Though disheartening, yet it was not surprising to see Chelsea lose their first match of the season nowhere else than the St. James’ Park.
It was third time in a row that Chelsea lost the away game to Newcastle United. Alan Pardew’s men have many reasons to celebrate. And why not? They are the first team to stop the unstoppable Chelsea this season and grab all the three points against the Blues, with a hard fought 2-1 victory.
For those who wanted Chelsea to go unbeaten throughout the season, it’s better not to talk about today’s game. But for those who have set their eyes on the title, there are some points which we should keep in mind from the next time.
1. Willian’s potential is still not unleashed
The best is yet to come to from this Samba boy! In the first half, he looked the best among the Blue shirts after Eden Hazard. Willian was involved in some clever passes and accurate crosses. At many occasions, he stole the show with his clever runs for the ball to land it inside the penalty area with an inch perfect cross or have a direct attempt on goal. His couple of first touch shots on goal did have enough power but went off target. Perhaps finishing is the area he needs to work upon, couple that with his pace and positioning sense, he can be a sensation at Stamford Bridge.
2. Mikel was not impressive
Whether it is the less number of games he gets or whatever be the reason, John Obi Mikel could not make the best of this opportunity. With Nemanja Matic suspended, The Nigerian was given a chance in the starting 11 but could not leave an impact. It’s not that he had a terrible game. He was solid defensively in the early stages. But as the Toons started to get into the game, they targeted Mikel’s area and it would be fair enough to say that Newcastle’s midfielders, especially Jack Colback, dominated the midfield by getting better of Mikel every time. And unlike Matic, he could not take the ball or push the midfielders ahead, leaving all the pressure on the shoulders of Cesc Fabregas to complete the job.
3. Andre Schurrle is an excellent substitute
As soon as he came on to replace Oscar in the second half, Andre Schurrle made an early impact in the game with an on-target shot on goal. He received a yellow card in the 64th minute for a rough challenge, but that went on to show his determined and enthusiastic display when many other players looked exhausted in the later stages of the game. He was always there to make electric runs down the right flank, and one such run also earned a corner to Chelsea when he tried to make a cross inside the penalty area but the ball deflected out after the block from a Newcastle defender. It would be safe to say that the German is too good a player to let go in January!
4. It was a tough competition
Throughout the game, Newcastle kept our back four busy. In the absence of Nemanja Matic, the midfield was dominated by the home team for a large part of the game. Eden Hazard was the best Chelsea player on the pitch, but could not produce any final product in spite of his energetic runs and dribbling skills. Oscar, on the other hand, looked victimized from fatigue in the second half until he was substituted to bring on Schurrle. Jack Colback was Newcastle’s main man in the midfield. Both the Newcastle goals came from the first touch shots of Papiss Cisse, before Drogba clinched a consolation in the last 10 minutes for the visitors.
5. Now the only focus is the Title
Arsenal’s invincible can now have a sigh of relief, with Chelsea finally losing all the three points in the League for the first time this season. But if we are to derive a positive from today’s game, there won’t be any pressure on the players about maintaining the unbeaten record in the League from now on. With Jose already making it clear that the focus should be on winning the title rather going undefeated, it is quite sure that Mourinho and his team would take this just as yet another loss in the League and move on to win it. Premier League title, here we come!
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt