Chelsea’s away troubles continued as The Blues could only draw with Newcastle United on a cold snowy day in the North-East of England.
The match was initially under threat due to the ongoing severe cold conditions prevailing in Newcastle, but was given go ahead, much to the relief of the travelling Blue supporters.
Carlo Ancelotti made seven changes from the midweek win over MSK Zilina and called back experienced senior players, but was still without key players such as Terry, Lampard and Essien due to a combination of injuries and suspensions.
We started the game with an experienced line-up of internationals but the nerves were clearly apparent, Newcastle started strongly and created the first chance of the game but Cech was at hand to save from Taylor’s header.
Newcastle started the game in a positive frame of mind and were gifted a goal out of nowhere. Alex under pressure from Carroll over hit his back pass and gave him an open goal to score.
Chelsea had again conceded the lead, making it the fourth consecutive time that we have done so in all competitions, and this clearly showed as well when Newcastle started to put pressure on the Chelsea defence.
But, soon we found some momentum and started to move forward in search of an equaliser. Drogba hit the side-netting first, and then Alex’s header was cleared off the line. Ashley Cole, who was constantly booed off by the Geordie faithful, was fouled inside the box by Tiote but the play was waved on by Referee Andre Marriner, much to the amusement of everyone.
Chelsea were finally rewarded for their endeavours when a neat build up play between Malouda and Kalou, created a opening for the Ivorian, and he duly obliged. He still had a lot of work to do but did brilliantly to create space before seeing his shot go into the back of the net, albeit with the help of a deflection.
We went into half-time with the scores level as once again we were made to pay for our slow start to the game.
Chelsea came back from half-time with renewed vigour and started to move the ball confidently, which was missing in the first half. Newcastle started to sit-back as we looked to find a chink in their defence.
However, we could have been behind for the second time when Cech misjudged a Gutierrez free-kick and it felt kindly for Routledge on the edge of the box, but his fierce shot was cleared off the line by Ashley Cole.
Another bit of fortune went Newcastle’s way when Drogba was judged to have handled the ball when he put it into the back of the net, but what wasn’t noticed was how Taylor had both his hands on Drogba in the build up. This was all part of the inconsistency of Marriner throughout the game.
Daniel Sturridge came on for Obi Mikel, as it all became a little desperate for the Blues on a weekend when we saw both of our closest rivals rank up big wins. The young Englishmen could have proved to be an inspired substitution had his shot went into the back of the net instead of going inches wide late on.
As the game came to an end we were made to reflect on another away disappointment despite playing well. Chelsea have now relinquished the top position to Man Utd, the first time that we have given up the top spot since April.
John Terry and co can’t come back quickly enough for Carlo Ancelotti as he looks to guide us through this tough period. The manager was satisfied with the performance, but lamented the lack of goals, he said; ” It is not a good moment, obviously we have lost the top of the table and we have to improve and do better, it is not enough what we are doing now,”
“But we had a good performance, we started bad and it was difficult from the beginning because we conceded a goal and did a mistake but after that we had a good reaction, we took our time but the performance was good.”
“I just think we have to convert the shots we have, just that. “
Chelsea (4-4-2): Cech, Bosingwa, Alex, Ivanovic, Cole; Kalou, Ramires, Mikel (Sturridge 79), Malouda; Drogba (c), Anelka.
Scorer Kalou 44.
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