Mauricio Sarri’s Chelsea maintained their 100% record in the Premier League, seeking to remind the other Premier League top dogs that they too are involved in this title race.
The pre-match atmosphere was filled with unhappy Newcastle fans voicing their continued concerns about Mike Ashley’s ownership and running of the club, but yet again they refused to let the owner get in the way of the joy of watching their club.
The match itself was not lacking drama with the three goals coming in 11 second half minutes.
Eden Hazard put Chelsea ahead in the 76th minute from the penalty spot before substitute Joselu levelled the game with a fantastic header to send St. James’ Park into raptures. However heartbreak returned in the 87th minute due to a Yedlin own goal that Marcos Alonso will still be trying to claim as his own.
A First Half of Little Event
Rafa Benitez at half-time would’ve been delighted with his boys in black and white. They set up as 5-4-1 designed to stifle Chelsea and it worked.
The Londoners didn’t help themselves by playing very narrow not utilising the pace and skill they had on the wings.
Having said that, Newcastle can consider themselves very lucky to not have had any cards in the opening 45 minutes. They were kicking Chelsea all over the pitch, particularly Eden Hazard. Yet to give them credit, it definitely worked.
Chelsea were probing, especially with Jorginho who, according to OptaJoe (@OptaJoe), completed 86 passes out of a possible 92 in the opening 45 minutes; 19 more than the whole Newcastle side who only managed 67.
Flurry of goals
The beginning of the second half more or less mimicked the entirety of the first, until the 76th minute when Fabian Schar brought down Alonso in the box.
Up stepped Eden Hazard on his first start of the season to put Chelsea in front and silence the Newcastle faithful.
However the lead didn’t last long. In the 82nd minute Joselu stepped across his marker to meet Yedlin’s cross and superbly flick a header past Arrizabalaga to level the game.
However the assist maker soon turned villain as a defensive error from the home side fell to Alonso who drilled a right footed volley goalward that deflected off Yedlin and ended up in the back of the net.
You can’t say Chelsea didn’t deserve the win, they had over 81% possession, but Newcastle fought hard for the entire game and a point wouldn’t have been utterly undeserved for Benitez’s boys.
The result puts Chelsea second in league for the time being, only behind Liverpool on goal difference. A good start for Sarri.
Man of the Match: Eden Hazard
The forward caused trouble time and time again for the Magpies and the Belgian appears to be having no hangover whatsoever from the World Cup.