Joe Willock’s goal midway through the second half was enough to settle a tight encounter on Tyneside.
Newcastle vs Chelsea result
Graham Potter’s side took time to grow into the game but the scores were still level when Conor Gallagher was denied by a fine flying save from Nick Pope early in the second half.
That proved our brightest moment of the evening, with the hosts breaking the deadlock shortly afterwards to claim all three points and condemn Chelsea to a third consecutive league defeat for the first time since November 2017.
We go into the six-week World Cup break eighth, trailing the top four by eight points.
Potter made four changes from our midweek Carabao Cup defeat in Manchester, with Mason Mount, Gallagher, Cesar Azpilicueta and Jorginho all returning to the side.
Eighteen-year-old Lewis Hall retained his place at left wing-back following an impressive display at the Etihad Stadium, while Ruben Loftus-Cheek lined up on the opposite side and Azpilicueta shifted into the back three alongside Trevoh Chalobah and Kalidou Koulibaly.
Armando Broja was preferred up top supported by Mount and Gallagher, with the familiar partnership of Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho in central midfield. The total of six Academy graduates in the starting 11 was the most for the club since April 1998.
Newcastle made two alterations from last weekend’s Premier League win at Southampton, with Chris Wood and Joelinton coming into the team.
It didn’t take long for Potter’s plans to be redrawn as Loftus-Cheek hobbled off after just seven minutes, complaining of a problem with his calf. Thiago Silva, on the eve of his fourth World Cup with Brazil, was the man making an early entrance, with Azpilicueta moving to right wing-back.
That came amid an even opening at St James’ Park, which was full of life and colour with the Magpies promisingly entrenched in the Premier League top four.
In fact, this was a markedly unordinary November trip to Tyneside, with the thermometer showing double digits and Eddie Howe’s side six points better off than the Blues at kick-off, albeit having played a game more. It was the first time in over a decade we had faced a Newcastle side above us in the table.
Miguel Almiron, the league’s Player of the Month for October, had the game’s first opportunity after Willock had advanced down the left and crossed into the box, though the Paraguayan’s volley flew harmlessly over Edouard Mendy’s crossbar.
Potter replicated the 3-4-2-1 system that had secured a shutout for his Brighton side against Newcastle back in August but the challenge was also to pose problems in the final third, with much of the first 30 minutes played in our own half.
A quick break down the inside-left channel from Mount fashioned a crossing opportunity for the enterprising Hall, who found Broja in the middle with a low delivery. The Albanian international turned neatly but his shot was weak and straight at Pope.
Only five teams in the Premier League had fired fewer shots than the Blues heading into this weekend, though Broja’s effort at least inspired confidence that the visitors could advance upfield and create against the league’s form side.
Our young striker was almost on the end of a lovely flighted pass by Mount from the left but Sven Botman was up well to nod the ball behind for a corner, from which Chalobah was just beaten to Hall’s inswinger.
Down the other end, Chalobah survived a speculative shout for handball in the closing moments of the half. Replays showed the ball did hit the defender’s outstretched arm as he went to ground but it was correctly deemed not to be an offence by referee Robert Jones.
There was more tinkering required from Potter and his staff at the break as Azpilicueta failed to emerge for the restart, with Christian Pulisic sent on in his place and Gallagher the latest deployed at right wing-back.
Gallagher goes close
It was Newcastle who came back out brightest and both Thiago Silva then Kovacic were required to make smart blocks in our 18-yard box before Sean Longstaff fired over from Almiron’s clever hooked cross.
Chances for both sides were more common in the second period, with Kovacic’s effort charged down on the edge of the box before Gallagher did brilliantly to steal possession high in the Newcastle half and then took a neat return pass from Pulisic, though his England colleague Pope produced a fine save to his left to push the ball behind.
That was the most severe test presented to either goalkeeper all evening but it wasn’t long before one of them was beaten and the deadlock finally broken.
Willock wins it
The cheers came from the Toon Army with a quarter of the contest remaining as Willock fired them in front, taking the ball off the toes of Almiron following an infield surge from the right from the forward.
Londoner Willock did the rest, smashing the ball past Mendy and into the corner of the net for his second league goal in as many games.
Chelsea’s response was a triple one from the bench with Marc Cucurella, Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech sent on to salvage the situation. Two of the new arrivals combined for a sight at goal shortly afterwards, the Spaniard’s teasing centre looking for Havertz’s darting front-post run, though the Newcastle defenders were able to smother the ball to safety.
Despite trailing with the clock ticking down, the Blues were unable to offer a sustained threat on the home side’s goal. Seven minutes of additional time was met with cries of indignation from the locals but Newcastle’s defence held strong as Potter’s side fired a blank for the third game in a row.
That resistance featured the sight of Mendy in the opponents' penalty box late on and a smattering of scraps as desperation spilled over. The upcoming domestic break will offer an opportunity to reflect ahead of the restart two days after Christmas.
Chelsea (3-4-2-1) Mendy; Azpilicueta (c) (Pulisic h/t), Chalobah, Koulibaly; Loftus-Cheek (Thiago Silva 7), Kovacic, Jorginho, Hall (Cucurella 73); Gallagher, Mount (Ziyech 73); Broja (Havertz 73)
Unused subs Bettinelli, Zakaria, Hutchinson, Aubameyang
Booked Jorginho 30; Koulibaly
Newcastle United (4-3-3) Pope; Trippier (c), Botman (Targett 87), Schar, Burn; Longstaff, Willock (Murphy 85), Guimaraes; Almiron, Wood (Wilson 76), Joelinton
Unused subs Darlow, Manquilo, Lascelles, Anderson, Shelvey, , Saint-Maximin
Scorer Willock 67
Booked Trippier 56; Pope 90+5; Lascelles (not on pitch) 90+8
Referee Robert Jones
Newcastle vs Chelsea Premier League table
You can view the latest Premier League table here.
Newcastle vs Chelsea stats
What time are Newcastle vs Chelsea highlights available?
The match highlights are available to view on chelseafc.com and The 5th Stand app from 9.30pm UK time on Saturday 12 November, with the match in full available from midnight.
Chelsea fixtures - what's next?
The World Cup in Qatar means we now have over six weeks before the next Chelsea game, which comes at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League against Bournemouth.
Date: 27 December 2022
Kick-off time: 5.30pm UK time
Location: Stamford Bridge