Newcastle pulled off a strong victory against one of the league’s best teams. The early kick-off clash was contested in a very deliberate and thought out manner as both sides were reluctant to come out of their comfort zones in order to control proceedings and the result was a fairly open contest. Juan Mata was awarded a Premier League start by Mourinho after his scintillating midweek performance against Arsenal in the Capital One Cup in which he netted a sublime goal but Mata yet again failed to rediscover last season’s Premier League form and with his slump, Chelsea sunk with him. Juan Mata only managed a total of 54 touches throughout the game, the second lowest of any Chelsea starter and was dispossessed the joint most throughout the match (2).
Chelsea’s lack of expansiveness
Possibly the main reason why Mourinho attempted to bring his former midfield general at Real Madrid; Xabi Alonso to Chelsea, Mourinho’s men lacked the ability to inject width and verticality into their attacking play. The first half was extremely poor from Chelsea’s stand point, without Mata ghosting across the final third full of confidence opening up holes with his movement and executing killer passes, the blue’s looked extremely ponderous and lost for ideas in possession. More often than David Luiz looked to force the issue from the back, fizzing a number of passes into the inside right channel for Torres to chase. As a result Luiz played a higher percentage of his passes forward (47%), more than any other out-field player but Chelsea rarely looked threatening in these situations as Fernando Torres’ lack of ability was exposed. As the one obvious ‘out-ball’ for his teammates, the Spaniard managed to complete an abysmal 3 passes throughout the game failing to utilise the verticality in which his pace and power created for the team, unable to bring teammates into the game.
The Substitutes and the attacking transitions
With the introduction of Schurrle, Willian and Eto’o, Chelsea became more fluid and quick regarding their attacking transitions. Interchanging of positions happened more frequently as Chelsea stormed up the pitch usually in the first 5-8 seconds after regaining possession of the ball. The unpredictability from Mourinho’s men late on in the second half proved difficult for the Newcastle back line to deal with, the result was Samuel Eto’o being allowed to get shots off which he did with 4, more than any other Chelsea player. However, Newcastle managed to put the game to bed in the 88th minute with a quality finish from Loic Remy sealing all three points for The magpies after a Yoan Gouffran header.
Jose Mourinho will undoubtedly be disappointed with this performance. Chelsea were far too passive and failed to respond in a powerful manner much like Mourinho’s Chelsea teams of old would do.
[sws_blockquote_endquote align=”” cite=”Jose Mourinho” quotestyle=”style02″] I made eleven mistakes, I should of picked the other eleven and not this one. I had one team that was not there. When the team is not there normally you lose. We deserved to lose, maybe they don’t deserve to win but for sure we deserved to lose. [/sws_blockquote_endquote]
As harsh as his words may seem, Mourinho wants a response from his team. One that will spark a theme of consistency as they look to challenge for the Premier League title.