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Season 2018-19
Chelsea (h) Premier League


Sunday 26th August 2018, 4.00pm
Live on Sky Sports

 St. James' Park

Conditions: Unedifying



Newcastle United


1 - 2




Half time: Magpies 0 Blues 0

76 mins
Debutant Fabian Schär challenged Marcos Alonso in the box and appeared to get the ball before making contact with the Spaniard. Referee Paul Tierney pointed to the spot and Hazard tucked away the spot-kick despite Dubravka correctly springing to his right. Kenedy was in the stadium, hopefully taking note. 0-1

83 mins DeAndre Yedlin left Olivier Giroud grounded down the right flank before delivering a cross for Joselu to head superbly into the Gallowgate End net at the near post. 1-1

87 mins
The visitors were awarded a free kick towards the left hand side of the Newcastle box after Yedlin held on to Hazard. That was played across the box by Willian and headed back by Giroud into the path of Alonso. 

His scuffed shot was going wide as it evaded Ciaran Clark, only for Yedlin to poke the ball into his own net
from three yards out with Barkley on the post waiting to apply a touch if required. 1-2

Full time: Magpies 1 Blues 2

We Said


Rafa Benitez:

"Both the penalty and foul leading up to it were very doubtful.

"We had six players out. Jonjo Shelvey was not there for us today but we did a good job and it was a pity. 

"We showed last year that we finished tenth and didn't make mistakes in terms of decisions.

"We don't have any issues. We have some injuries and it's something we have to manage.

"All my life, I’ve liked to talk with players, so I talk with players, we decide what to do and then we stick with the plan, so everybody knows that.

"If any player has different opinions, they can give their opinions and after we have to stick with the plan, that’s it.

"We had six players out of the team. Lejeune, Manquillo, Jamaal and Jonjo were injured, Kenedy couldn’t play obviously and Hayden was suspended and for us, it’s something that we have to consider.

“For a team like us to lose six players is always a problem. Manquillo and Jamaal have ankle problems and Shelvey has a thigh problem. I think they will be fine.

"Jonjo maybe will need a couple of weeks; Jamaal, Manquillo, hopefully they can be fine for the next game.

"I remember a long time ago, I don’t know if it was Guardiola at Barcelona, but they played against Celtic and they had 80% against 20% and they lost 2-0, so possession now is just for the TV, for the stats.

If you create five chances like yesterday, which Wolves did against Manchester City was an amazing game and they had 71% of possession, so possession means nothing.

"Yesterday, Wolves against Manchester City was an amazing game and they
(City) had 71% of possession, so possession means nothing.

“You have to create chances, you have to be solid and you have to do what you have to do to maximise what you have.

“I was watching yesterday teams playing 5-4-1, 4-5-1 and it seems that they are great tacticians and they are fantastic because someone on the TV has an opinion.

"Each one has his own tools. When I was at Liverpool, we beat Real Madrid 4-0 at home; we were very offensive. When I was at Napoli, we were attacking all the time; we were offensive.

“When you are at Newcastle United, you have to manage because you are in the Premier League and you have what you have.

“I want to give credit to my players for the effort that they make in every game, but it depends on the car that you have.

“You have to drive one way or another way and each team is different. 

"Yesterday I saw some games with the same system, and it depends on the players that you have.

“You can play with the same system in one way or another way.

"I haven’t lost any game before the game and anyone can be right after the game.

"...we were working so hard, we were very close. I don't remember Chelsea making too many chances in the second half.

"Against these teams, you can lose because the play a good wall pass or a ball behind or a fantastic cross or a shot from outside the box.

"But to concede two goals from a penalty that was very doubtful and a free-kick that was also very doubtful and not winning the second ball, you have to be disappointed after so much effort.

"Obviously we were nearly there, so we were very close. 

"It is not about me and tactics, it is about players, the bigger picture. Last year, we were the best team in the bottom 10 in terms of goal difference and maybe we could have been safe because of that."

They Said


Maurizio Sarri said: 

"We knew it’s a difficult game here, especially for us but for every team. Last season Chelsea, Man United and Arsenal all lost here so I don’t think it’s easy to play here against this opponent.

"In Italy I’ve never seen Rafa play with five defenders, so low and compact. It was difficult but we needed to move the ball faster and be patient.

"To be drawing five minutes from the end, it was even more difficult. From the character point of view this is a strong team.

On whether Yedlin fouled Giroud before Newcastle's goal:

"I only thought it was the first time they had been in our box, it was a bit unlucky I think. I don’t know if there was a foul, I was far away.’

