Kai Havertz ends Newcastle’s unbeaten run as he steps up to score in the 89th minute
Kai Havertz ends Newcastle’s unbeaten run by steering home a beautiful pass from Jorginho in the last minute, giving Chelsea their 5th consecutive win in the Premier League.
Chelsea’s victory over Newcastle United concludes a week characterized by change and turbulence with the Blues having much convincing to do after the chaotic Roman Abramovich situation.
Every game from this point onwards, is going to be of particular significance for the club and they will have to demonstrate evidence of unwavering progress to silence their haters who have always attributed Chelsea’s success to the deep pockets of Roman Abramovich, discounting and completely disregarding the actual hardwork of players and the personnel.
So far, Chelsea have withstood the test of time, as was shown in the results against Norwich City on Thursday and Newcastle United, today. Both games were played under immense pressure following the operational restrictions placed on the club as a result of the unfortunate sanctions against the owner, Roman Abramovich.
The game kicked off with a rather painfully slow start that saw both teams struggle to create clear-cut chances, with Chelsea suffering more, compared to the Magpies. The worries surrounding the club’s precarious future seemed to reflect in their listless performance.
First, it was Edouard Mendy who saved Chelsea from almost conceding as he denied Miguel Almiron’s efforts, in the last minutes of the first half.
Then came an erroneous misplay from Trevoh Chalobah, pulling Jacob Murphy down, which could’ve cost Chelsea a penalty, but only warranted a corner, saved by var.
Similarly, Havertz also luckily escaped a first-half sending off for a foul (a raised elbow) on Dan Burn which was only reduced to a yellow card upon reviewing.
Newcastle tried well to save themselves from an early Chelsea onslaught by successfully keeping them at bay during the first half, but second half saw the tables turned altogether.
Chelsea finally found their momentum in the attack as the second half kicked off and were able to create many chances, however, nothing decisive came out of it until Havertz collected a beautiful long-pass from Jorginho, eventually sending it home in the dying moments of the game, settling the contest.
Even though, Chelsea had to wait 75 minutes to finally register a shot on target (a delivery from Ziyech and Havertz’s missed header), the overall match stats show Chelsea still largely dominated the game in terms of possession, shots and shots on target.
Chelsea’s attention now shift towards Wednesday’s Champion’s League fixture against Lille, where they will look to book their place in the quarter-finals.
Match Highlights – Middlesbrough v Chelsea: Chelsea end Middlesbrough’s magic cup run with a remarkable 2-goal victory
Middlesbrough v Chelsea – Chelsea registered an impressive and a much-needed victory over Middlesbrough to book their place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup competition.
The championship side, Middlesbrough, had been enjoying a period of monumental success having triumphed over Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur to progress into the FA Cup quarter-finals. However, they were unable to continue their winning ways after suffering a 0-2 defeat to Chelsea, who comfortably prised the semi-final qualification out of Boro’s grip. We look at how the events unfolded in last night’s Middlesbrough v Chelsea game.
Chelsea were remarkably comfortable throughout the game, always in control and churning out chances after chances, one of which was proved fruitful owing to the efforts of Azpilicueta, Silva, Ziyech and Mount’s beautiful team link-up play down the right.
Mount was able to chase Ziyech’s pass as they were unattended, a freedom which Mount capitalised on by delivering a cross over to Lukaku, who tapped it home, unmarked, despite the availability of two Boro men nearby, thus breaking the deadlock in the 15th minute.
This early lead marked Chelsea’s dominant start to proceedings. Boro did well to improve since that point onwards, but they were easily dealt with by the Blues.
Despite Boro’s repeated attempts at getting back into the game, it was all but one-way traffic as Ziyech once again stepped up in the 31st minute, producing a world-class goal from long range with an arrowed shot, doubling the lead and sealing the win for the Blues.
Mount was credited with assists in both the goals scored and that tally would’ve witnessed an increment had Werner’s attempt found the back of the net instead of getting blocked in the second half of the game.
Boro came out with real purpose to start the second half but the Riverside hosts ended the game without a shot on target.
Emirate’s Player of the Match: Thiago Silva
Thiago Silva, with his remarkable defensive security, ensured the opponents were kept at arm’s length, a feat that won him Emirates Player of the Match title.
The blues boss, Thomas Tuchel was also greatly impressed with players’ impressive display of quality. Talking to BBC Sport, he said;
“Just three days after a Champions League tie you have to play a completely different competition with a totally different approach, but we were focused and got a deserved win. Full credit to the team. I’m very impressed.
