Chelsea surrendered their unbeaten record in a disappointing 2-1 defeat at Newcastle on Saturday. Sloppy defending twice allowed Papiss Cisse to score, before Steven Taylor was sent off for the hosts. Didier Drogba pulled one back, but it wasn’t enough to rescue a point for the Blues.
Chelsea came into this game with almost a full strength team, but they were missing Nemanja Matic through suspension. They were looking to end an unwelcome record for Jose Mourinho, as he had never won a game at St James’ Park. The Blues boss also knew his side had lost here on their last two visits, so they had to up their game.
In truth, the Blues did up their game. They had two thirds of the possession, had 26 shots and 10 corners, but they just couldn’t make that apparent dominance count. The first half was an even affair, with both sides creating chances, but Newcastle made the breakthrough in the second half. Gary Cahill couldn’t get to Sammy Ameobi’s cross, and that left Cisse with an easy tap-in to put the hosts in front.
The Blues pushed forward trying to get themselves back into the game, and Eden Hazard saw his shot cannon off the post. Sadly for the Blues, seconds later Newcastle were more clinical at the other end. The Magpies counter-attacked, and the ball fell to Cisse once again who gleefully doubled the lead. He could hardly believe his luck against a usually solid Chelsea back line.
The visitors were handed a way back into the game when Steven Taylor, who was already on a yellow card, fouled Andre Schurrle and received his marching orders. Didier Drogba came off the bench to join Costa up front, and he pulled a goal back for Chelsea. Cesc Fabregas once again made the assist, as his free kick was headed in by the big Ivorian.
They pushed for the equaliser, but missed several chances late on that could have clinched a point. With that, their 21 game unbeaten run was brought to an end, and City were handed a massive opportunity in the title race. It’s important to remember that this is a particularly difficult trip to make, especially without the man that Mourinho considers to be Chelsea’s best player.
After the game, the Blues’ manager criticised the crowd for time wasting towards the end of the game. “Things were happening that the referee cannot control,” said Mourinho. “He cannot punish the ball boy that disappears, the people in the crowd that keep the ball or somebody that throws a second ball on to the pitch.”
“If the six minutes were to be played normally it would be fine, but again in the six minutes more of the same happens,” he added. “One thing is to waste time on the pitch in a proper way – you keep the ball, you go to the corner, you hold the ball, you wait for the free-kick and the goalkeeper is not running to get the ball. But another thing is what happens outside the four lines which is the responsibility not of the referee.”
LCN Man of the Match: Didier Drogba