In a wild Premier League match, Chelsea came back to draw against Newcastle 2-2. The Blues were down 2-0 and looked lackluster at best. Some key substitutes, Willian and Ramires, changed the tide and nearly got them a victory in the end. Newcastle looked extremely good, and was headed towards their first league win of the season, until the reigning champions turned up their intensity.
Much like how this season started for Chelsea, they came into this match surrounded by controversy. Diego Costa received a three-match suspension for his antics against Arsenal, forcing former Newcastle man Loic Remy into the starting lineup for the Blues. Newcastle limped into this match with only two points in their first six league matches and sitting just one spot above the very bottom of the Premier League table.
Chelsea looked the more desperate team to start the match as they aimed to dominate possession, but much like their earlier league matches, they failed to do much with said possession. As the half wore on, Newcastle began to dictate the proceedings and really made the most of their opportunities in the midfield. Nemanja Matic has had a terrible run of form in the midfield for Chelsea so far this year and the first half of this match was no different. Newcastle seemed to get anything they wanted in the midfield, which led for some good opportunities for the striking partnership of Ayoze Perez and Aleksandar Mitrovic.
The Chelsea back line has been the main downfall for the reigning champions so far this year and it continued to be in this first half. Perez showed the lack of communication on the Blues back line when he opened the scoring in the 42nd minute, taking down a cross very well and finishing with great precision off the post to beat Asmir Begovic. The goal came just as Chelsea were finally looking better in attack, and the Blues continued to improve their own attack throughout the end of the first half, but the match went into half with the home side up 1-0.
After the halftime break, Chelsea came out with a clear sense of urgency. They began to really dominate possession and actually create some chances for themselves. The problem for the Blues was that Newcastle absorbed their pressure well and used it to their advantage to get on the counter-attack. This manifested itself in Newcastle’s second goal, which came from a great header from Georginio Wijnaldum off of a corner kick. The goal really put the reigning champions in a hole and at the moment it was scored, it seemed like a hole they would not be able to dig themselves out of.
Immediately after the goal that put Newcastle up 2-0, Chelsea looked a defeated side and, for five minutes or so, played like it, too. That was until some key substitutions were made in the forms of Willian, Falcao and Ramires. Willian and Ramires specifically gave the Blues the spark they needed to try to pull some sort of result out of this match, and they happened to be the two who scored the goals that did just that.
The first goal for Chelsea came from Ramires, who took a shot from distance that really came from nothing, and powered it into the top corner of the net. This was really the turning point of the match as Chelsea finally began to believe they could go on and draw equal with the home side. It was not long after that Willian did just that with a perfectly-placed free kick that Newcastle keeper Tim Krul could not figure out and which ended up beating him. The free kick was almost in between a shot and a cross and that is what troubled Krul, with the help of a Ramires run right in front of him, which blocked his line of sight to the ball.
Even though Chelsea came back to draw Newcastle 2-2, they were still looking to get the three points at the very end of the match. They were almost successful in doing it when another Willian free kick found the head of Ramires, who put a nice shot on goal, but could not keep Krul from making a tremendous save from extremely close range to keep his side from losing. It ended in a draw, but because of the feeling of the last 10 minutes or so, St. James Park had the feeling of a Chelsea victory.
Chelsea had to come back from down 0-2 to draw against winless Newcastle 2-2 at St. James Park. There are no moral victories in the Premier League, but it felt like one for the Blues, who had to fight their way to a draw against a Newcastle side that looked very good, even though they let the win get away in the end. Next up, Newcastle will have a very tough test when they go into Manchester to face Man City, while Chelsea will have a midweek Champions League fixture against Porto.
Commentary by Max Petkevicius
Goal: Newcastle vs Chelsea
ESPN: Newcastle v Chelsea
Daily Mail: Newcastle 2-2 Chelsea
Photo Courtesy of Ben Sutherland’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License