A long lofted pass by
David Luiz from inside his own half caught out United's defence, Matt Ritchie
dragged wide to shadow Cesar Azpilicueta and Ciaran Clark allowing Pedro to nip in behind and lob
the ball over the advancing Martin Dubravka. Clark appeared to have misjudged the flight
of the ball as it dropped over his head but Pedro's first touch and finish
were both superlative.
40 mins Christian Atsu won a corner that was swung over from the left by
Matt Ritchie, leading to a second flag kick from the same side. This time
Ritchie found Ciaran Clark who got between Antonio Rudiger and David
Luiz to send in a powerful header from 12 yards that found the
bottom corner inside the near post at the Shed End, a position handily just vacated by
Half time: Blues 1 Magpies 1
57 mins Anyone wanting to
know whey Newcastle concede so many goals from this position had the perfect example of
Yedlin's awful defending. He was absent from his right back post as Eden Hazard
forged forward and found Willian in space out to the right.
The US international then made little attempt to close Willian down or show him
down the outside, allowing Willian to do what he does best - cut inside and curl
a fine effort inside the far post.
Blues 2 Magpies 1
"We conceded a goal we could avoid but after that we were
fighting for every ball. These players care, you could see that.
"We were working so hard against a good
team, and we were doing well. Itís a pity that a player with quality made
the difference at the end.
"We finished the first half - the last 20 minutes - being the better
side. That, for me, is clear. In the second half, they started moving the ball
with more pace.
"You are getting tired, and itís not easy, but we finished with a
corner, so we couldnít do more"
(apart from actually send the damn
thing over into the box.....)
"You could see a lot of positives with the performance but no points. We
knew that they would keep the ball and we had to maximise what we did when we
got the ball.
"We had some chances on the counter but our final pass wasn't there. What I can see is that we have to stay calm because it is a long
distance race and next week against Cardiff will be massive.
"We have to win more games and we have to do well in the rest of the
games. My feeling is that I have
confidence in the team if they continue to work as they did today.
will have chances to get points against teams who will be closer to us. We
have to be better than three teams and if we play like we did today we will do
"Whatever happens, this squad can stay up. If we work and play with the
same passion, intensity and work rate, we will definitely have chances to
get points against a lot of teams.
"We know we can beat some of the teams we still have to play, and in
the end, that will make the difference. We have to beat the teams at the
bottom of the table.
"We are quite close - we have seen that in a lot of the games against
the big teams. When we play against the top sides, we have been close in
every game, apart from maybe Liverpool in the last game. Manchester City,
Arsenal, Manchester United - we have always been in the games.
"The team has played well and we have had chances, but the final
decision in the final third is the decisive thing. If you want to get that
right, you have to spend the money. For these players, clubs like Chelsea
pay £40million, £50million, £100million, whatever.
"That makes the difference. When you're working so hard, but then one
player like Willian makes the difference, you cannot do too much. You have
to create chances, and we did that. But they take the chances, and, for you,
it's much more difficult"
On Sean Longstaff:
"We knew we had problems with
(Mo) Diame and
(Jonjo) Shelvey and we have a lot of confidence in him. We didn't
want to put him in a position that would be too much for him. We knew it
would be difficult, but at the same time we had confidence he could do
On Florian Lejeune:
"He gives us something on the ball, and he helps us to play the way we
want to play sometimes from the back. He can play short or long, and I am
happy with him coming back because he is another player and he can give us
On Rondon's late chance:
"He didnít have much power
(in the header) but at least we
were there. And the point for me is the team was working so hard; they fight
for each other, they fight for every ball, and they try until the last minute.Ē
On the owner's presence:
was talking with Lee Charnley before the game. I havenít seen Mike (Ashley)
afterwards, but I knew he was here."
"I am really very happy with the result. I was really very happy with
the performance at Tottenham.
"Today we started very well for 10 minutes. After the goal I think we
thought 'now it's easy', but it wasn't. We slept for 20, 25 minutes, so at the
end of the first half we were in trouble.
