Two goals from substitute Papiss Cisse was enough for Newcastle United to claim all three points and move to within two points off a top four spot. For the League leaders, their unbeaten run came to a shuddering halt as Jose Mourinho failed to emerge victorious from St. James Park once again even though they enjoyed more of the ball and were playing with a man advantage for the final 15 minutes.
Here are the major talking points from the game.
Too many Chelsea players fail to turn up
Although there were some who said that Chelsea could go through the entire campaign unbeaten, one of the reasons why it is almost impossible was demonstrated on Saturday. While there is no doubt that the Blues are the best team in the League at the moment, but all it takes is a couple of suspensions, injuries and players to have off days for you to lose a game in the Premier League, especially away from home.
That was certainly the case against Newcastle as the visitors missed the physicality and technique of Nemanja Matic who was suspended. Although Diego Costa was back, he had one of his worst games in his Chelsea career so far. And he wasn’t alone as well. At the back, the ever-reliable Gary Cahill didn’t have the best of games and Branislav Ivanovic was unable to bomb forward like he always does. In midfield, Oscar and Fabregas, who will now be suspended for game against Hull had an off day and there just too many Chelsea players who didn’t turn up and that is something you cannot do away from home in the Premier League, especially at a ground where you have lost for the last two seasons.
Pardew’s substitutions works wonders
So far this season, Alan Pardew has gone from the depths of despair to the dizzying heights of paradise, all in just 14 games. But if there has been one constant throughout that period, it has been his substitutions and how they have changed games. Against Chelsea, that trend continued as the Magpies became the first team to beat the Blues in the League this season and ended their 23 game unbeaten run in all competitions.
Although the home side looked solid in the first half and had a couple of chances to score, they were never quite able to create too many openings. In the second half, Pardew brought on Papiss Cisse to give his side a target man up front to hold onto the ball and moved Ayoze Perez to the right flank. And that moved worked a treat as the substitute scored two crucial goals to give his side their third-straight victory over Chelsea at home and extend the side’s unbeaten record against Jose Mourinho.
Colback delivers a midfield master class
So far this season, Newcastle’s midfield has garnered a lot of attention. Much of it has been on Moussa Sissoko, who has without a doubt been the club’s best attacker this season. But against Chelsea, it was another midfielder who stepped up and had one of the most complete midfield displays of the season so far. Jack Colback has been criticised in some sections for his performances this season, but against the League leaders gave a performance that showed just why he received a call-up to the national side.
The 25-year-old showed two completely different facets to his game against the Blues. In the first half, he pushed forward and helped out in attack as much as he could and had the half’s best opportunity. In the second, with his side leading the game, he showed his defensive as he held onto the ball well, shielded his defence and made some crunching tackles while also making providing some precise through balls from deep and initiating attacks. If his time at Wearside didn’t endear him to the crowd, performances like this will certainly do.