St. James' Park
Sat 02 Feb 2013 15:00 (Attendance: 52,314)
The four-game run on the road ends with the longest league trip of the season. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton make an early start…
Chelsea would welcome a return to winning ways at St James' Park after three successive draws in league and cups, although the Blues remain third in the table, four points clear of Spurs in fourth, with one league defeat in nine outings.
Wednesday's child is full of woe. It may be a silly old fortune-telling rhyme but anyone with kids who support Chelsea will agree it has the ring of truth at the moment. The Blues have yet to win a match in the middle of the working week in 2013.
With Manchester City, Tottenham, Liverpool and Arsenal all drawing, a win at Reading, had Chelsea held on, would have made a real difference in the chase for Champions League places.
Instead a two-goal lead was squandered against a newly-promoted side for the second time in three league matches. It was also our third 2-2 draw in five matches, the other coming against lower league opposition, Brentford, in the FA Cup.
The brace of late strikes was reminiscent of Rafael Benitez's first away game in charge, the 1-3 defeat against West Ham, who scored in the 86th minute and then stoppage time.
On both occasions the Blues seemed in control of the match for an extended period but failed to take the chances that might have killed the game, then ran out of steam and lost defensive organisation.
Newcastle United, unhappy sufferers of the last-minute goal this season (there were three in the last 10 minutes against Arsenal alone), lost at home to Reading last weekend with the Royals' substitute Adam Le Fondre netting twice as he did against Chelsea.
The Magpies were the last team in all four divisions to win an away game this season and moved this week to strengthen their squad after a disappointing campaign.
As a result the Gallic on Tyneside contingent lurched towards 50% with the arrival of Mathieu Debuchy, Yoan Gouffran, Massadio Haidara, Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa and Moussa Sissoko.
In response the hostelry adjacent to St James' Park, the Strawberry, has temporarily rebranded itself La Fraise, while supporters have draped themselves in garlic and brandished a tricolor emblazoned with 'Oui club' - a pun on Sir Alex Ferguson's dismissive comment about the north-east side.
The man working to eclipse Arsène Wenger for Frenchness since 2010 is chief scout Graham Carr, formerly with Manchester City and Tottenham, and father of stand-up comedian and 'Chatty Man' Alan.
Yet has he filled the considerable gap upfront left by the sale of one of his 'discoveries', Demba Ba to Chelsea?
The Senegalese netted 29 goals in just 54 matches during a season and a half on Tyneside but is unlikely to receive a similar welcome to Hughie Gallacher, another 27-year-old star striker who went south 83 years earlier (see We Have History section).
None of the strikers who hit the net for Chelsea in our 3-0 success at St James' last time around - Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou and Daniel Sturridge - remain at the club. Eden Hazard, who netted his first league goal in our 2-0 victory at the Bridge earlier this season, is suspended. Fernando Torres was also on the scoresheet.
Frank Lampard had a penalty saved in that game. The Chelsea midfielder reached double figures for the 10th consecutive season against Reading and now has 196 goals in all competitions, just six shy of Bobby Tambling's all-time record 202.
Yossi Benayoun, recently returned from loan at West Ham, was a substitute at the Madejski Stadium, the midfielder's first action for the Blues since August 2011. His participation ruled him out of a move on the final day of the transfer window as no player may feature for more than two clubs in one season.
Victor Moses and John Mikel Obi play their first match of the knockout phase at the Africa Cup of Nations against Ivory Coast on Sunday. Moses scored twice to ensure his country qualified from the group stage but the Nigerians will return to England should they lose to Drogba, Tioté and co.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
QPR v Norwich 12.45pm - Sky Sports
Arsenal v Stoke 3pm
Everton v Aston Villa 3pm
Newcastle v Chelsea 3pm
Reading v Sunderland 3pm
West Ham v Swansea 3pm
Wigan v Southampton 3pm
Fulham v Manchester United 5.30pm - ESPN
West Brom v Tottenham 1.30pm - Sky Sports
Manchester City v Liverpool 4pm - Sky Sports
|Barclays Premier League table|
The race for the Premier League Golden Boot
Robin van Persie (Manchester Utd) 18
Luis Suarez (Liverpool) 17
Demba Ba (13 for Newcastle) 14
Michu (Swansea) 13
Race for the Premier League Golden Glove
Joe Hart (Manchester City) 11
Petr Cech 9
Asmir Begovic (Stoke) 9
Simon Mignolet (Sunderland) 9
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The Blues are aiming to resume our superb away record this weekend, while Le Toon have several new Frenchmen to bed in. Former Blue Clive Walker assesses how the game might be won or lost.
