Newcastle Utd 2 Chelsea 1
Chelsea’s run of six straight wins came to an end on Tyneside after an insipid display against Newcastle United. José Mourinho pulled no punches as he criticised his team for not turning up against the Magpies, allowing Gouffran and Remy to give their side victory and let Arsenal move five points clear at the top.
Chelsea made just two changes to the side which defeated Manchester City in the last league game, with David Luiz replacing Gary Cahill and Juan Mata finally getting a start, coming in for Andre Schurrle.
The Blues made a bright start on a dull day with Eden Hazard in particular looking dangerous in the wet conditions. With 12 minutes gone the visitors were rather unlucky not to take the lead when a Mata corner found John Terry who headed against the crossbar. The ball then fell to Fernando Torres but his dipping effort also struck the woodwork and Newcastle got away with some sloppy defending early on.
There was little to suggest that the home team would open the scoring, with Terry and Branislav Ivanovic cutting out forays into their area, leaving Petr Cech with nothing to do.
At the other end, Krul was finding life fairly easy as well, and wasn’t really tested until Ashley Cole hit a low shot at him from out wide. It was shot on target but an easy take for the Newcastle ‘keeper.
In spite of playing the better football, it looked as if Chelsea’s best chance of taking the lead would come from a set-piece. A corner won by Oscar again found Terry in the box and this time he hit the target but Santon got there in time to clear it off the line. From that clearance the Magpies broke but Cech dealt comfortably with Sissoko’s shot.
A decent half from a Chelsea point of view ended all-square, but Mourinho revealed after the game that he warned his players against complacency during the break. Unfortunately it was not a message that was heeded.
There were no changes from either side at the break, although Newcastle had to make a switch within seven minutes of the re-start when Tiote went off injured and was replaced by Anita.
The hosts were starting to look reasonably threatening though as the half wore on and Terry did well to block from Ameobi before Sissoko found himself in space and had a dig at goal. His effort was saved by Cech, but only just, and when Remy forced the Chelsea keeper into another save just moments later it was a sign that pressure was really building on Mourinho’s team.
He responded with two changes with Samuel Eto’o coming on for Torres and Willian replacing Mata, but there was little time for them to make an impact before Newcastle grabbed the lead. First Gouffran tested Cech, who saved, but on 67 minutes the Frenchman found the target. A free-kick allowed Cabaye to send the ball into the box and Gouffran got free from his marker and headed past the Chelsea ‘keeper.
Mourinho was not a happy man as St James’ Park celebrated and he made a third and final substitution almost instantly, bringing Schurrle on for Frank Lampard. Newcastle still looked the more dangerous though and it took another quality block from Terry to deny Sissoko.
There were moments when it looked like Chelsea might get something from the game, and the closest they came was on 79 minutes when Willian picked up an Oscar pass and rifled an effort at Krul. The shot was saved before coming out to Eto’o but Debuchy was there to block and the chance was gone.
Hazard meanwhile should have done better with a chance that fell his way with four minutes left to play. He had the ball in a good position and went for goal but sent his effort wide when he should have at least tested Krul.
It looked like Chelsea’s last chance of getting something from the game was gone and, true enough, Newcastle sealed the win with two minutes to go. Remy picked up a loose ball in the box and fired home to make it 2-0 and condemn Chelsea to a second defeat of the season.
Chelsea; Cech, Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Lampard (Schurrle 69), Oscar, Mata (Willian61), Hazard, Torres (Eto’o 61)
Unused subs; Schwarzer, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Mikel
Booked; Luiz, Ramires
Referee; L Mason