Make that 5!
Chelsea had to fight hard to beat Newcastle as an Alonso goal in the 2nd half was enough on the day. The lineup was fairly straight forward although the team was not heavily rotated as expected. Kepa was in goal with Alonso, Zouma, Tomori, and Azpilicueta making up the back four. Jorginho, Barkley, and Mount made up the midfield while Willian, Tammy, and Hudson-Odoi started upfront. Newcastle had an expected lineup as they set up defensively from the get go.
Chelsea had the ball from the 1st minute as Newcastle’s plan became evident, they would sit back defend deep and counter attack with pace. For much of the first half there was not much to talk about with Chelsea going close on a couple of occasions but creating very few chances to make any difference. Newcastle were happy to concede possession and had some decent counters of their own but Tomori and Zouma stayed solid at the back.
Lampard clearly asked for more urgency and movement from his players during half time because Chelsea came out with some extra energy for the 2nd half. The ball was moving faster and shots were flying at the Newcastle goal. Barkley had come off at half time with a suspected ankle injury and so Kovacic was his replacement while Pulisic came on for Mount in the 2nd half. Pulisic and Kovacic made instant impacts as Kovacic controlled the ball well alongside Jorginho and Pulisic made more direct runs into the box. Pulisic had a brilliant chance to give Chelsea the lead half way through the 2nd half but the pass was behind him and he managed a shot which was saved by Dubravka. Pulisic then created the winner as he attracted the Newcastle defenders onto his side before cutting back for a pass to Alonso via Hudson-Odoi who laid it into the Spaniards path to score in the 73rd minute. Pulisic then combined well with Kovacic and was through on goal with Tammy beside him and he passed it to Tammy only for Yedlin to make a last minute stop. Reece James came on for the final few minutes to make his Premier League debut as Chelsea saw out the game for the 3 points.
Player wise Kepa did not have much to do as he got another clean sheet to his name. The defence was solid with Zouma being the best out of the four while Azpi lacked impact going forward, Tomori made some wayward passes and Alonso was poor up until the goal. Jorginho was standout once again as he controlled the midfield and made several passes forward while Kovacic made a good impact off the bench with his close control. Barkley was not great when he was on the pitch and Mount made some great movement in the box but looked like he needed a rest. Willian was decent as he worked hard off the ball but not enough with while Hudson-Odoi was another man of the match contender with his constant threat. Tammy should have got a goal ore more and is steadily developing as Chelsea’s striker. Pulisic got more minutes and again had a positive impact when he came on as slowly his starts will come while Reece James league debut was just a small taste of what is to come.
3 points for Chelsea 5 wins in a row and next up is Ajax for Lampard and his team. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!