oe Willock’s thunderous second-half goal earned Newcastle United a gritty 1-0 win over Chelsea at St James’ Park on Saturday and consolidated third place in the Premier League in their final fixture before the World Cup.
Miguel Almiron cut inside Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly and nudged the ball into the path of the onrushing Willock, who unleashed a powerful first-time effort that flew past goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to bag his second league goal in as many games.
After a fifth straight league win, Newcastle have 30 points and sit two points behind second-placed Manchester City while Chelsea are level on 21 points with Brighton & Hove Albion but behind them in eighth place, having played a game more.
Newcastle had a penalty appeal turned down after defender Dan Burn’s cross hit Trevoh Chalobah’s flailing arm late in the first half while Chelsea forward Armando Broja registered the only shot on target in an otherwise uneventful opening period.
Five minutes after the restart, Newcastle came close to taking the lead when Joelinton kept alive Kieran Trippier’s cross but Chris Wood was unable to connect and Mendy scrambled the ball away.
Almiron then cut it back for Sean Longstaff, who blazed his effort over the bar, while Wood was inches away from meeting Willock’s fine cross a few minutes later as Newcastle pushed for an opener but lacked a clinical edge.
Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher forced a flying save from Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope in the 66th minute as the visitors sprung into life, but any momentum they would have built from their best attack of the game was wiped out by Willock in the very next minute.
Good night and thank you for joining Standard Sport’s LIVE coverage of Chelsea’s loss to Newcastle.
You can read our report, ratings, reaction and analysis below.
Chelsea to reflect after third consecutive defeat at Newcastle
Chelsea’s approach was always going to be justified by the end result.
Already six points behind high-flying Newcastle, Graham Potter understandably went with a defensive approach at St James’s Park.
It followed a dismal run of one win in the last four games for a side that had been knocked out of the cup and was sliding down the table.
Hardworking midfielders Conor Gallagher and Mason Mount were selected as no10s behind Armando Broja in an attack designed to play on the counter and work for the team.
It worked, to an extent, as third-placed Newcastle failed to get a shot on target in the first half.
However, at the other end, the west Londoners barely created a chance themselves.
Read Nizaar Kinsella’s full report here!
Graham Potter makes emphatic Chelsea vow despite loss to Newcastle
Graham Potter vowed to “accept the struggles” at Chelsea after his side were beaten at Newcastle.
Joe Willock’s goal piled yet more misery on the former Brighton manager, who has now gone five games without a win, with his team beaten in their last three Premier League games.
As a result, Chelsea now sit eighth in the table and even behind Potter’s former side and have plenty to ponder over the World Cup break.
Injuries to key players have not helped Potter of course but his team struggled to create anything of note in fairly cautious display at St James’ Park. Armando Broja was selected up front in place of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang but could not get into the game.
With Chelsea now not back in action until Boxing Day, the club have plenty to ponder. Potter is ready to push for January signings but will need to yield far more out of the players he inherited from Thomas Tuchel.
Speaking after the game, the Blues boss said: “We take the break to recharge and go again.
“There won’t be many of us. A lot of the guys go away, but those that remain will work and go again.
“We have had a tough period and there have been a lot of positives but also some negatives. Sometimes you have to accept the struggles you have. It is about regrouping and starting again. It is the second half of the season and there is a long way to go.”
Chelsea player ratings: Kovacic and Mount seriously struggle
Chelsea will go into the six-week break for the World Cup outside of the European places after a poor defeat away at Newcastle.
The Blues were dominated as they played for a draw at St James’s Park, with Joe Willock’s second-half long-range strike separating the two sides.
The 1-0 defeat leaves the Blues in eighth place and eight points away from the top four, nine behind Eddie Howe’s high-flying Toon.
Nizaar Kinsella was in the North East to rate the players after their third consecutive league defeat.
Problems mount for Potter as Joe Willock piles more misery on Chelsea
Chelsea have plenty to consider during the World Cup break after Joe Willock’s winner piled more misery on Graham Potter.
The former Brighton boss is now on a run of five League games without a win and saw his side hardly compete in an attacking sense and beaten too easily defensively.
The reserved manner with which Potter’s side played, however, would have come as a surprise after a bold selection call. Lewis Hall was rewarded for his fine display against Manchester City with a start at left-wing back, while Armando Broja was selected to lead the line in place of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Read our full match report here!
Nizaar Kinsella at St James’ Park
Anger, disappointment and embarrassment at end lead to Chelsea and Newcastle’s players pushing and shoving. The officials tried to get on top of it but it involved almost every player. It could well lead to an FA charge for the Blues for failing to control their players, or worse…
FT: Newcastle 1-0 Chelsea
90:00 – Chaos at the end but Willock’s goal enought to seal a Toon win and pile more misery on Graham Potter.
SEVEN MINUTES ADDED ON
90:00 – We’re set for a long one…
Hard task for Chelsea
88:00 – Newcastle aren’t prone to giving goals away and Chelsea aren’t exactly firing them in at the moment. All of their attacks have been without convinction.