'The late goals we conceded on Wednesday at Reading may have shocked some supporters but anybody who listened to my commentary would have heard my rising concern. I said with 15 minutes to go that we needed to maintain a higher level of concentration to see it through. We were leading 2-0 then, of course.
'I'm sure Rafa Benitez will be looking for better communication between his defenders this weekend. Newcastle lost at home to Reading recently but that last goal Chelsea conceded on Wednesday would have been heartening to them. We cannot afford to drop our guard like that.
'Petr Cech and John Terry could return to the side and they have shown over the best part of 10 years that the authority and understanding in that crucial area has to be exemplary. That triangle of goalie and central defenders is so important.
'On the positive side at Reading, Juan Mata showed again what a key man he is until he went off injured. He scored his 15th goal of the season and for all the Chelsea fans he is an absolute joy to watch whatever he does, whatever he tries to do.
'He has rare ability and creativity and a Newcastle side that has been shaky in defensive midfield and at the back will find him very difficult to control.
'Oscar took up some excellent positions too and shows so much promise. He could have a field day the way Newcastle have been defending sometimes. The two of them have a growing understanding.
'He was on the bench for most of the Reading match so it looks like Demba Ba will lead the line and will have that extra incentive against his old club.
'However, he looks motivated enough when he plays. He shows leadership qualities and can be hugely important if we're to stay in the top four.
'He's a major plus because of his ability to hold the ball up, so he and Fernando Torres are totally different players in that respect. Thankfully the likes of Mata benefit from both and he links up equally well with either.
'Communication is hugely important. Newcastle have bought a lot of players in the window - most of them from France and we don't know how much English they speak.
'Obviously they will understand each other but you need a common language all over the pitch, especially defending set plays.
'There are doubts whether Steven Taylor will play twice in five days after being out since November, but he and Fabricio Coloccini formed a good partnership in the heart of defence a while back.
'They will probably have Mathieu Debuchy at right back, who's good attacking. The other new boys play further forward, but they will all need to sort themselves out at corners and free kicks and Chelsea must exploit any unfamiliarity.
'Moussa Sissoko is a clever player who has already produced an assist from midfield and Yohan Cabayé is arguably the player who's come closest to reproducing his good form last season for them, though he can be up and down.
'Yoan Gouffran (pictured below) is a good player but whether he will get up to speed in the Premier League by Saturday is a question. It may take him a few weeks to adapt to the pace and physicality.
'One big advantage they have can also work in Chelsea's favour. The home crowd is magnificent when it is behind them. But they've already witnessed six defeats there and if things start to go wrong the crowd effect goes into reverse.
'We have to start well, frustrate them for the first 45 minutes and then again in the second half.'
Squad fitness news
Petr Cech returns after calf strain and Juan Mata is passed fit having come off in the last game with an ankle knock. Oriol Romeu (knee) and David Luiz (ankle) remain out.
For Newcastle, midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa (hamstring) is the only player definitely ruled out.
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WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea's first ever away match in the top flight was played at St James' Park, with the hosts edging it 1-0 through a Ronald Orr goal. The Geordies were defending First Division champions at the time.
The Pensioners' visit in 1930 was also the first trip of the campaign following promotion, but is embedded in history for drawing a crowd of 68,089, a record for the stadium to this day.
The exceptional attendance was largely attributed to the return of the brilliant 27-year-old striker Hughie Gallacher (pictured below front right), who had moved south in the summer in return for £10,000, close to the highest ever paid. Newcastle's Jack Cape scored the only goal of the game.
Home supporters penned a rhyme for his return:
There's a canny little lad
Who once made all Tyneside glad.
He's the greatest living player in the game.
He's a clever, brainy Scot,
And we like him quite a lot,
We all know that good old Hughie is his name.
How he thrilled us with his pranks
In Newcastle's forward ranks,
And his football was the talk of all the land.
Though they keep us in the dark,
Why he left St James' Park
'Tis a thing we really cannot understand.
He is nimble, he is neat,
Has a pair of tricky feet,
And a style that really is a treat to watch.
He is quick upon the grass,
Never wastes a single pass,
We all know that is because he's proper Scotch.
