It was a sedate start to things at Stamford Bridge although Torres caused a bit of concern by standing shoulder to shoulder with our defence and taking care not to fall foul of the offside trap. In doing so, he managed to set Meireles up for a shot that went sky-high and then got away from our defenders to run into the box himself, but he was driven wide by the advancing Krul and the attack came to nothing.
Sedate it may have been but Tiote still managed to pick up a yellow card in under 4 minutes for clumsily bringing down Torres a few yards outside our box. Fortunately the resulting free kick was hit straight to Krul.
Our first meaningful attack came when Santon made a run up the left, cut inside and tried to take a shot, although it was blocked by the defender in front of him. Shortly after that Tiote seemed to be flirting with danger when he brought Ramires down but fortunately the ref just had a quite word with him.
Chelsea were nearly handed a goal in the 11th minute when a Torres cross from the right of our box appeared to be ‘left alone’ by three of our defenders as it rolled in front of them, allowing Sturridge to get a shot in at the far post, which went wide fortunately.
A minute later we had a chance ourselves when Ba back-headed a goal-kick into the path of Cisse who was in the box to the left of goal; Cisse tried to curl the shot across Cech into the far side of the goal bit it was soft and missed anyway. Then, a few minutes after that, Colo headed a free-kick from Benny across goal and dropped to Demba Ba. Ba had his back to goal at the time and tried the overhead kick but it went over the bar.
In the 19th minute Santon made a great run up the left, worked his way inside, passed it to Cisse in the box, slightly left of goal. Our number 9 made no mistake this time, took one touch to control the ball and placed his shot perfectly across the keeper into the far side of the net. 0-1.
Chelsea started to play with a little more urgency after the goal, although not immensely so. Ramires – who was offside, although not flagged as such – got on the end of a long cross in a dangerous position to the right of our goal but fortunately couldn’t connect cleanly with the ball. Chelsea had a decent 10 minutes after that with some good crosses and a few threatening corners but they couldn’t convert any of them into goals.
Eventually we took the initiative again and finished that half well. Benny made a run up the middle and set Cisse up for a shot that went straight to the keeper. Jonas made a rare (in current times) run up the left and looked to to be making progress until he was adjudged to have been fouled. Unfortunately Cabaye’s free kick after that wasn’t up to much. And finally, just before half-time, the second of two successive corners taken by Benny was played to Ba just at the front of the area and his shot ricocheted off the cross-bar.
It was a fairly even half in general although we were of course a goal to the good.
Chelsea came back on with Mata in place of Sturridge and tried to attack from the off. Torres put in a decent cross early on and found someone (can’t remember who) in space but Tiote was in the area to block the shot. 5 minutes later, Mata found himself in space right in front of goal but fortunately he was flagged offside.
Tiote and Mikel then started a bit of a battle which Tiote was eventually to lose. It started when Tiote gave Mikel a Frank Cannon-style karate chop to the neck to put him out of action for a few minutes. Mikel struck back a couple of minutes later with an elbow to the back of Tiote’s head. This appeared to be pretty serious as Tiote was on the deck receiving treatment for 10 minutes before being stretchered off. Hope he’s okay. Raylor came on in his place whilst Chelsea brought on Drogba for Malouda.
Chelsea seemed to be applying some pressure around our box but they didn’t threaten too much. Nevertheless, I was surprised to see that we’d had 55% of the 2nd half possession up until the 72nd minute. Torres shot wide a few times and I had the feeling – thankfully – it wasn’t going to be his night.
The was a bit of fuss in the 73rd minute when an elbow in the back from Ivanovic laid out Cisse and Ba remonstrated enough with the Chelsea players to earn a telling off from the ref. I thought Ba had a bad game today – his passes were loose and he gave the ball away a lot and he was eventually substituted for Shola in the 74th minute.
Chelsea were still trying to apply pressure though and a they won a free kick against Raylor simply because it was a Wednesday, but Drogba hit it straight at Krul. Drogba had another free-kick after Shola handled the ball a few minutes later and he skied it way over the bar.
On 77 minutes Merieles went off for Frank Lampard and chelsea were still attacking in waves but not managing to make anything of it and on 86 minutes Benny was taken off in favour of Obertan.
Chelsea’s best chance of the game came in the 87th minute when John Terry got his head onto a corner and sent the ball at pace towards the top corner of our net. Fortunately Santon was on the goal line and headed it away.
The official them held up the board saying there’d be 10 minutes of extra time and I wondered if we’d manage to hold on. Krul got a yellow card for wasting time over a goal-kick and then all my worries dissipated after an amazing strike by Cisse in the 93rd minute. Santon took a throw-in up the left and Shola chested it down towards Cisse who was about 3 yards outside the box, well to the left of goal. Cisse struck it in what appeared to be an extremely casual manner bit it sailed past Cech – wiggling on route – and into the far side of the net. Amazing! 0-2.
That was game over obviously and it was just a matter of playing down the lengthy injury time. Mata managed a shot for Chelsea but, finally, in the 103rd minute, the ref blew the final whistle.
Chelsea weren’t at their best today but to be fair we looked a bit tired too. What they didn’t have though is a Cisse and he was – once again – the big difference between the two sides.
Goals: Papiss Cisse (19, 90+4).
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Petr Cech; Jose Bosingwa, Branislav Ivanovic, John Terry (C), Ryan Bertrand, John Obi Mikel, Raul Meireles (Frank Lampard 78), Ramires, Florent Malouda (Didier Drogba 61), Daniel Sturridge (Juan Mata HT), Fernando Torres.
Subs: Ross Turnbull, Ashley Cole, Michael Essien, Frank Lampard, Juan Mata, Salomon Kalou, Didier Drogba.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul (G), James Perch, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (C), Davide Santon, Cheick Tiote (Ryan Taylor 68), Jonas Gutierrez, Hatem Ben Arfa (Gabriel Obertan 88), Yohan Cabaye, Demba Ba (Shola Ameobi 75), Papiss Cisse.
Subs: Rob Elliot (G), Shane Ferguson, Ryan Taylor, Dan Gosling, Gabriel Obertan, Sylvain Marveaux, Shola Ameobi.
Yellow cards: Cheick Tiote (3), Yohan Cabaye (56), Tim Krul (90+1).
Red cards: None.
Possession: Chelsea 52% – 48% Newcastle.
Shots: Chelsea 17 – 12 Newcastle.
On Target: Chelsea 6 – 6 Newcastle.
Corners: Chelsea 4 – 4 Newcastle.
Fouls: Chelsea 9 – 5 Newcastle.