It was another night to remember for Newcastle in what is shaping up to be a special 2022-23 Premier League season under the guidance of Eddie Howe as the Magpies ran out 1-0 winners against Graham Potters foundering Chelsea to put a book-end on their respective fixture list before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
A lone second-half strike from midfielder Joe Willock was enough to seal all three points on Tyneside earlier this evening in a performance that featured a scoreline that certainly flattered to some degree as Newcastle could have possibly crafted more on the scoresheet despite the initial absence of Callum Wilson.
The Magpies bested the Blues’ total efforts 10-5 while also having the lion’s share of the ball throughout, with star winger Miguel Almirón once again at the center of every positive flowing move Howe’s men found on the night, with the Paraguayan turning provider for Willock’s well-taken effort.
Regardless of what happens tomorrow when Manchester United clashes with Fulham at Craven Cottage in the English capital, Newcastle will go into the festive period at heights that many in the club’s fanbase have not tasted since the days of Alan Shearer.
As for Chelsea, the inquest is set to continue at Stamford Bridge after another dire performance from the Blues under Graham Potter, though one can possibly suggest that certain key figures missing may have aided in the poor result. On the strength of it, despite that, it was another performance well short of expectations for a club that has invested heavily in the wake of Todd Boehly’s summer efforts.
It was the Blues’ third loss on the spin in the Premier League and extended their winless run to five, with their last win coming against Aston Villa in a 2-0 result away from home.
Potters men currently sit 13-points adrift of Arsenal, who at the time of writing are locked with Wolves at the Molineux. Should Arsenal win, Chelsea would fall a whopping sixteen points off the pace set by the league leaders; hardly where its new ambitious owners would have wanted.
Newcastle Player Ratings
GK: Nick Pope (7) - Justifiably heading to Qatar and today showed why when his smart save against Gallagher kept Newcastle in front.
RB: Kieran Trippier (7.5) - Another outing from the England international that showed his value and them some. Consistent as ever and kept Pulisic quiet after the American was introduced.
CB: Fabian Schär (7) - Strong again from the Swiss international who has really come to life under Eddie Howe while alongside summer signing Sven Botman.
CB: Sven Botman (7) - The second half of Newcastle’s first-choice pairing in defense looked good once again before being removed a few minutes before full-time.
LB: Dan Burn (7) - Often unheralded but more than capable of doing a job, Burn was good again on the left side of the defense while offering an attacking outlet at times.
DM: Bruno Guimarães (6.5) - Certainly not his best day in a Newcastle shirt but he was decent throughout when all things are taken into account.
CM: Sean Longstaff (6.5) - A similar performance level and rating can be given to Longstaff here. He was hardly poor, but nothing more than decent on the day.
CM: Joe Willock (8) - Willock’s career has found roots on Tyneside as he continues to look good in a Newcastle kit after not making the grade at Arsenal. A lovely goal rounded off a good evening.
RW: Miguel Almirón (8) - Direct, brilliant on and off the ball, and the key catalyst for this Magpies team. Almirón bagged another assist and remained one of the top players anywhere this season.
LW: Joelinton (7) - The ultimate swiss army man for Howe did it again today when he featured at both the left-wing birth and then in central midfield. Good stuff once again for the former Hoffenheim man.
CF: Chris Wood (6) - A physical presence as you would expect but Newcastle does lose a considerable amount of attacking threat when he is in the lineup.
Sub: Callum Wilson (6) - Given 15-minutes in the tank here and though he didn’t truly contribute, it’s good to see him back before the World Cup and hopefully fit for the remainder of the season.
Sub: Jacob Murphy (6) - Came on late to little effect but through no fault of his own.
Sub: Matt Targett (6) - Came on late to little effect but through no fault of his own.Open in new window
Chelsea Player Ratings
GK: Édouard Mendy (6.5) - Willock’s goal certainly does not come down to Mendy in any measure but the Senegalese shot-stopper still struggles in some areas. He was okay overall.
RCB: César Azpilicueta (6.5) - A relatively solid day for the Spanish international veteran who was sacrificed at halftime for a change of shape and more firepower up front.
CB: Kalidou Koulibaly (6) - A worrying display from Koulibaly with the World Cup just around the corner for the Senegalese stalwart. Typically good this season, this was not his best day.
LCB: Trevoh Chalobah (6.5) - Pretty okay overall but Newcastle may feel frustrated in what was a penalty shout after the ball struck Chalobah’s arm. Still, he was okay.
RWB: Ruben Loftus-Cheek (N/A) - Removed after picking up a knock just seven minutes into the action.
LWB: Lewis Hall (6.5) - Certainly not the worst performance from young Lewis Hall on the evening and looked to be a bit more steady on the left side of the defense than Cucurella has been on average.
CM: Mateo Kovačić (6.5) - Nothing more than average from the Croatian midfielder bound for Qatar after today. His inconsistency remains his biggest issue since his arrival at Chelsea.
CM: Jorginho (6.5) - Not his usual performance when it comes to command and control for the Italian international. Okay but did not have a truly influential period.
RAM: Conor Gallagher (6.5) - Bound for Qatar with Southgate’s England, Gallagher’s day echoed similarly to the rest of the team today. Nothing more than average at best.
LAM: Mason Mount (6) - An off day for Mount when all things are considered. Lacked a real influential performance in the attacking third when usually he can be counted upon to be the catalyst.
CF: Armando Broja (6) - Given a chance to lead the line ahead of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but didn’t take it, though that may not be down to him and the little service he received.
Sub: Thiago Silva (7) - Arguably Chelsea’s best player despite having to come off the bench for Loftus-Cheek. Set to play for Brazil again, his performance showed he continues to handle the top level of competition.
Sub: Christian Pulisic (6) - Disappointing again for the United States star. There were one or two moments of quality from the forward but overall he still cannot string it together.
Sub: Hakim Ziyech (6) - Lacked the cutting-edge ability to get Chelsea’s engine reviving when he came on with 17-minutes to go as he remains on the periphery overall with what he can seemingly offer the Blues.
Sub: Marc Cucurella (6) - Despite being under the command of his former boss at Brighton, Cucurella’s contributions have not benefitted and his not starting here was telling. His performance off the bench solidified why.
Sub: Kai Havertz (6) - Managed to find one of the only shots Chelsea could muster on the evening and he will likely look forward to a break from the Blues with Germany in Qatar where he may fair better.