“We accepted the situation as we didn’t cause it. Nothing we can do can change the situation, it’s not in our hands. But what is in our hands is to stay focused and set an example as I’m sure many people who work at Chelsea not in the spotlight are more concerned than us about the situation and what will happen. For them it’s also important we take the responsibility to show the right spirit and attitude. This is very, very good”.
Tuchel had admittedly studied the Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur games that Boro managed to claim victories over, which is possibly what prompted him to abandon his usual 3-4-3 formation.
This tactical reshuffle fared Chelsea well as we all saw in last night’s delicious victory over Middlesbrough.
Chelsea now advance to the semis, having secured themselves a Wembley date, where they will look to reverse their woes. Chelsea lost to Leicester City in last year’s FA Cup final as well as to Liverpool in last month’s Carabao Cup Final, both of which were played at Wembley.
Chelsea’s Man of the Match: Mason Mount
Mason Mount was titled Chelsea’s man of the match. Thiago Silva claimed an Emirates Player of the Match title with his incredible display of defensive quality as he cut out some significant Boro attacks in the second half. However, Mount was well deserved too, owing to his 2 game-deciding assists.
Match Highlights: Chelsea progress into the Champions League quarter-finals with a 1-4 aggregate win over Lille
Goals from Christian Pulisic and Cesar Azpilicueta and the collective efforts of players in the second half made the routine win possible for the Blues. Chelsea progress into the Champions League quarter-finals with ease.
Chelsea traveled to France to face an in-form Lille side over which they already boasted a 2-0 aggregate advantage from their first-leg encounter. The blues battled to a thoroughly deserved win over their French counterparts, overcoming the early penalty scare from Burak Yilmaz through Christian Pulisic’s equalizer, all in the eventful first-half. Cesar Azpilicueta’s step up settled the contest, helping Chelsea progress into the Champions League quarter-finals.
And with that, Chelsea’s cherished hopes of retaining their European crown continue…
Lille starting lineup (4-4-2):
Leo Jardim | Tiago Djaló, Botman, Fonte (c), Çelik | Gudmundsson, Xeka, André, Bamba | David, Yilmaz
Substitutes: Grbic, Raux, Ben Arfa, Lihadji, Gomes, Weah, Zhegrova, Onana, Bradaric
Chelsea starting lineup (3-5-2):
Mendy | Rüdiger, Silva, Christensen | Alonso, Kovacic, Jorginho, Kanté, Azpilicueta (c) | Pulisic, Havertz
Substitutes: Arrizabalaga, Bettinelli, Chalobah, Sarr, Kenedy, Mount, Vale, Ziyech, Loftus-Cheek, Lukaku, Werner
Chelsea progress into the Champions League quarter-finals – Match Highlights
Thomas Tuchel had to leave behind Reece James, Callum Hudson Odoi (due to Injury concerns) and Ross Barkley for the trip, as the club still struggles with a limited traveling budget allotted to them by the government as part of the licence restrictions.
It was a confident and a positive start for Lille who enjoyed lengthy spells of possession during the first-half. The blues had to weather some stormy moments, owing to the constant pressure from Lille.
Chalobah, who was brought on for an injured Andreas Christensen following a dirty foul by Yilmaz, continued with his recent tradition of giving away free kicks to the opponents because of his erroneous misplays.
This additional favour from an awkward series of events paired up with the growing pressure from Lille, finally landed them an opportunity in the 38th minute, as Burak Yilmaz opened the scoring through a penalty awarded to Lille by a Jorginho error as reviewed by VAR.
Lille’s efforts resulted in them being able to reduce their aggregate deficit from 2-0 to 2-1.
It seemed as if the Blues would head into second-half without much change in their scoreline. Since the kick off, Chelsea looked somewhat slow and ponderous offensively, lacking a creative spark.
Despite their repeated attempts to take charge, they were almost always dispossessed before they could register a meaningful shot.
Throughout the first-half, they created very little chances due to the midfield of Kovačić, Kante and Jorginho falling somewhat flat in terms of attacking quality, also failing to maintain control.
But as the game progressed, a slight shift in intensities was recorded. Lille’s early lead was not destined to last and was instead short-lived as Christian Pulisic responded quicky to the conceded goal by capitalising on Jorginho’s fine pass in the first-half stoppage time, restoring Chelsea’s 2-goal aggregate.
After a struggling first-half, Chelsea finally found their stride following the confidence-restoring goal from Christian Pulisic for which, Jorginho deserves the partial credit. That beautiful pass certainly compensated for the earlier handball from the midfielder that cost the Blues a penalty.
