Newcastle vs Chelsea (1-2): Four talking points
Chelsea has enjoyed a splendid start to the Premier League under their new manager Maurizio Sarri as they have enjoyed a perfect start to the season by winning two of their opening two games. More impressive has been the fact that one of the wins was against their fellow London heavyweights Arsenal. The Blues' third league game of the season looked a tricky one as they travelled to Newcastle.
Chelsea, for all their success over the past few years, has struggled at St James' Park with their last trip to Newcastle resulted in a 0-3 loss in what was Antonio Conte's last game in charge of the Blues. It was probably safe to say that this fixture could potentially provide the sternest test yet for Maurizio Sarri's new look Chelsea.
They dominated proceedings from the kickoff with Eden Hazard and Mateo Kovacic starting for the first time this season. The Belgian was a menace throughout the game, often being the target of opponent defenders' highly physical approach to the game. Eden Hazard opened Chelsea's account in the game and his own for the season by firing in a penalty at the 76th minute.
Newcastle equalized soon after in 83rd minute through Joselu by heading in Yedlin's cross. It looked like Chelsea might not be able to win at St James' park yet again until Marcos Alonso forced an own goal through Yedlin by smashing the ball across the 6-yard box.
In totality, it was a job well done for Chelsea as they dominated the game with a whopping 81 per cent possession, completely outclassing their opponents. Maurizio Sarri would be delighted as he starts his Premier League career with three wins out of as many games. Here are the four talking points from the match.
#1 Defending woes
Perhaps one of the biggest things to improve on for Chelsea this season so far is defending together as a team. Chelsea have conceded three goals in the last two games which stands in stark contrast to Chelsea sides we have seen of the old.
The Blues have looked vulnerable at times when putting under pressure especially when opposing teams move around the ball efficiently. Maurizio Sarri will undoubtedly work in this aspect of his team as in the premier league, no team gets breathing space. All the three goals that Chelsea have conceded have been from the opportunities created down the flanks.
This brings us to the performances of the fullbacks in the game. While the manner in which the Blues have conceded the goals so far this season is a worry, it is the offensive side which needs some discussion. Marcos Alonso has been the hero so far this season down the left flank, however, crossing the ball is not his best quality.
The Spaniard's counterpart on the opposite flank and also his fellow countryman Cesar Azpilicueta is still finding his feet in his new role. The versatile defender has played every position across the backline for Chelsea in his career and this season he finally gets to play in his natural position at right back. It appears that he could improve on his offensive output more and provide a threat down the right-hand side and support Pedro in the attacking third of the pitch.