Newcastle United 1 Chelsea 0
12/Nov/22, KO: 5:30pm, St James’ Park, Premier League, Att: 52,264
Match Report from Stephen Ord @smord84 in the stands at St James’ Park.
I always liked Trainspotting, not the pastime but the film. The Iggy Pop accompaniment of choose life, choose cars, choose a f***ing big television! That was a sign of the times, a mid to late 90s feeling of emboldenment, for part of that period Newcastle finished second in the league twice, lost an FA Cup Final (twice) and a semi final at Wembley (just the once).
Eddie Howe’s Mags aren’t at that stage yet, but since early November 2021 this is a club, a fan base and a city transformed. This is a situation where we could choose not to play Allan Saint Maximin. Let that sink in! If this is Bruce, no way does Murphy come on instead but our manager has that control. We are Eddie’s hard to beat, ball dominating, sh*thousing, fight for each other, score when we want, beat everyone but LiVARpool Mags. This is like the Ultimate at Lightwater Valley when you were eleven and didn’t know about other theme parks, this is the best ride in the world and I don’t want to get off.
This match won’t stay long in the memory because I think in a years time beating Chelsea will be seen as the new normal. I can’t talk about the poppy display I was underneath it on the end of row E in the East Stand upper. I can’t claim that this was a game where I felt Newcastle dominated from start to finish, but what I can say is I never felt Chelsea threatened … not once … even Palace managed that.
Eddie got his team selection spot on, at times Willock had to become the left sided outlet and Joelinton had to tuck in. The team tried to create chances but was struggling, for a few reasons one of which is Chris Wood can’t play in this team when it’s all about one touch, vertical passing, breaking the lines football. He has his skills, that’s not them. The back four was outstanding from start to finish. Schar was probably concussed but played ninety minutes. Botman left to a standing ovation replaced by Targett having not allowed a Chelsea player a sniff of goal. Trips got booked but was happy to get in Cucurella’s face and despite not repeating the chant from the fans left him in no uncertain terms what he thought of his theatricals.
Longstaff in the first half just wanted that extra touch, he couldn’t have it as after Reuben Loftus-Cheek went off and Thiago Silva came on Potter looked to close up the back line – it made no difference. Longstaff was tireless and his endeavour was great to see, he may well prove to be the greatest improvement of the Howe era but he’s got such stern competition that people get restless. Enjoy the month off Sean, you’ve earned it!
Bruno didn’t have a great game, he’s seemed a bit off colour for a few weeks now. You wait till he’s swanning down Barrack Road with a World Cup winners medal, that will soon change. The bloke is world class, he will be brilliant in January I can tell.
Joe Willock scored a goal right out of the top drawer, he’d been pressed and harried in possession but today he stepped up and sent that ball flying into the net. Cue bedlam in all four stands, apart from one part of the Leazes. He deserved to get the winner today because for me he’s run his backside off for four months.
Miggy and his double headed assist. Not many players would have been that brave, would have taken that chance or would have wanted to stick their head in. He wouldn’t have done this time last year. What a change.
Nick Pope was excellent, Wilson brilliant off the bench. Joelinton for me can count himself unlucky that Fred goes to the World Cup and he doesn’t.
I could whinge about the referee (he was rubbish and really lost control in the last five minutes) or the melee at the end which seemed to be started because there was an innocuous (I’ve seen no replays) coming together between Burn and Havertz and then spilled over after full time.
But none of that matters.
On 30th November 2021 after a 1-1 draw with Norwich I sent my mate Rob a text saying simply “We’re down”. He reminded me of that tonight, as we sit third in the league, in a Champions League place.
So dust off your passports lads and lasses, get ready to hit Europe again, enjoy the World Cup and the break it brings. Enjoy Vallecano and Bournemouth and maybe even Leicester, but when next we all gather to play Leeds let’s think where we were, where we are and where we are going. These players and this team have been incredible and despite Potter not making the best of his side (moving Gallagher and replacing Mount seemed madness to me when they were Chelsea’s best two players on a poor night) we are making the most of ours.
Last time we beat Chelsea here it was a late Isaac Hayden header, when we’d been battered. Tonight Chelsea went home unable to lay a single glove on us. This is the new Newcastle United and I for one, can’t get enough of it. Look out “Big Six” because there’s a club in town who won’t lie down and play by your rules anymore!
E I E I E I O – third in the league and we are still pushing! Maybe the song is right, because if Bruno truly knows what we need then we are going to win the Premier League!
Stephen Ord @smord84