A sensational right footed curler from Joe Willock in the 67th minute earned Newcastle a huge 1-0 win over Chelsea on Saturday evening at St James’ Park. Willock latched on to a loose ball just on the edge of the penalty box after some wonderful wing play from Miguel Almiron.
This was Newcastle’s fifth consecutive win in the Premier League as the Magpies leapfrogged Tottenham Hotspur into third place in the table, only two points adrift of Manchester City having played an extra game.
As we break for the World Cup, this will the first time that Eddie Howe’s side will be in the top three of the Premier League season since 2002-02 season.
As for Chelsea, the pressure will mount on manager GrahamPotter, whose side has now gone on without any win in the last 5 league games. The last time the Blues were in such a precarious situation, was 10 years back in 2012.
Chelsea’s misery deepens
Chelsea had to cope without star English international Raheem Sterling who was missing through a sickness bug while for the home side, Callum Wilson was only deemed fit to take his place on the bench for Newcastle following a week of illness.
Conor Gallagher tested Nick Pope with an early effort on goal but apart from that the away side hardly had any bite in midfield and attack. Potter’s side were dominated in every inch of grass as Newcastle pushed the visitors with their relentless pressing.
Ruben Loftus Cheek had to be withdrawn after suffering a knock as Chelsea moved to a back three settling in a 3-4-2-1 formation.
Chelsea struggled to assert any control in the middle of the pitch with Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho failing to string passes into the final third. Striker Armando Broja however, latched on a quick release pass from Gallagher in the 28th minute but could only shoot straight to Pope who gathered with ease.
Newcastle might have felt hard done by just before the half time whistle after the referee waved away shouts for a penalty following Dan Brun’s low cross that appeared to have brushed Trevoh Chaobah’s arm.
Newcastle were by far the better side following the break but spurned two chances to take the lead. First Chris Wood failed to connect Kieran Trippier’s cross before Sean Longstaff blazed his shot well over the cross bar.
Chelsea could have taken the lead themselves had it not been for Nick Pope, once again denying Gallagher’s finely taken effort, at full stretch.
Newcastle in dreamland
Newcastle finally broke the deadlock as the man of the moment, Almiron swerved past Kalidou Koulibaly setting the stage for Willock’s thunderous strike that left Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy helpless.
Even with the changes made by Potter following his team going behind, bringing on Marc Cucurella, Hakim Ziyech and Kai Havertz, Chelsea hardly threatened the Newcastle goal as the traveling side slumped to yet another loss. The London side currently sit eighth in the standings with 21 points, 8 adrift of Tottenham for a place in the top four.
The final whistle triggered ugly scenes with either set of players venting their frustration at one another. The home fans though wouldn’t care as they saw their beloved Magpies sit comfortably in third, challenging for a Champions League berth.
Photo credit: IMAGO / PA Images
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