Premier League 2018-19: Newcastle United vs Chelsea FC - game review
After two consecutive wins against Huddersfield Town and Arsenal, Chelsea completed their hat-trick win with the victory against Newcastle United. With that win against Newcastle, Maurizio Sarri became the 5th Chelsea manager to win his first three fixtures of the Premier League since Antonio Conte, Carlo Ancelotti, Guus Hiddink, and Jose Mourinho.
The win against Newcastle was not a convincing win for Chelsea. Despite having 82 percent of possession, Chelsea's game in the attacking third was not up to the mark. Chelsea struck 15 shots in the match out of which 12 were off target, and only 3 were on target.
However, other stats are encouraging for Chelsea. Out of 913 passes, they completed 838, with a passing accuracy of 91 percent. And the credit for the passes goes to none other than 26 year old Jorginho.
The former Napoli man was at his best against Newcastle United at St James Park. He completed a whopping 158 passes, on the other hand, the entire Newcastle United team managed to complete just 131 passes.
His tally of 158 successful passes in a match stands 3rd after Gundogan's 167 against Chelsea, and Fernandinho's 164 against Everton.
In the Premier League era, only one other team has recorded more successful passes in a match - Manchester City. And Ironically the record was set by Manchester City last season against Chelsea as they defeated The Blues by 1-0.
The impact of Maurizio Sarri's tactics can be clearly seen from the stats.
The Blues dominated the match, but still the scoreline could not justify this. After 76 minutes, Chelsea finally got a goal, courtesy of Eden Hazard's penalty. However, the penalty incident was full of controversy. Alonso was tackled from behind by Schar and the referee pointed for the spot. That penalty was crucial in the game.
However, Newcastle scored a surprising goal in the 83rd minute. The cross from the right wing was headed by Joselu into Chelsea’s net, and provided the much needed equaliser for his team. Once again David Luiz proved himself defensively incompetent. He was so casual in his approach to clear the ball.
The match was heading towards a draw, but fate had some other plans for Chelsea. Chelsea got a free kick during the 86th minute, Willian lifted the ball towards Giroud, he headed the ball to Alonso who struck it the first time past the keeper. Alonso claimed the goal, but later it was declared an own goal by Yedlin.
Chelsea needs to ensure they are more creative in the final third in order to score goals, because goals win you matches and not possession.
Chelsea needs to patch up the weak spots in defense, especially David Luiz. The way he defended that cross which resulted in the goal for Newcastle United shows his inability to defend properly. And it's time Sarri gives a chance to Christensen or Gary Cahill.
The lack of goals in the match could be due to Chelsea’s hesitation in crossing the ball. On many occasions, Alonso and Azpilicueta had the chance to cross the ball, but they hesitated. This caused problems for Morata because he was not very involved in the game, and his precise heading ability was not used by Chelsea.
If Chelsea wants to win the Premier League, they need to work on their defense and their ability to score goals.