BY PAUL LAGAN
Eden Hazard once again proved that aggressive and positive play wins out over boring keep the ball as the Blues beat Newcastle on their patch 2-1 to keep their unbeaten start to they season going – three wins out of three.
Hazard’s goal was a penalty but with the Blues dominating possession to the point of almost finding a cure for insomnia, he slotted cooly home from the spot after he and Marcos Alonso worked their way through the rugged Toon defence.
The home side equalised after some ball-watching from the Londoners, but up popped Alonso again seven minutes from time to volley the ball, towards the goal only to see DeAndre Yedlin tap home an unfortunate own goal.
Kepa Arrizabalaga saved a low, long-range right-footed drive from Matt Richie after six minutes.
Chelsea, by contrast seemed intent on possession play, moving up the field, and then rather than taking a chance, like Richie, play the ball back again, keeping possession, and starting all over again.
Newcastle were getting the run around, but defended their final third manfully with the Blues lacking any guile to break through.
Eden Hazard finally saw where the goal was and had a shot on 27 minutes. His right-footed effort missing Martin Dubravka’s left post by a corpulent off feet.
hazard tried another shot, this time a left-footer from the edge of the Newcastle penalty area – but with a similar result.DeAndre Yedlin was hacked down by Marcos Alonso wide on the right and the free-kick sent in, which was cleared was powered back into the six-yard box where Solomon Rondon, had a free header but his downward drive inched past Kepa’ s right post – a massive let off for the visitors.
Pedro’s scoop wide two min utes later on 35 minutes was Chelsea’s bst effort on the Newcastle goal. A sensational run and pass by hazard set up Pedro again, but his left-footed, goal bound daisy-cutter was well held by the diving Dubravka.
Mateo Kovacic, on loan from Real Madrid’s first contribution to the action was to draw a yellow card from Paul Tierney for a needless foul.
There were no changes by either side at half time and the same pattern of play simply repeated itself.
Maurizio Sarri deceived he had had enough and replaced Alvaro Morata with Olivier Giroud on 65 minutes but not before Fabian Schar was brandished a yellow for hacking down Hazard.
Willian as quick to follow, three minutes later industrious Pedro made way. Yellow cards for Federico Fernandez and Matt Richie soon followed as the home side dug even deeper to defend the ball.
With nothing gained by attempting to pass through the final third, Antonio Rudiger tried the old fashioned method – the more rudimentary tactic and let fly from 35 yards. The blaster beat Dubravka all in but the ball smacked off the crossbar.
Eventually the Blues worked their way into the Newcastle area and hazard and Alonso combined well, with the Spain defender getting scissor-tackled by Schar. It was a clear penalty and up stepped hazard to ram that ball high and wide to Dubravka’s right and into the top of the net.
The Londoners deserved the lead for possession alone.
Ross barkley entered the fray two minutes later, replacing pragmatic Kovacic.
Newcastle equalised on 83 minute when a deep free-kick after hazard was caught offside by Dubravka found Yedlin on the right, Giroud crashed to the ground – citing he had had a smack in the face by the wide man but the referee rightly played on. While the Blues stopped and watched – Yedlin sent in the powerful drive from the right and substitute Joselu glanced home a smart header past Kepa from the six-yard box.
Sarri, ripped off his bobble hat in disgust at the schoolboy error by his side and threw it into the dug out.
But the Blues went smartly up the other end to regain the lead when a deep ball to the far post was headed back by Giroud. Alonso whacked in a soft volley towards the other post and the unlucky Yedlin could only touch the ball on its way into the side of Dubravka’s ne
Chelsea : Arrizabalaga, Rudiger, Alonso, Jorginho, Kante, Hazard, Pedro, Kovacic, Azpilicueta, Morata, Luiz
Subs: Caballero, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Giroud, Zappacosta, Willian, Christensen
Newcastle: Dubravka, Clark, Dummett, Sung-Young, Schar, Murphy, Rondon, Diane, Ritchie, Fernandez, Yedlin
Subs: Darlow, Musonda, Perez, Joselu, Sterry, Atsu, Longstaff
Referee: Paul Tierney
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