Chelsea became one of just three teams to have won each of their opening three Premier League matches, joining Liverpool and Watford after a late 2-1 win against Newcastle. Eden Hazard converted from the spot moments before Joselu’s equaliser but a DeAndre Yedlin own goal wrapped up the three points.
Magpies Park the Bus
Hazard started for the first time this season at St James’ Park and despite Maurizio saying pre-match that he might not last the 90 minutes, he saw the game out. The tricky winger was clearly Newcastle’s main target with some tasty early challenges aimed in the Belgian’s direction. The Magpies were happy to sit back and absorb all the pressure which made for a very boring first-half at times.
It was Hazard who came closest in the opening half an hour as his placed attempt crept just wide of the far post with Martin Dubravka certainly beaten. The hosts’ keeper hadn’t had much to do in spite of Chelsea’s dominance and it was actually Kepa Arrizabalaga who should’ve had to pick the ball out of his net as Salomon Rondon failed to direct a header on target which ended up just wide of the mark. 79% of the possession for the visitors in the first 45 summed up the action and probably should have prompted Rafa Benitez to change his approach.
Floodgates open with 15 minutes to go
Cesar Azpilicueta had continued to get forward at every opportunity and he almost broke the deadlock five minutes after the interval but his first-time shot was blocked by Dubravka. The possession tilted even more in favour of Sarri’s side and as Newcastle were looking admirably at securing a point, they were undone.
Some fast-paced passing play on the edge of the box allowed Marcos Alonso to creep into the six-yard box where he was brought down by Fabian Schär, who had seemingly won the ball. Hazard stepped up and in uncharacteristic fashion, slammed his spot-kick beyond the reach of the opposition stopper. However, the lead lasted all of five minutes as Joselu powered a header past Arrizabalaga from Yedlin’s cross after the American full-back had landed an elbow into Olivier Giroud’s mouth. It was a fantastic header and what can only be described as a theatrical fall from the former Arsenal striker.
Another five minutes passed and it was once again Chelsea who took the lead, Yedlin was yet again the man of the moment, this time in a negative way. He got the final touch on a drilled ball across the box that looked destined to find Ross Barkley’s foot. The hosts attempted to clear Willian’s whipped free-kick but it eventually fell to Alonso who flashed the ball across the face of goal before it rolled (almost in slow motion) into the back of the net courtesy of Yedlin.
Sarri’s men held onto their lead and took home a well deserved three points which means they go second in the Premier League table behind Liverpool whose goal difference is superior by two goals. Next up, the visit of Bournemouth to Stamford Bridge, a team that, like the Blues, are still unbeaten this term.