Chelsea had the chance to keep the pace with Liverpool in the Premier League this weekend.
The challenge that lay before them was Newcastle United and an away trip has troubled the Blues in recent years with no victories at St. James’ Park since 2011-12.
However, they were entering the game in impressive form after the 3-0 victory over Huddersfield Town and the entertaining win against Arsenal the following week.
Rafael Benitez was determined to ensure Maurzio Sarri would struggle to implement his fast, attacking football in game week three, though.
The home side played defensively through the match, trying to stifle their opponents and being happy to allow them huge spells of possession.
Newcastle United vs Chelsea
It frustrated the visitors who – for all their dominance – struggled to create any clear-out opportunities or trouble the Newcastle ‘keeper.
The majority of the game was spent in midfield, an area of change for Sarri as he introduced summer signing Mateo Kovacic in place of Ross Barkley.
That translated to his full Chelsea debut and, as a result, there was plenty of eyes on how the Croatian would perform.
Fans impressed by his Hazard connection
It was especially the case after he impressed in the victory over Arsenal and supporters were once again very pleased with what they saw.
Aside from all the standard praise on Twitter, though, fans made a very interesting point and they noticed that Kovacic has already form an exciting relationship with Eden Hazard.
They praised the link-up play between the two on the left-hand side and voted how vital it was during the game – check out the reaction below:
— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) August 26, 2018
Hazard and Kovacic combing beautifully with some short passes. This could be the beginning of a good partnership. And they have Kante and Jorginho to provide even more steel and passing.
— Schappie (@Shoonchy) August 26, 2018
Hazard and Kovacic balling already, they seem to have a great understanding already
— . (@Uthmxn96) August 26, 2018
Kovacic Hazard link up promises so much
— Lukas CFC (@LukasCFCLAL) August 26, 2018
kovacic and hazard linkup pic.twitter.com/lBF9P44TEe
— hvrcv* (@harca10vat0) August 26, 2018
Already loving Kovacic behind the ball for Chelsea! He’s even better off the ball making room for hazard @ChelseaFC
— Ser Jaime Lannister (@JamesDillon95) August 26, 2018
It’s suitable then, that Hazard opened the score on the night by tucking away a controversial penalty.
In terms of Kovacic, however, his link-up play with the goalscorer will certainly catch Sarri’s eye and continue to earn him props amongst supporters.
He was often limited during his time at Real Madrid but Chelsea fans are being treated to performances more reminiscent of his time with Inter Milan.
And a guaranteed way to spark success at Stamford Bridge is a close relationship with the star player.
The message from Sarri after two games will simply be more of the same.