May he always do alright,
To supporters bring delight,
May he often chance to score a winning goal.
And we all wish him success
As a player we confess
Of the Chelsea team he is the life and soul.
The Blues' biggest win on the banks of the Tyne came in March 1961 and as was so often the case back then it was a red letter day for Jimmy Greaves. The inside forward, a graduate of Chelsea's Juniors scheme, ran riot, scoring a four times to mark his 150th appearance in a 6-1 victory.
The tally also took him to 35 for the season - surpassing the club record of 32 he had set just a few years earlier in 1958/59. Remarkably, he had hit 118 in fewer than four seasons.
This was also the first occasion Chelsea had hit six in a First Division match, a Ron Tindall brace completing the rout for the visitors. Duncan Neale netted a consolation in the last few minutes.
Back to today and Chelsea are looking to extend our unbeaten run against Newcastle at St James' Park to seven games (four wins, two draws) since the 1-0 defeat at the end of our Premier League winning 2005/06 season.
Newcastle's win at Stamford Bridge last season is their only victory in our last 11 league meetings.
Our last 10 league meetings at St James' Park
2001/02 - Chelsea won 2-1
2002/03 - Newcastle won 2-1
2003/04 - Newcastle won 2-1
2004/05 - Drew 1-1
2005/06 - Newcastle won 1-0
2006/07 - Drew 0-0
2007/08 - Chelsea won 2-0
2008/09 - Chelsea won 2-0
2010/11 - Drew 1-1
2011/12 - Chelsea won 3-0
The reverse match this season
25 August 2012 Premier League
Hazard pen 22
Chelsea v Newcastle in all competitions
Games played 152
Chelsea wins 64
Newcastle wins 49
Head to head in the League at St James' Park
Games played 67
Chelsea wins 16
Newcastle wins 34
Biggest league win at St James' Park for each team
16/11/1974 - Newcastle 5-0 Chelsea
25/03/1961 - Newcastle 1-6 Chelsea
Chelsea dropped points away in the Premier League: 63
Newcastle beat Chelsea at St James' Park: 2,463
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,813
Liverpool won the league: 8,308
Visit again tomorrow for part two of the Briefing.
Of the 16 occasions Chelsea have opened the scoring in the Barclays Premier League, we have gone on to win 11 games and draw four. Only West Ham have defeated us.
The Blues are unbeaten away in nine games in all competitions (six wins, three draws) since our last defeat at West Ham on 1 December.
We are 11 points better off compared to the corresponding 24 fixtures last season.
Chelsea have gained 12 points from losing positions this term. Only Man Utd (27), Everton (20), Man City (15) and Arsenal (13) can better that, although we have dropped 11 points from winning positions.
|Last six results|
|Jan 12||Stoke (a)||W 4-0|
|Jan 16||Southampton (h)||D 2-2|
|Jan 20||Arsenal (h)||W 2-1|
|Jan 23||Swansea (League Cup SF 2 a)||D 0-0|
|Jan 27||Brentford (FA Cup 4 a)||D 2-2|
|Jan 30||Reading (a)||D 2-2|
Premier League scorers
Lampard 9 (4 pens), Mata 9, Torres 7 (1 pen), E Hazard 6 (1 pen), Ivanovic 4, Ramires 3, Cahill 2, Ba 1, Cole 1, D Luiz 1, Moses 1, Oscar 1 (pen), Sturridge 1, Terry 1, own goals (Walters, Stoke) 2. Total 49
League games since
An away win: 1
An away draw: 0
An away defeat: 5
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Sat 9 Feb||Wigan home||3pm|
|Thu 14 Feb||Sparta Prague (Europa League) away||6pm GMT|
|Sun 17 Feb||Brentford (FA Cup 4 replay) home||Noon|
Frank Lampard has now scored at least 10 goals in all competitions in his last 10 seasons with the Blues.
4 League championships, last in 1927
6 FA Cups, last in 1955
1 Inter Cities Fairs Cup in 1969
1 FA Charity Shield in 1909
Newcastle have been Premier League runners-up twice in 1995/96 and 1996/97. Their last major piece of silverware was the Inter Cities Fairs Cup in 1969 when they beat Hungarian side Ujpest Dozsa 6-2 over two legs.
Newcastle are yet to win when their opposition opened the scoring (eight defeats, two draws)
The Toon have suffered 10 defeats in their last 15 Premier League games, winning three.
