Blues make amends with Magpies
Written By: Robert Halter
Chelsea looked to avenge their 2-1 defeat at Newcastle United as the Magpies under the stewardship of caretaker boss, John Carver played out the Blues first home Premiership fixture in 2015 and with Thibaut Courtois sidelined with a finger injury, Petr Cech was drafted into goal with the Blues also giving Kurt Zouma his first league start in the heart of defence. Cech was tested for the first time in the opening exchanges with a low drive by Moussa Sissoko, but it failed to trouble the Blues shot stopper. On seventeen minutes, Vurnon Anita’s well placed cross, went fractions past the advancing Ayoze Perez, as the Toon army tried to boss the game in the early stages of the first half. Then two minutes later, Remy Cabella ran at the heart of the Chelsea defence and it took the instep of Blues captain, John Terry to avert Cabella’s low effort away. The Magpies pressure continued on twenty one minutes, after Branislav Ivanovic tripped Cabella and an arrowed free kick by Yoan Gouffran was beaten away by Cech at full stretch before Cesar Azpilicueta hooked clear a follow up header from Paul Dummett. But the Blues responded immediately in a breakaway move that put Diego Costa in sight of goal, but a timely intervention by Jack Colback, averted the danger. Then midway through the first half, an over the top ball from Nemanja Matic fell kindly for Blues midfielder Oscar, but he guided his strike wide of the target area. In their black and white strip, Newcastle were still in the picture on thirty one minutes, after Eden Hazard fell while losing possession, and Cabella charged through before unleashing a low drive that required Cech to make a full length save across to his right. But there was more concerns for Chelsea on thirty five minutes, as Azpilicueta pulled up injured, and the Magpies were close to ceasing the advantage when Cabella supplied Sissoko on the right and from a tight angle, he sent a shot crashing against the top frame of the crossbar. Felipe Luis was then brought on for Azpilicueta. But against the run of play, Chelsea got the all important breakthrough on forty two minutes, after a quickly taken corner by Willian which fooled Magpies keeper Tim Krul with his back turned and he was unable to recover in time as the ball was put across by Ivanovic for Oscar, to tuck the ball into the left side of the net. In added first half time, Mike Williamson tripped Costa on the edge of the box and Krul was forced to push away Willian’s curling free kick. Eight minutes into the re-start, the Blues had a penalty appeal turned away, after ball to hand from Newcastle captain, Fabricio Coloccini from a Costa chip into the box. But on fifty eight minutes, Chelsea grabbed a second as Hazard floated the ball in which was laid back from Oscar but there was still work to do for Costa, as he swivelled and turned in the area before firing his shot past a stranded Krul into the left part of the netting. Newcastle then took off Gouffran and replaced him with Sammy Ameobi, who made an immediate impact as he blasted the ball over from the left side line which required Cech to step back and palm the ball over for safety. On sixty seven minutes, Costa couldn’t get his shot away from an intervention by Anita, following a header back by Oscar from a Cesc Fabregas delivery. In the seventy third minute, after trickery by Hazard to fend off Colback, quick feet by Krul at his near post, snuffed out the attack. Chelsea then subbed Oscar as Ramires took over. Then silky skill by Costa, turned the Magpies defence inside out, before the last man standing, Coloccini hooked the ball over. Costa was then replaced by Loic Remy to face his former club while Newcastle took off Sissoko and brought on Emmanuel Riviere. In the eighty seventh minute, Fabregas presented a chance for Remy but his strike brushed the face of the goal although with Manchester City only drawing at Everton, a 2-0 win over Newcastle United had given Chelsea a two points advantage at the top of the Premier League table.