Date: 26th August 2018 at 6:28pm
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At St James Park this afternoon, Newcastle slipped to a defeat, losing to a Chelsea side that dominated possession but needed a huge slice of luck to take the victory

With Lascelles and Shelvey unavailable, Rafael Benitez selected a starting eleven that was designed to frustrate Chelsea by getting numbers behind the ball.

It wasn’t particularly attractive to watch but the gaffer had obviously deemed needs must.

The ploy worked well for a large part of the game with Chelsea having the majority of the possession but being unable to create any real clear-cut chances.

The closest our visitors came to scoring was when Antonio Rudiger, late in the second-half, unleashed a twenty-five-yard shot that crashed against the crossbar.

Minutes later though Chelsea were awarded a penalty in controversial circumstances when Alonso tumbled to the deck after what looked like a decent challenge by Schar. Hazard, who had looked Chelsea’s most dangerous player, calmly stroked the resulting spot-kick past Dubravka in the Newcastle goal.

After being content to frustrate Chelsea, Newcastle had to go in search of an equaliser and to the crowds’ delight, it came, in the 83rd minute, some seven minutes after Chelsea had taken the lead.

Yedlin delivered a testing cross and there was Joselu to power a near post header home. St James Park erupted with it looking as if their side had grabbed a point.

But football can be a cruel sport as Yedlin was to find out, just four minutes later when a Chelsea free-kick was played into the box, a low shot from Alonso was turned into his own net by Yedlin, who dropped to his knees in despair.

Despite playing five minutes of stoppage time, Newcastle couldn’t get back on level terms.

 

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