Second half kicked off with the Ligue 1 side looking deflated by the blow but it wasn’t long until they came close to scoring again through Xeka, whose header hit against the post, resulting in a wasted influential opportunity.
Second half was a complete turn of events for the Blues as it was now Chelsea who enjoyed control of the game more. Lille were still working hard to create chances but their attempted shots consistently kept missing the target.
Tuchel’s genius substitutions yet again proved to be the saving grace for Chelsea as substitute Mason Mount switched the pace up a little, later into the second half.
He delivered a beautiful cross from the left, which found the feet of Azpilicueta who eventually took the tie away from Lille as he slammed the strike home with his knee in the 71st minute, putting the seal on the win.
The final 15-20 minutes saw many attempts, both from Lille and Chelsea, majority of which were just poorly planned shots that all went off-target. Chelsea could have added another goal to the scoresheet if it weren’t for Marcos Alonso’s miscalculated pass to which even Romelu Lukaku expressed his visible disgust. This concluded the action-packed second half.
Chelsea have booked their place into the quarter-finals despite their off-pitch woes
Despite Chelsea’s ongoing crisis of the highest degree, following the sanctioning of club’s owner, Roman Abramovich, the players didn’t seem distracted at all. This strength in their mentality is what helped them overpower such committed opponents.
Chelsea now advance through to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, boasting a 1-4 win on aggregate over their French adversary.
Man of the match:
Christian Pulisic was announced man of the match owing to his crucial equaliser before the half-time whistle.
When are the quarter-final draws:
The quarter-final draws will take place on Friday, March 18th, at 11am UK time. Semi-final draws are expected to take place on the same day.
Christian Pulisic made his 100th appearance for Chelsea in yesterday’s Carabao Cup Final – A rundown of the player’s glorious Chelsea record
Yesterday marked Christian Pulisic ‘s 100th appearance as a Chelsea player
Christian Pulisic boasts a prominent 21-goal record coupled with 17 assists for Chelsea football club featuring 100 appearances.
The American international has had quite an injury-ridden career here at Chelsea, but even that didn’t stop him from making his mark on the club as well as the Premier League.
How Christian Pulisic got settled down at The Bridge
Pulisic saw his dream of playing in the Premier League finally come to fruition when Chelsea signed him in 2019’s January Transfer Window for an estimated fee of £58 million. He made his Premier League debut for Chelsea in August of 2019 against Manchester United.
It was the season when Chelsea suffered a transfer ban and Hazard had already signed for Real Madrid. Chelsea were left shaken in the Hazard aftermath and were starting to adjust to a more youth-reliant system. That initially didn’t fare Chelsea well as the transition from experienced players to novices was a little frustrating.
There was some struggle that saw Pulisic eventually take the bench for a couple consecutive matches. Meanwhile Frank Lampard, the then Chelsea coach, thought he had better options at his disposal to start ahead of the 20 year old.
Pulisic’s rise from the bench to becoming a regular starter in Chelsea’s XI
Despite the heartbreaking bench warming, the same season was proved a landmark season for Pulisic as he scored a remarkable hat trick against Burnley in October 2019, quieting all his doubters and justifying his ‘inflated’ price tag.
That was the moment when everyone finally saw him flash the ability of a world-class talent.
He then went on to conclude his debut season by being shortlisted for Young Player of the Year award. All things considered, his first season was a relative success for him.
The following season, Pulisic’s goal involvement in the game started to register an upward trend. From scoring an equaliser after coming off the bench against Aston Villa, to the monumental goal that ended Manchester City’s dreams of becoming the Premier League champions, Pulisic was shining and making headlines.
He soon cemented his place in Lampard’s starting XI.
The Hazard comparisons and the injury crisis that has weighed down his Chelsea career
Fans started comparing his finishing quality with that of Hazard’s. All expectations were set on him to continue Hazard’s legacy. But that didn’t play out well as the player started to find himself sidelined through repeated injuries.
Even today, he’s among the most injury prone players of the club. But despite that, he’s steadily finding his form. Under Thomas Tuchel, he has grown in versatility by playing in different positions.
The fear whether he’ll become a transfer casualty is certainly valid, but with the potential that he has, it’s going to be tough call for the board.
Pulisic’s Chelsea record is a mixture of injuries and meaningful performances. But for a club with a purpose to compete against the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Manchester United etc., he needs to be more consistent. In a league that’s known for being competitive and physical, the lack of consistency from players is something that isn’t easily excused.
Nevertheless, we congratulate him on achieving this milestone.