- Newcastle vs Chelsea kicks off at 12:30pm on BT Sport 1
32 mins – Newcastle 0 Chelsea 1
WERNER!!!! WIDE! Chelsea’s high press is working really well, with Newcastle unable to get out of their own defensive third. Another turnover, the ball is pinged into Abraham, who cushions it to Werner, who takes a touch and then tries to tuck a shot back into the near corner. He drags it.
“Get men forward and pump one up there!” is Steve McManaman’s advice to Newcastle on co-commentary duty. I can’t find the mute button.
25 mins – Newcastle 0 Chelsea 1
What a ball by James. He is some player, honestly just such a brilliant right-back. I think I’d pick him ahead of every single other right-back in the Premier League at the moment and am now trying to think of a better player in the same position in the Champions League too. His delivery is ridiculously good, and a low ball across the six yard box almost gifts Werner a tap in at the back post. Newcastle survive.
22 mins – Newcastle 0 Chelsea 1
Rudiger punts a pass straight out for a throw-in, causing Chilwell to just stare at him. No words needed but the question of ‘why’ is clearly bouncing around the inside of his skull.
Newcastle staff are urging players to get into Chelsea attackers but they’re just a yard off them and as soon as someone leaves their defensive position it creates space for an opponent.
14 mins – Newcastle 0 Chelsea 1
I can only see a fairly easy Chelsea win from here. They’re moving the ball around so quickly, the movement is good, it’s aggressive, Newcastle don’t quite seem to have enough about them. Although as I type that they put a nice move together to get forward… and a poor pass gives Chelsea a chance to counter.
Newcastle 0 Chelsea 1
Newcastle are forced back, Chelsea squeezing them, pushing, win a corner, it’s played short and Mount crosses a ball to the back post. Nobody attacks it, Fernandez falls to the floor with no balance or control over what he’s doing, and Chilwell is there to tap it into the goal.
6 mins – Newcastle 0 Chelsea 0
Newcastle already in a deep 5-4-1 shape, looking for a chance to win possession and spring a counter. They try one now but lose the ball early after a tackle by Chilwell, Werner is able to burst into space on the left and shoots low and hard to the far post! Turned behind. Great effort.
The corner is sent to the edge of the box and James goes for a Paul Scholes volley! Blocked by bodies in the box.
1 mins – Newcastle 0 Chelsea 0
Joelinton charges at the Chelsea defence as he runs in from teh left but Zouma isn’t having it and slides in to wipe him out from behind. Newcastle trying to go at Chelsea early here. A free-kick into the area finds Fernandes in space but he heads into the floor and Chilwell can clear. Corner.
Jenas wants Newcastle to attack
“Don’t let Chelsea settle. They’ve got too many good players. When we used to play and a team sits off you you think ‘oh this is going to be a lovely day’.”
Joe Cole agrees and says Bruce should have his players firing into Chelsea from the start to give them a game. They might both be right but I’d say the players on the pitch and the shape doesn’t suit a high pressing game. Aggression in midfield is key but Newcastle have a two v three there… so that’s not really possible either, unless the forwards drop into the midfield to make a four, or wing-backs push up to make a four, but both of those leaves space free elsewhere.
Both Steve Bruce and Frank Lampard have stressed how painfully obvious it is to not start players who have traveled around the world for international duty. Bruce doesn’t really seem like he can be bothered answering predictable questions on team selection and style of play, while Lampard is quick to laugh off any suggestion that he ever fell out with Rudiger in the first place.
What to expect today
We know that Chelsea will attack and Newcastle will defend, but that doesn’t mean Frank Lampard’s team will walk this. Newcastle are at their most dangerous on the counter and Chelsea’s style of play means they can often leave themselves vulnerable at the back if they lose possession. Balance is crucial for both but the problem is Newcastle can often be so defensive at times that the game looks weighted heavily towards the aggressive team trying to break them down… which allows Newcastle to hit on the break quickly. This could as easily be a 1-0 Newcastle smash and grab as a 4-0 Chelsea thrashing. Or a 0-0 draw. I don’t know, basically, is what I’m trying to say.
How’s it going? Isn’t it great that international football is over again and we can get back to club games? It is wonderful. The stadiums are still empty, the players are knackered, and those things combined should gift us some fairly random results in the next wee while.
The team news is in for today and there’s nothing too exciting. Newcastle are back in their 5-4-1 defend and counter-attack system, Chelsea have stacked their side with attacking players to ‘have a go’.
Antonio Rudiger has forced his way back into the team, so that’s one thing, but the most interesting part of Chelsea’s lineup to me is that Timo Werner starts wide left again. He wants to play as a central striker but just doesn’t get any touches of the ball, and is a player who needs the ball to show what he can do. Playing wide allows him to use his pace too and run into space rather than spend his time trying to shake markers in central positions, which happens to be exactly what Tammy Abraham is best at. Read more about that in my tactical analysis of it right here!
Kick off today is 12:30pm and you can follow live analysis and updates right here.