doubt Oscar will fit in there well too. More of our football is being played spontaneously, supported by a solid back four, and the two in midfield doing well.

‘Newcastle will have worked out that Hazard likes to pick out Juan Mata but identifying that is easier than stopping it. It may be a slight issue that their midfielders have played a Europa League qualifier just 48 hours earlier, but players’ legs are fresh this time of year – it shouldn’t make much difference.

‘Newcastle have big threats, with Demba Ba creating 24 goals in 50 games for them, and they were fortunate that when he dried up last season Papiss Cissé took over. We know to our cost what Cissé is capable of producing from the match late last season.

‘Both are off-the-cuff sorts of player, who tend to stray offside, but are brilliant improvisers when it comes to finding the net.

‘Against Reading we were a little vulnerable on crosses, but that is not really the Geordies’ strongest suit. With them it will be about our back five and defensive midfield concentrating for 90 minutes, especially when Newcastle have the ball on the edge of the box.

‘Against Tottenham, Newcastle looked a long way short of their best. The two centre-forwards didn’t really look interested but they’re so enigmatic you haven’t got a clue what they’re going to do.

‘As a team with what we have now – great movement and passing, ability and technique, with a bit exuberance too – I don’t think Newcastle will want to play against us right now. But maybe it’s a good time for us to play them.’

Squad news
David Luiz is back in contention for a start following a slight knee problem which is especially welcome as John Terry is a doubt with a neck injury suffered against Reading.

New signing Marko Marin may miss out again.

The Ameobi brothers, both of whom have nursed hamstring injuries, and influential defender Fabricio Coloccini (thigh), may all return to action for Newcastle. Demba Ba faces a test having missed the the Europa League game with a sore shin. Cheick Tiote is a doubt with a calf strain.

CHELSEA STATS
Chelsea have won 10 of our last 12 games at Stamford Bridge. Newcastle are the only team to have won here in that time with Tottenham gaining a point in a goalless draw.

Aug 12 Manchester City (Community Shield) L 2-3
Aug 19 Wigan (a) W 2-0
Aug 22 Reading (h) W 4-2

2012/13 Premier League scorers
Ivanovic 2, Lampard 2 (2 pens), Cahill 1, Torres 1.

League games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 5
A home defeat: 2

Fri 31 Aug Atlético Madrid (Uefa Super Cup) Monaco 7.45pm
Sat 15 Sep QPR away 3.00pm
18/19 Sep Champions League Matchday 1 7.45pm

MILESTONES
Frank Lampard completed a half century of Chelsea penalties against Reading. He has an 88 per cent success rate with 44 converted in competitive matches.

Frank is now one goal away from joining our all-time top-flight goalscorer Bobby Tambling on 129; on Wednesday he drew level with Roy Bentley’s 128.

John Terry needs one goal to reach 50 in all competitions for the Blues.

If selected, Florent Malouda will make his 150th Premier League appearance and Branislav Ivanovic his 150th Chelsea start in league and cup.

NEWCASTLE STATS
Formed
1881.

Major trophies
4 League championships, last in 1927.
6 FA Cups, last in 1955.
1 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1969.
1 FA Charity Shield in 1909.

Newcastle have been Premier League runners-up twice in 1995/96 and 1996/97. Their last major piece of silverware was the Inter Cities Fairs Cup in 1969 when they beat Hungarian side Ujpest Dozsa 6-2 over two legs.

Newcastle have lost three of their last five league games.

The Magpies away record in the Premier League last term was eight wins, three draws and eight defeats.

United need two to reach 1,000 Premier League goals.

Newcastle together with West Brom conceded nine penalties last season, more than any other Premier League club.

Manager Alan Pardew
Days in charge: 625
Played 68
Won 29
Drawn 18
Lost 21

Pts Pos Division Level
2002/03 69 3rd Premier League 1
2003/04 56 5th Premier League 1
2004/05 44 14th Premier League 1
2005/06 58 7th Premier League 1
2006/07 43 13th Premier League 1
2007/08 43 12th Premier League 1
2008/09 34 18th Premier League 1
2009/10 102 1st Championship 2
2010/11 46 12th Premier League 1
2011/12 65 5th Premier League 1
Jul 13 Chemnitzer (a) L 0-1
Jul 16 AS Monaco (n) W 1-0
Jul 21 Fenerbahçe (n) D 1-1
Jul 27 Olympiacos (n) D 1-1
Jul 28 SC Braga (n) W 2-1
Aug 4 Den Haag (a) D 0-0
Aug 7 Hartlepool (a) W 5-1
Aug 11 Cardiff (a) L 1-4
Aug 18 Tottenham (h) W 2-1
Aug 23 Atromitos (Europa League play-off a) D 1-1

 

PMB

2011/12 Premier League scorers
Ba 1, Ben Arfa 1

League games since
An away win: 1
An away draw: 12
An away defeat: 0

SUMMER MOVES
Newcastle
Ins Romain Amalfitano, Reims, undisclosed), Vurnon Anita (Ajax, undisclosed), Curtis Good (Melbourne Heart, undisclosed), Gael Bigirimana, (Coventry, £1m)
Outs Alan Smith, (MK Dons, free), Peter Lovenkrands (Birmingham, free), Danny Guthrie (Reading, free), Tamas Kadar (Roda FC, undisclosed), Fraser Forster (Celtic, £2.5m), Leon Best (Blackburn, £3m), Michael Hoganson (Derby, free)

Chelsea
Ins
Eden Hazard (Lille, undisclosed), Marko Marin (Werder Bremen, undisclosed), Thorgan Hazard (Lens, undisclosed), Oscar (Internacional, undisclosed), Oscar Azpilicueta (Marseille, undisclosed)
Outs Didier Drogba (out of contract, now Shanghai Shenhua), Salomon Kalou (out of contract, now Lille), José Bosingwa (out of contract, now QPR), Marko Mitrovic (released, now Brescia)), Rhys Taylor (released, now Southend), Jeffrey Bruma (Hamburg, loan), Thibaut Courtois (Atlético Madrid, loan), Ulises Davila (Sabadell, loan), Kevin De Bruyne (Werder Bremen, loan), Matej Delac (Vitória Guimaräes, loan), Rohan Ince (Yeovil, loan), Tomas Kalas (Vitesse Arnham, loan), Milan Lalkovic (Vitória Guimaräes, loan), Patrick van Aanholt (Vitesse Arnham, loan), Ben Gordon (Birmingham, loan), Romulu Lukaku (West Brom, loan), Sam Walker (Bristol Rovers, loan), Sam Hutchinson (Nottingham Forest, loan), Conor Clifford (Portsmouth, loan), Josh McEachran (Middlesbrough, loan), Archange Nkumu (Yeovil, loan)

THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Phil Dowd last refereed Chelsea at this year’s FA Cup final, a 2-1 triumph over Liverpool. His most recent Magpies game was their home win over Norwich in March. The Blues have won 19, drawn six and lost six of the games he has officiated.

OTHERWISE ENGAGED
There are no suspensions.