On the Chelsea penalty:

"It’s the same, I’m so far away, the bench is on the halfway line so it’s very difficult for me to say if it was a penalty, I’m about 60 or 65 metres away. I’m not a ref and I don’t ever want to be one.

"Eden (Hazard) has played very well but maybe it was better if he played for only 75-80 minutes, but (Mateo) Kovacic asked me to be replaced so it was not possible."


A proud moment for Paul Dummett, who led the side out for the first time in the Premier League in the absence of club captain Jamaal Lascelles.

The Magpies lost back to back home PL games for the first time in 2018 and
have now failed to win any of their first three games, although that's by no means rare for this club in this league:

Season-opening winless runs (PL seasons/PL games only):

2018/19: no win in three games
won the third game
2015/16: won the ninth game
won the eighth game
 won the third game
2012/13: won the first game
2011/12: won the second game
2010/11: won the second game
2008/09: won the second game
2007/08: won the first game
2006/07: won the first game
2005/06: won the sixth game
2004/05: won the fifth game
2003/04: won the seventh game
2002/03: won the first game
2001/02: won the third game
2000/01: won the second game
1999/00: won the eighth game
 won the fifth game
1997/98: won the first game
1996/97: won the second game
1995/96: won the first game
1994/95: won the first game
1993/94: won the fourth game

Joselu netted his sixth PL goal for United - and like the other five, he scored it at St. James' Park.

There were debuts for Fabian Schär, Ki Sung-yueng and Federico Fernandez, who became the 226th, 227th and 228th players to represent the club in the Premier League. Ki's arrival increased the nationality count by one, adding South Korea to a list that now numbers 52

United's starting XI contained players with international caps* for 11 different countries:

Dubravka (Slovakia), Yedlin (USA), Fernandez (Argentina), Clark (Ireland), Schar (Switzerland), Dummett (Wales), Ritchie (Scotland), Diame (Senegal), Ki (South Korea), Murphy (England), Rondon (Venezuela)

(* all full internationals except Murphy, who was recognised at U21 level).

(Spanish duo Perez and Joselu then made that 12 and Japanese substitute Muto 13, while Ghanaian Christian Atsu was the 14th different nationality in the matchday squad. Theoretically we could better that in the coming weeks with Brazilian Kenedy returning to the fray).

There was a first competitive senior bench selection for Academy product Sean Longstaff.

DeAndre Yedlin
registered his second OG for Newcastle, having beaten Rob Elliot from similar range at the Gallowgate End during the defeat by Watford in November 2017.

Eden Hazard
scored his seventh goal against Newcastle, but the first on Tyneside.

Blues @ SJP - Premier League era:

2018/19 Lost 1-2 Joselu
2017/18 Won 3-0 Gayle, Perez 2
Drew 2-2 Perez, Wijnaldum
2014/15 Won 2-1 Cisse 2
2013/14 Won 2-0 Gouffran, Remy
2012/13 Won 3-2 Gutierrez, Sissoko 2
2011/12 Lost 0-3
2010/11 Drew 1-1 Carroll
2008/09 Lost 0-2
2007/08 Lost 0-2
2006/07 Drew 0-0
2006/07 Lost 0-1 (LC)
2005/06 Won 1-0 Bramble
2004/05 Drew 1-1 og(Geremi)
2004/05 Won 1-0 Kluivert (FAC)
2004/05 Lost 0-2 (LC)
2003/04 Won 2-1 Ameobi, Shearer
2002/03 Won 2-1 og(Hasselbaink) Bernard
2001/02 Lost 1-2 Shearer
2000/01 Drew 0-0
1999/00 Lost 0-1
1998/99 Lost 0-1
1997/98 Won 3-1 Dabizas, Lee, Speed
1996/97 Won 3-1 Shearer 2, Asprilla
1995/96 Won 2-0 Ferdinand 2
1995/96 Drew 2-2 Albert, Beardsley (FAC) (2-4 pens)
1994/95 Won 4-2 Cole 2, Fox, Lee
1993/94 Drew 0-0

Full record v Chelsea:

  P W D L F A
SJP 73 38 18 17 112 78
SB 72 11 19 42 74 142
League 145 49 37 59 186 220
SJP(FA) 5 1 1 3 5 9
SB 7 2 2 3 7 10
SJP(LC) 2 0 0 2 0 3
SB 3 1 0 2 5 6
Cup 17 4 3 10 17 28
SB(CS) 1 0 0 1 0 3
Tot 162 53 40 69 203 248



Newcastle's seven year unbeaten home record against Chelsea ended on Sunday, hopes that a late equaliser from home substitute Joselu would earn a point dashed by an even later own goal.

