Newcastle 0 – Chelsea 3

30th October 2021

Halloween might have been the next day, but some Newcastle fans will have felt like they were having nightmares watching this performance. There were so many similarities with the Spurs game it is untrue and the only thing worth wondering is … how wasn’t it more?

The game started with a great display again from Wor Flags, the best thing about the takeover so far has been their return. The atmosphere was bouncing and when Ryan Fraser got in down the left, he pulled the ball back across the face of the six yard box. Little did we know then that would be the closest Mendy would get to being troubled for 85 odd minutes. The atmosphere was good, we had caused their back line a slight problem with pace, cue fifteen minutes where I’m not sure we touched the ball in any meaningful way. I can only describe it as looking like a training game in one half of a pitch, blues you attack, black and whites try and defend.

However there were some elements to the defensive plan that had got buy in from the players. Push them wide, don’t allow Chilwell to run in from the left. Crosses to Havertz won’t work so let’s try and use our height as an advantage but being honest the Gallowgate end of the ground saw all the first half action. Ziyech should have scored when well placed, having earlier seen the linesman’s flag deny him. I’m still not sure how it happened but from six yards out unmarked he aimed for the roof of the stand.

Then after thirty seven minutes Chelsea suddenly realised that if their centre halves ran at us two things would happen. One is that Allan Saint Maximin wouldn’t press them and would stay exactly where he was, most likely sticking like a limpet to a defender. The second thing is that nobody would challenge him for seventy yards, with Sean Longstaff looking like an eleven year old trying to catch him. We can blame Bruce for loads of things, but he didn’t prepare these players, choose to play this formation or try and play narrow against a back five. It didn’t work and that lies at Jones’ door whether he wants to accept that or not.

The referee was doing his best to get on home nerves by booking anyone who took longer than eight seconds over a throw in. The main focus should have been on our inability to keep hold of the ball. However at half time there was a sense of we will take this.

The second half started with a deflection crashing off the Leazes post. It was a warning and for fifteen minutes, Newcastle clearly felt they were going to be ok. Then came something so bizarre I can’t ever remember seeing it before. The ground stood to applaud a solid Isaac Hayden performance, then two Chelsea substitutions. However, when those subs happened, Hayden was still on the pitch. Confusion in the stands. Within ninety seconds Chelsea were ahead, a ball towards Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the box, flew up in the air to Reece James, who scored.

I am sick of conceding goals from our left hand side. It’s boring, it’s rubbish and it’s obvious to every other team in the league. Thomas Tuchel made changes to score goals, we paused to react, stupid given they already had the initiative and made worse when Almiron came on to cover that left hand side of midfield.

Surely a reaction then… nope! Just the same subs made – Fraser and Hayden, for Willock and Almiron. I felt sorry for Fraser, he’s another winger not allowed to play on the wing.

Twelve minutes later it was two, and their right full back scored from the same position. This time it wasn’t even hard, the keeper was on the other side of the goal. Reece James looks a great attacker against us, if Southgate watched this he’d pick him every game for the next ten years.

The second half can be summed up in one moment. Havertz got the ball, surrounded by four Newcastle players, Lascelles just kicked him over and gave away a free kick. He ran away not even that arsed, he is so poor at the moment and offering no leadership at all.

Shelvey got off the bench, we gave away a penalty and this was game over. Ross Barkley spent at least twenty seconds taking the mick out of Ciaran Clark on the end of our box doing a training drill my eldest does on a Monday night at Wideopen.

The system doesn’t work. It doesn’t suit the players. The same mistakes keep happening. The same peculiar tactics with wingers not playing as wingers continues. I don’t know if everyone is trying their best, but we need a plan and we need it pretty soon. Mike Ashley didn’t have a plan bar keep Bruce, our new owners have got rid of that issue, but we need some forward momentum.

A footballing board. A manager and director of football. A system that means we get the best for the team not individuals would be great, because we judged the last bloke on his non-decisions, I’ll judge this group the same. We can say they need time and we should show patience but if we don’t sort this problem quickly we will be watching Championship football before Champions League.

Stephen Ord @smord84

FULL TIME REACTIONS 

Goalless, clueless, hapless and ultimately pointless.

About as convincing a defeat as I’ve seen in ages and in all honesty, we were flattered at 0-3.

Though we looked slightly harder to get at first half, it was only a matter of time before the breakthrough and subsequent collapse. 2 unchallenged shots in the left back position more than highlighting the need for change there.

Poor distribution and ball retention throughout and just what is going on with our “front 3”? Fraser contributed nothing and dropped in to his own half constantly. Also, free roles are not the way forward when we need shape and discipline.

A new manager can’t get here quick enough.

STEVE WALLWORK

 Simply outclassed in every department. They were faster with better technique and far better drilled by a far superior coaching for the thick end of the last 12 months.

Ashley and Bruce have left very little for the new owners and whoever the new manager will be to work with. As a club we are at the bare bones. The rebuild is massive and although we can never give in, that might take place in the Championship after ten games without a win.

We are particularly lacking in the centre of midfield where Hayden-Longstaff were simply cut out the game and found badly wanting.

But the same can be said about a Championship back-line that severely lacks pace and quality.

A new manager is now critical and at least five players have to be ready to sign on 1/Jan/22. That can’t come quickly enough.

MICHAEL MARTIN

 Didn’t expect anything today but we can’t be surprised at the result. One team won the champions league, the others wouldn’t win the championship.

Lots of noise and support but there’s nothing there that looks like a plan, Jones was given the big push but really he and the staff are the same and the players haven’t changed.

No bounce back at all here, need a plan in action soon.

STEPHEN ORD