The Magpies have dropped 16 points from winning positions this term.
Only Wigan, with seven, have lost more league games at home this season than Newcastle's six.
The Magpies have won 16 points from a possible 36 at St James' Park this term with five wins against Tottenham, Norwich, West Brom, Wigan and QPR, one draw against Aston Villa and six defeats to Manchester United, West Ham, Swansea, Manchester City, Everton and Reading.
Manager Alan Pardew
Days in charge: 786
Newcastle last 10 year league history
|Last six results|
|Dec 29||Arsenal (a)||L 3-7|
|Jan 2||Everton (h)||L 1-2|
|Jan 5||Brighton (FA Cup 3 a)||L 0-2|
|Jan 12||Norwich (a)||D 0-0|
|Jan 19||Reading (h)||L 1-2|
|Jan 29||Aston Villa (a)||W 2-1|
2012/13 Premier League scorers
Ba 13 (1 pen), Cissé 5, Cabaye 4, Ben Arfa 3 (1 pen), Shola Ameobi 1, Bigirimana 1, Marveaux 1, Perch 1, own goals 1. Total 30
League games since
A home win: 2
A home draw: 10
A home defeat: 0
Completed January transfers
Ins Demba Ba (Newcastle, undisclosed)
Outs: Daniel Sturridge (Liverpool, undisclosed), Lucas Piazon (Malaga, loan), Todd Kane (Blackburn, loan), Billy Clifford (Colchester, loan), Sam Walker (Colchester, loan), Patrick Bamford (MK Dons, loan).
Ins Mathieu Debuchy (Lille, £5m), Yoan Gouffran (Bordeaux, £1.4m), Massadio Haidara (Nancy, undisclosed), Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa (Montpellier, £6.7m), Moussa Sissoko (Toulouse, undisclosed), Kevin Mbabu (Servette, undisclosed).
Outs Demba Ba (Chelsea, undisclosed), Conor Newton (St Mirren, loan), Xisco (Cordoba, free).
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Referee Howard Webb takes control of a Chelsea match for the third occasion this season. His previous outings were the 1-1 draw against Liverpool at Stamford Bridge in November and our 2-1 at Goodison Park in December.
Eden Hazard is suspended (third of three games).
A late goal once again was the undoing of Chelsea, this time costing us all the points on a clear and chilly afternoon on Tyneside.
In what became an increasingly lively game, it was Newcastle who took the lead through Jonas Gutierrez shortly before half-time and marginally against the run of play, but having stepped up a gear after the break, the Blues took a 2-1 lead.
The scorers were familiar - Frank Lampard with his 197th Chelsea goal and Juan Mata with his 16th of the season. Both were tremendous strikes. But catching us on the counter-attack, Newcastle recovered to take all three points thanks to two Moussa Sissoko goals.
Demba Ba, starting against his former club, failed to finish the first half due to a badly broken nose.
Ba was back in the starting 11 and John Terry and Petr Cech also returned with Fernando Torres, Cesar Azpilicueta and Ross Turnbull making way. Branislav Ivanovic moved to right-back and the midfield was unchanged.
Newcastle, following their away win at Aston Villa midweek, named the same team.
The Tynesiders may not be having a good season but a visit to St James' Park often proves a stern test, and so it proved again.
The partially new-look Newcastle, following their January recruitment drive, had the better of the opening minutes but Gary Cahill was able to get his body in the way as Papiss Cisse tried to test Cech with a shot. The next Geordie attack brought left-back Davide Santon forward but his attempt was easy for the Chelsea keeper.
At this stage it was important simply not to concede given recent knocks to confidence. It took 10 minutes for the visitors to begin to look composed in possession and try to find some space. Bertrand fired over one potentially dangerous cross.
Then on 14 minutes came the game's first true chance, not taken by Lampard. Mata's vision and accuracy gave Cole the chance to lay the ball back in front of goal but taking his shot first time, our no. 8 uncharacteristically smashed the ball over the bar.
Oscar also cleared the bar with an effort, but from much further out. The game looked to be turning our way. But then a Ramires pass was straight at an opponent deep in our half and it was played forward to Cisse who fortunately shot straight at Cech.
Then Santon volleyed worryingly close to the target after Cahill had headed a ball clear of the area.
