5 Talking Points: Chelsea vs Newcastle United
Newcastle travelled to Stamford Bridge to face Chelsea in the reverse fixture of the match on December 6 that had put paid to hopes of an unbeaten season for Jose Mourinho. Since then Chelsea have played well for the most part, with only one major blip – the 5-3 nightmare at White hart Lane. Newcastle on the other hand have seen quite a change in their fortunes since.For starters, the Magpies have a new caretaker manager, with Alan Pardew replaced by John Carver. After beating Chelsea 2-1 at home they have lost to Arsenal, Tottenham, Sunderland, Manchester United, and Leicester in League and Cup matches.Kurt Zouma and Petr Cech were given their first and second Premier League starts this season respectively. Gary Cahill and Thibaut Courtois were given a rest. John Terry made his 648th appearance for Chelsea, moving to 3rd in the all-time list at the club.Newcastle welcomed back TIm Krul in goal, who missed the last 8 league games. Luckily for the Blues, Papiss Cisse who has consistently managed to score against them, was away on Africa Cup of Nations duty.
#1 Chelsea take 3 points, Newcastle take heart
After an embarrassing defeat to bitter rivals on New Year’s day, the pressure was on Jose Mourinho’s squad to go out and show that they were indeed Champion material. Surprisingly, Chelsea who have been strong starters this season struggled to do anything with the ball for majority of the first half.
Their only goal came late in the half, from a quick corner by Willian, who cleverly passed it to Branislav Ivanovic, only for him to put it on a plate for Oscar to slot into goal. Right from kick-off, Newcastle showed great organisation and broke well on the counter, with Cabella and Sissoko being the pick of the players in the first half.
Cabella showed great footwork on more than one occasion, when he squared up John Terry to fire a shot, which Cech did well to save. On another occasion he got past Matic and turned Azpilcueta inside-out to burst down the line.
It was all Newcastle in the first half with Sissoko striking the bar and Gouffran firing a thunderous shot at Cech. It could have been a different story if the Magpies managed to go in goalless at half time.