Rafa had a couple of selection problems for this match.
First whether to play Cech. Fortunately the medical team re-wrote the manual this week, post witnessing Turnbull in action a couple of times. Instead of stipulating that Cech should be rested if suffering a minor muscle strain the manual now states that unless Cech is undergoing open heart surgery Turnbull isn’t to be allowed anywhere near the first eleven.
Second, Rafa thought about resting Ashley so that there was no risk of him missing his 100th cap for the forthcoming England match. Having deliberated long and hard about club versus country Rafa eventually decided to take Cole to Newcastle.
Third, Rafa was concerned about width, not of his waistline but the team and, as the world’s fifth richest club according to the Deloitte Football Money League, decided to play an understudy left-back on the wing instead of a player purchased for that role.
All looked a bit laboured and leggy. Frank had a good chance after 14 minutes but belted the ball high over the bar.
The Newcastle fans made lots of noise each time Demba got the ball. To be honest I’m not sure if they were saying boo, or Ba with a Geordie accent, so I don’t know if they were pleased to see his return. Midway through the half a good through ball saw Ba get into a one on one with the keeper who managed to parry Ba’s first effort back to Ba who, as he headed the rebound, got smashed in the face by a defender’s boot. The ref gave nothing but surely a boot raised at head height that draws blood is dangerous play and should have been a penalty. Referees sometimes seem confused by the situation and location on the pitch but; inside or outside the box, it was a foul.
Ba sat on the sidelines being nursed by Eva Carneiro (did I mention I shook her hand in Swansea) with blood streaming out of his nose. It looked broken to me. With white tape strapped across his nose and face he re-entered the field of play, looking like Adam Ant, ready to stand and deliver. Unfortunately, despite his balls of steel, Rafa decided to replace him with Torres, whose balls aren’t steel but stolen, and we were effectively reduced to 10 men.
On 41 minutes Newcastle whipped in a cross and Gutierrez headed home from eight yards.
Just after half time the cameras showed Rafa writing notes. Unfortunately it wasn’t his letter of resignation but a note to his wife, stating that compared to the Geordie folk he’s not as fat as he’d feared so please cook the paella.
I was taken by surprise on 54 minutes when Frank struck home a fantastic shot from 20 yards. Sign him up!
After this we came to life and not long after the ball fell to Mata just inside the corner of the box and he curved a lovely shot around the helpless keeper.
2-1 up and all we had to do was hold the lead for 30 minutes, something that we’d found impossible at Reading after Adam Le Fondre (surely a second rate magic act touring northern clubs with a name like that) struck twice.
Sure enough within 10 minutes Newcastle cut us apart. Cech saved but punched out into the path of Sissoko to equalise.
Oscar got fouled on the touchline just in front of the benches and a heated altercation ensued between Rafa and Pardew. Who says Rafa doesn’t care about us?
The game got increasingly open and on 90 minutes Sissoko got his second to make it 3-2.
A late rally and Lampard’s shot on 94 minutes caused frantic appeals for handball but no penalty was given.
Two great goals should have been enough to win.
This is what supporting Chelsea is meant to be like and the last ten years have been an aberration.
I’d already stayed in Newcastle this season post the Sunderland game so decided to give this one a miss. But KaiserJonny is in Newcastle carrying the torch so I leave it to him to enjoy the sight of hefty Geordie birds in shockingly short skirts stumbling down Grey Street in their eight-inch heels.
The Sunday Telegraph, Luke Edwards: “Newcastle United have a new hero after a quite magnificent home debut from Moussa Sissoko saw him score twice to secure a thrilling victory over Chelsea and ensure it was a painful return for Demba Ba. Ba was given an early welcome back to Tyneside from Steven Taylor, who made sure he made contact with the striker’s back while heading a routine high ball clear. St James’ Park roared its delight. By half-time Ba was in agony, his nose smashed by another of his former teammates, Fabricio Coloccini, and Chelsea were behind. Ba might have given Chelsea the lead before his injury, running on to Frank Lampard’s pass, he got a shot away under pressure from Coloccini. Tim Krul made a good save, but Ba instinctively got his head on the rebound only to see the ball float wide of the goal as he took Coloccini’s boot full in the face.”
The Observer, Paul Wilson: “This was one of the best games of the season, a marvellously entertaining and eventful contest between two well-matched sides. Whether that flatters Newcastle or Chelsea most is a moot point, given their respective positions in the table, though it would appear that the home side’s latest top-up of French talent has restored the feelgood factor on Tyneside. That was true even before Moussa Sissoko rifled home a last-minute winner. That sort of exciting finale always send a crowd home happy, though even before that Newcastle had shown guts to climb back into the game at a point in the second half when Chelsea looked capable of running away with it. While it is not quite true, these days, to say not many teams come back against Chelsea, few will manage it when the Blues are playing this well.”