"We need to improve in the mental
reaction. After our first goal something happened. We stopped to play for 25
minutes. We need to improve. It was really very important to get three points.
For now it's enough.
"We were better in the second half. I'm very happy with the result but we
need to improve mentally and technically because we lost a lot of the ball
in a stupid way.
"I think our wingers attacked the space better than in the last five or six
matches but we need to attack the box better.
"It's very difficult to understand. In the last five
matches for us it really was very difficult to score. Today we scored after nine
minutes, so the team thought today is very easy. We stopped to play and then we
"We were not able to react in the
right way to the difficulty. Today wasn't a difficulty. We scored after nine
minutes, so we had not to face difficulty.
"But in the last match, for the first time in Watford, we reacted very well
to the 1-1, after the goal in the last minute of the first half. I think, apart
from the result, we reacted really very well in the last match with Tottenham.
"Today we had only to manage a positive situation. I think we need to
improve our mentality. Our mentality global, I think."
On Eden Hazard and his "false nine" role:
"At the moment in the defensive phase we are doing very well and one of the
reasons, in my opinion, is that Eden is playing in that position.
In the second half my feeling was that
he enjoyed (it). I played him there because I
wanted to see the solution with the three small players.
"I think that at this moment it is a
very good solution because we are not less dangerous in the offensive phase and
in the defensive phase we are more balanced.
"In the last six matches we have conceded only three goals and one was a
penalty. Now we need to improve attacking in the box when the ball is out of the
box. It is impossible for Eden to stay in the box."
scored for the third time this season, moving into second place in
the scoring charts behind five goal Salomon Rondon. Like his efforts at home
to Arsenal and at Burnley, this was a header.
He now has eight NUFC goals: three this season, two last and three in the Championship.
Newcastle have scored just three times in their last six league and cup
games but Matt Ritchie had a hand in all of them; his cross converted
by Rondon at Watford, scoring the penalty against Blackburn Rovers and
supplying an assist from a corner kick today.
Toon @ Stamford Bridge: Premier League era:
2018/19: Lost 1-2 Clark
2017/18: Lost 0-3 (FAC)
2017/18: Lost 1-3 Gayle
2015/16: Lost 1-5 Townsend
2014/15: Lost 0-2
2013/14: Lost 0-3
2012/13: Lost 0-2
2011/12: Won 2-0 Cisse 2
2010/11: Drew 2-2 Gutierrez, S.Taylor
2010/11: Won 4-3 Ranger, R.Taylor, Ameobi 2 (LC)
2008/09: Drew 0-0
2007/08: Lost 1-2 Butt
2006/07: Lost 0-1
2005/06: Lost 0-1 (FAC)
2005/06: Lost 0-3
2004/05: Lost 0-4
2003/04: Lost 0-5
2002/03: Lost 0-3
2001/02: Lost 0-1 (LC)
2001/02: Drew 1-1 Acuna
2000/01: Lost 1-3 Bassedas
1999/00: Lost 0-1
1998/99: Drew 1-1 Andersson
1997/98: Lost 0-1
1996/97: Drew 1-1 Shearer
1995/96: Drew 1-1 Ferdinand (FAC)
1995/96: Lost 0-1
1994/95: Drew 1-1 Hottiger
1993/94: Lost 0-1
nobody's great surprise, Newcastle suffered their seventh straight loss
at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, rounding off a miserable afternoon when results elsewhere
had dumped them into the bottom three before their teatime kick-off.
