Newcastle United 1-0 Chelsea
As Premier League matches go, this hadn’t been an occasion to live long in the memory.
In fact, I briefly broke off from a weekend break to catch what amounted to few Premier League 2020 highlights.
Yet it still had a compelling element as two sides with very different aims battled it out on Tyneside which is why it was hard to switch off until the very end.
How Chelsea must now regret switching off at the end!
Highlights of the game
Chelsea had edged the reverse fixture against Newcastle last year in an exciting contest, one that ended in controversial fashion.
But the home side weren’t going to be denied in what always had the look of an intriguing battle between this old fashioned footballing heartland and the aristocrats of west London.
Little though did I think there would be a huge roar in the final minute of the stoppage time as they only went and won it!
Chelsea had seen off Burnley with a bit to spare last time out. Lampard made one change to the side which beat the Clarets 3-0, with the influential N’Golo Kante back in midfield to partner Jorginho as Ross Barkley dropped to the bench.
For the home side, Newcastle forward Allan Saint-Maximin was back in the side after being more than a month out with a hamstring injury as boss Steve Bruce made six changes to the side which beat Rochdale in the FA Cup replay in midweek.
Jonjo Shelvey, Ciaran Clark, Federico Fernandez, Martin Dubravka and Jetro Willems also returned but the latter had to leave the fray as early as the 11th minute to a freak injury.
While that was a blow, he was replaced by Matt Ritchie, who has more than proved his worth since switching to left-back from midfield.
Chelsea would and probably should have won had they taken their chances. Kante, Tammy Abraham (twice) and Emerson all went close in the second period as they looked dangerous and they dominated possession with Dubravka impressive.
Joelinton had gone close to putting Newcastle ahead midway through the first half as he headed against the crossbar. But it actually took until just before the hour mark for the home side to have their first effort on target.
Then came the key moment as Saint-Maximin sent over a cross after a corner was half-cleared and Isaac Hayden managed to direct the ball home as Kepa Arrizabalaga was beaten all too easily.
What a finish!
This was Newcastle’s first 90th-minute winner in a Premier League match since December 2015 against Tottenham, when Ayoze Perez struck.
Despite the defeat, Chelsea stay in fourth. Meanwhile, the three points lift the hosts up to 12th in the table, seven points clear of the relegation zone.
Newcastle go to Everton in three days’ time to face Goodison Park (January 21) and then meet Oxford United at home in the FA Cup fourth round who they hope will prove more straightforward opponents than Rochdale initially were in the previous round.
Chelsea host Arsenal on Tuesday night and have a fourth round FA Cup trip to Hull next weekend.
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