Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle United
Newcastle succumbed to another pointless away performance as Chelsea’s young players continued their impressive start to the season.
United could not muster a single shot on target and with just 28% possession can think themselves lucky not to have lost by a great deal more. And but for some heroic defensive performances, from Clark in particular, it certainly would have been worse.
The defeat leaves Bruce’s side in the bottom three and bang in trouble. A home clash against Wolves next up as the fight to avoid the drop continues.
STARTING XI: Dubravka, Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles, Clark, Willems, Longstaff, Longstaff, Saint-Maximin (Gayle, 85), Almiron (Carroll, 70), Joelinton (Atsu, 83)
Steve Bruce named an unchanged side for this afternoons game as Stamford Bridge. Keeping faith with the side that gave such an impressive performance against Manchester United before the International Break this meant a second senior league start for youngster Matty Longstaff again playing alongside his brother, Sean, in midfield.
Pre game rumours that Joelinton and / or Miguel Almiron would be dropped also unfounded with Carroll, Gayle, Atsu and Shelvey all only making the bench from the start.
Newcastle set up with five at the back, not wanting to suffer the same outcome as against Leicester City away, looking to stay organised at hit the home side on the break.
It was Saint-Maximin who was the chief protagonist for the visitors early on with a couple of pacey incisive breaks to keep Chelsea honest.
A moment of worry on 15 saw Lascelles short back-pass to Dubravka leaving the Newcastle United keeper having to rush to clear and seeing his kick hit Abraham and fortunately bounce to relative safety.
Chelsea were already dominating possession and there was a good chance for William on for him to put a great chance to head home wide of Dubravka’s post. Next some great work from Hudson-Odoi fed Mount who’s shot was well saved.
A succession of corners for Chelsea just before half time would come and go with Newcastle holding their shape with the pressure still mounting.
A foul on William by Clark would see him go into the book, whilst the Chelsea backline themselves having a couple go into the book with Alonso sything down Yedlin and Tomori also seeing yellow for a similar challenge on Almiron.
0-0 at the break.
The pattern was much the same in the second half, Chelsea dominating possession and Newcastle happy to hit the hosts with pace when allowed.
Chelsea almost had the breakthrough ten minutes into the second half however. Clark, like a man mountain at the back in the most part blocking another attempt behind for a corner. The resultant set piece being headed onto the bar and back into play from Abraham.
But as the half moved on the screw started to be tightened further. United unable to keep the ball and inviting Chelsea on to the time and time again. It looked like only a matter of time before the blues would take the lead with Abraham heading over and Pulisic seeing his effort saved from point blank range.
And Chelsea would get the goal their play deserved. Alonso getting firing home from the angle.
But for a wonder clearance from Yedlin from under his own bar it would have been worse for Newcastle. The USA International somehow managing to clear the ball over his own bar from an impossible angle with Abraham sure he was about to put a cherry on his performance.
In truth Newcastle had been played off the park in the second half. Whilst in the first period they at least looked like they had some threat on the break, the same could not be said in the second 45.
Just 28% of possession in fact, and not a single shot on target.
Try as they may, awful.