Illustrated Premier League Match Report: Newcastle 0 – 3 Chelsea like you’ve never seen
A scoreline like this for a game like the one we all witnessed on Saturday serves as a perfect demonstration of the maxim that there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. All stats mean nothing, but yet paradoxically some stats–goals, for instance–mean everything. Such is the world in its cruel contradictions.
But enough philosophy. There’s a game to cover.
Chelsea came to Newcastle to kick some ass. They’ve been on a bad run lately and Andre Villas-Boas needed a win, hard. Drogba was favored over Torres. Fat Frank was in midfield, though. And Oriol Romeu started instead of John Obi Mikel, which messed with my head because I know basically nothing about Romeu and am quite fond of the bullfrog-esque Mikel. But that’s life, jump into life.
Four minutes in David Luiz let Demba Ba slip past him and fell over on top of the striker to try and make up for it. Luiz should have received a red card for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity but the ref was a bit of a chicken about it.
Nothing came of the free kick given and that was that. Now a lot of teams might sort of shut down or just react poorly to a major decision going against them so wrongly. Fortunately for Newcastle they’re a quality side these days, with a lot of (clears throat) character. Just because commentators overuse it doesn’t mean it isn’t true sometimes.
Indeed the Toons were invigorated by the injustice and played their best game all season. For the rest of the game Demba Ba tortured David Luiz, going straight for him whenever he needed to challenge a defender.
Only three minutes after the non-red Ba literally steamrolled the Brazilian, it was hilarious. The game felt kind of like this, to be honest.
At 13 minutes Chelsea won a penalty. It was soft, but yeah it was a penalty. Not that it mattered though–Tim Krul saved Frank Lampard’s shot!
Hahahahahaha Frank Lampard missed a penalty hahahahahaha! But how good was Krul this game? He was brilliant, beautiful, badass, brick wallish. He was really good.
In the fifteenth minute Daniel Sturridge hit the post. This was the first of what would be many, many, many, many wasted chances for the young Englishman. By the end of the game Sturridge’s crusade to score devolved into a bitter, deeply personal war of attrition between the tricky winger and in-form goalkeeper.
Sturridge spurned many opportunities to make assists in his single-minded, tunnel-visioned quest to put the ball in the back of the net with his own foot.
At 21 minutes, Juan Mata served Sturridge with a forensic through ball, but Krul blocked the shot.
A minute later, Sturridge missed again despite having options for a pass in the box.
In the 24th minute, Demba Ba almost scored on the other end, a superb backheeled volley flicked towards goal. Petr Cech showed he’s still got it with a save to match the skill.
In the 27th minute, Newcastle’s centerback and captain Fabriccio Coloccini limped off the field with an injury. : (
In the 29th minute, Juan Mata pulled off a Cruyffian first touch and sent a killer whipped in cross to Drogba, who skied it. And when I say Cruyffian first touch, I mean THAT first touch.
Yeah. That one. Wow.
In the 34th minute Newcastle were on the attack again and a killer ball in from Danny Guthrie got headed goalward by the irrepressible Ba, beating Cech but hitting the post. John Terry rushed to clear it but only managed to blast it into David Luiz’s back and deflected back towards goal. Cech pushed it out for a corner, and to be fair it was probably going wide anyway, but what a chance it was.
In the 37th minute Chelsea finally scored the game’s first goal. Juan Mata made an excellent run off a throw-in and floated it to Drogba, who put it in with a cannon of a header. Chelsea were 1-0 up but with the way both teams were playing an equaliser seemed almost inevitable.
It was evitable.
At 40 minutes Sturridge and Krul did their little ritualistic dance of shot and block.
The second half continued much in the same way as the first, with both teams really going at it and working hard and creating chances that failed to finish.
Ten minutes into the second half, Frank Lampard already looked knackered. He was sluggish and droopy-faced. In the 60th minute Andre Villas-Boas did the sensible/humane thing and subbed him off for Raul Meireles.
As the game headed past the hour mark things started to get a little scrappy. First Raul Meireles got a stray kick to the head as he and a Newcastle player both slid for a ball. Then Ashley Cole almost got kicked in the head as he tried to clear a ball in the box.
In the 73rd minute Newcastle almost got their equaliser, as Cech came off his line to collect but was beaten. John Terry was there to clear it off the line though, his experience and instinct leading him to stand in the exact perfect spot. The captain had a really good game, and despite being absolute human garbage as far as personality, the man’s still an excellent footballer.
In the 82nd minute Sturridge and Krul met again.
Two minutes later Sturridge got a yellow for kicking the ball away in frustration after giving away a foul.
The next minute it was back to the old dance, Sturridge and Krul and still the Dutch keeper remained supreme.
At last, in the 88th minute, great work in the box from Fernando Torres (who’d come on earlier as a sub for Drogba ten minutes earlier) led to Chelsea’s second goal, scored by Salomon Kalou (who’d also come on as a sub earlier, for Juan Mata).
In the aftermath of the goal it became apparent that Newcastle’s other centerback Stephen Taylor had pulled a leg muscle or something, and had to go off though manager Alan Pardew had already used all his subs. Newcastle were now missing both of their first-choice centerbacks and their chances of remaining in the top European places for the coming weeks look grim. Sorry Newcastle, it was fun while it lasted.
Now playing with ten men and two goals down, Newcastle were broken. In the last minute of stoppage time Daniel Sturridge beat Tim Krul and got his goal.
At long last, it was finished.
So, Chelsea are back on the rise and Newcastle are in decline once more. Ebb and flow, to and fro, high and low, that’s what makes the world go round.
See you next week for the latest turn in the wheel of history.