The Spaniard had replaced Salomon Rondon earlier and his perfectly executed header from DeAndre Yedlin's cross at the Gallowgate End cancelled out an earlier harsh penalty award and conversion. 

Sadly though, Yedlin would have another key part to play, inadvertently diverting the ball beyond his own goalkeeper - although the lurking Ross Barkley would have touched it in otherwise. 

Facing one of his former clubs, Rafa Benitez selected a five man defence to try and combat Maurizio Sarri's in-form side, who had scored six times in two games.

What followed was reminiscent of our seasonal visits to Stamford Bridge, United taking on the role of the away side and soaking up pressure with no other ambition than damage limitation.  

There were six changes to the lineup that drew 0-0 at Cardiff, ineligibility and suspension accounting for the absence of Kenedy and Isaac Hayden respectively. A trio of injuries meanwhile reportedly rendered Jamaal Lascelles, Javier Manquillo and Jonjo Shelvey unavailable, the defensive duo suffering ankle problems and the midfielder having incurred thigh damage.

However rumours of a training ground disagreement between
Lascelles and Benitez spread before kick-off, Radio 5 Live claiming that the club captain had been unhappy when told that he wouldn't be the middle defender in a centre back trio and was then omitted from the matchday squad entirely.

The manager repeated the injury claim beforehand on Sky Sports and Lascelles himself took to twitter post-match to confirm "a slight ankle injury". 

Ayoze Perez and Joselu were both benched, while Rondon played as a lone striker on his first start, the recalled Jacob Murphy the nearest thing to a foil. 

There were three debutants in the shape of Fabian Schär, Ki Sung-yueng and Federico Fernandez, while Yedlin was fit to resume after a one game absence.

Despite the West Londoners dominating possession though, neither goalkeeper was particularly tested during the first half; Newcastle's best chance seeing Rondon head just wide on 34 minutes. 

Inevitably, Chelsea redoubled their efforts after the resumption but the prospects of United taking a point from a second successive 0-0 draw began to increase as the game reached the final quarter. 

Antonio Rudiger had rattled the Leazes crossbar with a thunderous 30-yarder as Chelsea piled on the pressure but the breakthrough came when Marcos Alonso broke into the box with 14 minutes of normal time to play. 

Schär appeared to get the ball before making contact with former mackem loanee Alonso and referee Paul Tierney awarded the penalty amid strong protests.

Hazard tucked away the spot-kick for yet another goal against us and there seemed little prospect of United getting back on terms until Yedlin left Olivier Giroud grounded down the right flank before delivering a cross for Joselu to head home superbly.

That belatedly brought a quiet stadium to life, but just four minutes later it was the Chelsea fans who were celebrating once again; a long free-kick into the box headed back by Giroud into the path of Alonso. 

His scuffed shot was going wide as it evaded Ciaran Clark, only for Yedlin to poke the ball into his own net, allowing Chelsea to leave SJP with maximum points for the first time in seven attempts.

Rafa's players complied with his siege mentality tactics and came close to being rewarded for their efforts, cruelly robbed by the manner of the winner. However a point was scarcely deserved for a United performance that was all about soaking up pressure and hoping to stay in the game.

There's no responsibility for teams to entertain or satisfy anyone, be they fans or pundits, but this display undeniably made for tough viewing at times. 

Despite fielding two defensive debutants and having to reckon without our mainstay at the back, our pre-match, post team naming fears of a cricket score were allayed, at least this week. 

The suspicion remains though that Chelsea's defence aren't infallible and by not testing them often enough, we actually piled pressure on ourselves. Our effectiveness at set pieces was vital to our survival last season, but so far that option has been absent from our armoury - not just from missed penalties but wasted free kicks and corners. 

Had we recruited earlier, we might now be more organised and with a fitter number nine.

Whether the austere game plan was wholly dictated by those players available today is open to question, but we'll doubtless be in damage limitation mode again next Saturday at Manchester City - and probably again a fortnight after that when Arsenal come here.

Before both of those is Wednesday's League Cup tie at Nottingham Forest, with the expectation of a side selected to fulfill the fixture only rather than set off on the road to Wembley. At least there's no extra time. 

This defeat left United sixteenth in the table, with Southampton, Burnley and Huddersfield Town also stuck on one point. West Ham are bottom with none. 


Page last updated 19 December, 2018