The Independent on Sunday, Martin Hardy: “You can, at least, not fault the defiance of Rafa Benitez. He again proved immovable, unlike his side. “We could have won every single game we draw or we lost, every single game,” he insisted after yesterday’s defeat. “In all the games we had chances and played good football in the majority of them. When we couldn’t we still had chances to win.” Fact: Chelsea have picked up 22 points from a possible 39 during his reign, two points less than Roberto di Matteo picked up from one less game this season. “We are trying to finish in the top four, or top three, and we can,” added Benitez. “We are still looking up towards Manchester City. With some players coming back I think we have more options. When we are in form and doing well we can beat anyone.” Fact: Chelsea have won three games out of their previous 10 in all competitions.”
The Official Chelsea FC Website: “A late goal once again was the undoing of Chelsea, this time costing us all the points on a clear and chilly afternoon on Tyneside.”
41′ Gutierrez 1-0
55′ Lampard 1-1
61′ Mata 1-2
68′ Sissoko 2-2
90+2′ Sissoko 3-2
Is it June yet?
I am not sure June will bring redemption.
I agree with you — but I don’t want redemption, I’d just like this season to be over. That’s all.
I feel your pain and totally share it, my Blue brother
I can hardly wait for June at this point.
I used the “C” word to describe the game, and our lads, both to my wife, and on another Chelsea blog. And no, by “C” word, I don’t meant cunts. Alright alright, what I said was, “”The less said about THOSE cxxxsxxxxxs, the better.” There was nothing else could say to sum up my utter frustration with the game.
I hardly know what to say anymore.I mean, if we were in League 2 or something it might be tolerable. If our talent wasn’t so abundant and our expectations as lofty as that talent, it wouldn’t be half as bad. We could say, “Oh well…the lads gave it a go and all that…” shrug our shoulders and on to next week.
But we are not one of the Rochdale’s of the world…we’re not Dagenham & Redbridge. We’re….we’re……
“This is what supporting Chelsea is meant to be like and the last ten years have been an aberration.” <— the quote of the season.
Trouble is, even some of us oldtimers have got way too used to the aberration and are struggling to find much enthusiasm for the return of the Old Chelsea.
And I see Nigeria have just beaten Ivory Coast in African Cup of Nations so Mikel and Moses won’t be back anytime soon.
Best laugh of the weekend – the tabloid report that Rafa has been telling some of the squad he’ll still be here next season, thinking this will cheer them up!
Does anyone not think we are struggling without Mikel ? I know he is more often than not a scape goat but he does break up play and it feels like its something we are missing at the moment
To my mind we need a Makelele but without that we need Mikel back ASAP
I think you may be right.
I was optimistic our defence would be more solid yesterday with the return of JT and Ivan to right back but we still shipped three goals.
We are conceding a lot and I don’t think our midfield is helping.
The English equivalent of Russian gangsters. Chelsea sucks.
Coloccini’s non-foul made me miss Jose, he would have ranted over Webb’s decision so forcefully that I would have simply not cared that we lost. My feeling of being treated unfairly would have been validated by the club and the us-against-them mentality might have replaced the frustration over the apparent infighting amongst our club’s fans and board. *sigh*. Oh, and imagine the media outcry if Van Persie was on the receiving end of that ‘challenge’.
Our Nigerians went through to final for. Don’t expect them quite yet.
I know it is only Sun, but may be our wishes and prayers will be answered
“It would be naive and complacent of those in the UK to think such a criminal conspiracy does not involve the English game and all the football in Europe.”
Some dubious decisions definitely should be investigated!
Very enjoyable weekend on the Toon, result aside. Main problem (one of many) is silly errors which are costing us dearly. Squandered possession, shaky defence or whatever. Draw probably would have been fair but they were clearly more confident of getting something than we were.
Sissoko looked excellent. He cost much less than Torres, apparently…
On my way Wembley to watch England vs Brasil 🙂 Hopefully will be fun.
Don’t you get enough pain following Chelsea without needing to rub your wounds with sandpaper following England?
LOL! Yesterday, it wasn’t painful at all actually. Real joy to see Ronaldinho not able to kick from penalty spot. Lamps has scored one, so it was not painful, at least yesterday.
Speaking about the pain. I have a friend who always bets against the team he supports. His motivation is simple. If they win he doesn’t care about the lost bet, but if they lose he at least wins some money 🙂
By all accounts young Moses is having a fabulous tournament down in South Africa.
I wonder how long it’ll take Rafa to work his magic on the lad.
If some of the gutter press are to be believed, defeat v Wigan could see the demise of Rafa meaning he wouldn’t get the chance to work that magic.
Oh, come on let a man dream, please!
BBC’s Football league managerial league for this season.
Guess what? Di Matteo has a better record than Benitez in the league this season.
as soon as we scored the second goal I started to worry.