It was a well-balanced game at this stage with contributions on the ball from Oscar and Mata giving the Chelsea following, high up behind one of the goals, reason to hope.
On 29 minutes Ramires went for a 50-50 loose ball with Gutierrez who was playing on the right rather than his more familiar left side. The Brazilian caught the Argentinian on the ankle and the home crowd were hoping for a red card, but Howard Webb showed yellow.
Moments later, Ba, the recipient of the expected jeers from the Toon support, was given his first chance to attack the Newcastle penalty area by a swift pass over the defence from Lampard. The striker beat Coloccini to the ball but Tim Krul was able to beat out the shot. Ba then headed the rebound wide and as he did so, received a kick on the nose by the Newcastle defender who was trying to clear the ball.
Was there an argument for dangerous play and a penalty? Ba was off the pitch for treatment for several minutes.
While Chelsea were down to 10 men, a gilt-edged chance came Cisse's way. From just eight yards out he aimed for the bottom corner but Cech saved brilliantly.
Ba, with a big white dressing on his face, came back on moments before the Blues went behind. Gutierrez scored with a glancing header from Santon's cross from deep.
Ba was still having problems and it was clear he could not continue. Torres came on for the close of the half.
The home side were buoyed by the goal and up to the break there was plenty of hurried defending by Chelsea to keep the deficit down.
Oscar showed good defensive qualities in his own half to dispossess the taller Sissoko as Newcastle tried to press home their advantage in the early minutes after the restart.
However showing admirable qualities, Chelsea settled into a steady stride and started to push Newcastle back with some good moves. The equaliser came on 54 minutes and it was the sweetest of strikes off the boot of Lampard.
He took a throw on his chest and managed to drift goal-side of his closest marker before unleashing a swerving shot that left Krul grasping at thin air. It gave Lampard 10 goals in 10 Premier League seasons.
Four minutes later Lampard could have put us ahead but headed straight at the keeper after Mata had crossed.
It was the diminutive Spaniard who decided to match Lampard for goal of the day on the hour. Ivanovic's cross hit a defender but it fell to Torres, back-to-goal. He laid it off to Mata whose curling shot from just inside the area was a goal from moment it pinged off his boot.
Before play restarted, Cisse and Cole were both booked for an altercation.
It was all Chelsea now, and after Oscar had glided into the area and crossed, Mata, falling and marked, volleyed over.
However Newcastle, against the tide, were able to bring scores level on the break. Cisse turned past Terry on the halfway line and played Gouffran through ahead of Cahill. Cech saved the new-signing's shot but could only push it wide to Sissoko who found the net. It was 2-2 with 67 minutes played.
It had become a highly-entertaining encounter. The Blues continued to try to play our football but did look vulnerable to further counter-attacks. Sissoko with impressive pace beat Cole on the outside but Cech dived and saved well.
Inside the final 10 minutes, Oscar, with a driving run, almost picked out Torres in front of goal but then in end-to-end fashion, Cisse wrong-footed the back-peddling Cahill before striking his shot straight at Cech.
Both Lampard and Cisse then fired shots over, the Chelsea man from further out.
It always looked likely one of these sides would find a winner in such an open encounter and to our distress, it was the Geordies who did so with 89 minutes on the clock.
Santan, who had frequently caused problems coming forward from full-back, was allowed to play the ball across to Sissoko on the edge of the area. The shot was clean and Cech could do nothing to stop it.
Deep into stoppage time there was one more shooting chance for Lampard. He hammered it in a crowded box but it hit Steven Taylor. Claims for a handball never looked likely to be heard and after three draws in a row, the Blues were tasting defeat.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Cole; Ramires, Lampard; Oscar, Mata, Bertrand; Ba (Torres 42).
Unused subs Turnbull, Ferreira, Azpilicueta, Ake, Benayoun, Marin.
Scorers Lampard 54, Mata 61.
Booked Ramires 30, Cole 61, Mata 90+2.
Newcastle (4-2-3-1): Krul; Debuchy, S Taylor, Coloccini (c), Santon; Perch, Cabaye; Gutierrez; Sissoko (Yanga-Mbiwa 90+2), Gouffran (Marveaux 84); Cissé.
Unused subs: Elliot, Anita, Bigirimana, Obertan, Shola Ameobi.
Scorers Gutierrez 40, Sissoko 67, 89.
Booked Perch 45+3, Cisse 61.
Referee Howard Webb