However, the margin of defeat was less than many had feared and despite a sizeable
number of absentees, this was another spirited display against a top six side
ultimately could be crucial if goal difference comes into play at the end of
An opener from Pedro looked like the prelude to a mauling in West London, but the hosts failed to press their early advantage and it
was United who grew into the game and took the chance given to find their feet as the half
Florian Lejeune tested goalkeeper Kepa Arrizbalaga, while Salomon Rondon and Ayoze Perez
both missed the target when presented with shooting chances before Ciaran
Clark headed home amid scenes of great joy in one corner of what was otherwise
an atmospheric void - despite pre-game blackouts, spotlights and leaping
Martin Dubravka pulled off a fine save to foil Pedro two minutes after the
restart, denying Willian and Pedro again as the hosts looked to regain the
lead. Reality intervened shortly before the hour mark though: Christian Atsu
losing possession on the left (whether fouled or falling over was unclear) and
the ball smuggled forward by Eden Hazard before Willian curled it home with
Although it seemed inevitable that a third goal would follow if Hazard could
be bothered to weave his way through our ranks, his side's lack of urgency in
doing so left the result still in doubt until full time -
although chances for a second Newcastle goal rarely presented
Rondon did head wide late on when well-placed, but a lack of drive from the
visitors was the cause of significant frustration in the away section - culminating in
Ritchie's corner deep in added time being inexplicably played short to Atsu, whose cross harmlessly drifted out.
(Rafa Benitez had looked less than enchanted with Newcastle's equaliser and
the subsequent conversation with his coaches captured on TV suggested that the
players had deviated from the allotted set piece routine. On that basis, the
added time one was as per instruction - Dubravka's request to join the attack
for one last fling visibly turned down by the bench).
It was hard to escape the nagging thought that we'd settled for this margin of
defeat by the end and either wouldn't or couldn't try to alter that outcome:
our reticence exemplified by a second half free kick outside the visitor's
area when referee Chris Kavanagh actually made the defensive wall come
forward, as it had retreated further back than the regulation
Five league games
without a win then and while teams around us hit some form, our latest barren spell comes in the
middle of a batch of tough fixtures.
Our squad looks as threadbare as
ever; injuries and international commitments meaning our central midfield
today comprised a rookie (Sean Longstaff) and a wantaway underachiever (Isaac
Longstaff's fourth club appearance was his first Premier League start and
he held his own against elite opposition, shaping attacks in the closing
stages with some pinpoint passes out to the flanks.
Better Toon sides than this have lost by greater margins at this venue, but
that's of no relevance to our plight. The fact that we achieved anything was due in part to
Chelsea's shortcomings: had we possessed more quality and confidence, the situation could have been turned to our advantage.
There were some small elements of satisfaction here; not conceding a hatful
and regaining the ability to score a set piece goal, something that was
integral to our fortunes last season. The return of Florian Lejeune may also
be significant, but he's a defender - our real need is at the other end.
Failing to strengthen during January is unthinkable but only too
believable. And even if funds are released, our mid-season transfer activity
routinely verges on the laughable: hyped-up phantom bids or signings
whose of limited worth (Henri Saivet) or none at all (Islam Slimani, Seydou
If our first-choice XI routinely struggles to score and keep clean sheets,
then what logic suggests that a shadow side can hold its own, never mind
With fellow strugglers Cardiff City, Huddersfield Town,
Burnley, Crystal Palace and Southampton all still to visit Tyneside, our
destiny will be decided at home.
Not beating Neil Warnock's lot would be a body blow; failing to
actually try and win as per the Fulham home shambles absolutely
Before that though comes an unwanted FA Cup replay when our team selection
hardly bears thinking about; begging the question just what the point of any
of this actually is - and what staying up would really achieve, without a
change of ownership and direction off the field.
Seeing media discussions about the "necessity" of Chelsea signing a
striker sticks in the throat: Meanwhile Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud are
benched, Tammy Abraham and Michy Batshuayi banished elsewhere. Meanwhile we do
a loan swap deal for a Championship striker, splash out on another one from
Stoke's stiffs and think that'll be enough to get by on. Why do we bother?
PS: Post-match headlines were filled by pro-Ashley pundits of dubious morality
spouting yet more garbage about NUFC, something that was quickly and robustly
rebuffed by fans and journalists.
Forgive us if we don't rake over the ashes of a complete sideshow and
diversion. These people are utterly irrelevant, just ignore them - don't let
them poke you with a stick for their kicks and clicks.