Chelsea Football Club Part 5

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Journey Man
Match report: Chelsea 4 Newcastle 0
Saturday, Dec 04, 2004

Soon there will be suggestions the club name is changed to Chelsea Four! José Mourinho’s men have racked up their favourite goal total once again with four Chelsea goals for the fifth time in seven League outings.

This time they all came in the final half-hour after what, if truth be told, was an edgy and keenly fought contest up until then. Newcastle had come fired up and for spells left Chelsea second best. But one Mourinho shuffle of his pack later and Chelsea were ahead through Frank Lampard. Then the fun began.

Half-time substitute Didier Drogba capped a powerful display with his first goal since his return, Arjen Robben scored the sort of magical solo piece only he can conjure up and the good times were capped off by Mateja Kezman’s first in the Premiership, from the penalty spot.

Both Kezman and Drogba had started from the bench as José Mourinho resisted the temptation to change the team from the one that had started the previous two League games. But the way the match began it looked far from a well-oiled machine.

Newcastle, who lamely lost here 5-0 last season, began by winning most early aerial battles and holding the home side in our half for long periods.

The first hint of a breakthrough came 13 minutes in – a quick Makelele free-kick moved on by Lampard to Duff who opted to square the ball unsuccessfully to Gudjohnsen rather than shoot himself. A minute later Terry headed in Lampard’s cross but from an offside position.

At the other end Carvalho was booked for bringing down Jenas, Cech needing to pull off a smart save to keep out Robert’s free-kick. The Chelsea keeper was taking over from where Cudicini had left off at St James’ Park last month.

Midway through the half Chelsea survived a big scare when the impressive Dyer advanced through the midfield and released Bellamy, accelerating away from Ferreira. It was now a battle between the Welsh striker and our Czech keeper, Petr Cech winning by blocking with his legs. Robert blasted the rebound well off-target.

Newcastle were worryingly on top in midfield. As at Fulham midweek the extra-man in that area was telling with the visitors’ young legs covering plenty of ground.

Cech’s opposite number has a history of blunders at the Bridge and on 30 minutes there was almost another to add to the Given collection. Tiago tried his luck from 30 yards and although the keeper was well behind it, there was a big fumble before the shot was dealt with.

Newcastle were suddenly handing out early Christmas presents and when Bramble and Johnson made a hefty meal out of a Given roll-out, Gudjohnsen nipped in but chipped just wide with Duff awaiting the chance of a tap-in. The best chance so far had been missed.

Just before the break Robben’s second bite at a shooting chance sailed over and although Chelsea had ended the half brighter than we had begun it, a distinct improvement was required.

A half-time tweak saw Drogba replace Gudjohnsen, paying the price for his earlier wastefulness. But still the struggle continued.

Carvalho came close to receiving a second booking for tripping Bellamy as the pressure mounted and just before the hour Cech was again called into action, pushing out another Robert free-kick that had curled round the wall.

Mourinho was not likely to take the continued lack of control for much longer and he was soon making a double substitution. And what an effect it had.

Kezman came on for Tiago, Bridge for Gallas and before anyone could work where everyone was now playing Chelsea scored.

Makelele was the initiator with a ball up to Drogba; he headed back towards the penalty spot where Lampard controlled with one touch and smacked the ball in. What a roar! What relief!

Just minutes later Lampard almost added a second, Kezman and Duff combining before his shot was desperately beaten away by Given.

The weight of expectation to find a vital opener had been lifted and did it show! The Chelsea of recent weeks was back, as was Didier Drogba.

On 68 minutes a pass from the excellent Lampard right into the danger area was picked up by the big striker. A twist inside left Bramble for dead, a low curling finish had Given grasping at air. 2-0.

Chelsea had settled on a 4-2-3-1 shape with Kezman at the tip and not a Chelsea fan in the ground didn’t feel for the Serb when he drilled the ball against the post after Robben and Duff had flashed the ball across the pitch.

After all the huff and puff early on it was now only a question of how many more would be added. Drogba almost found Duff free while Lampard wasn’t far away from 35 yards.

But then Duff on the break picked out Robben who set off at what remained of Newcastle’s defence. Leaving Bowyer in his wake, he turned inside Hughes and there was simply no question that November’s Player of the Month would find the net for another stunner. It was his fifth of the season. As at St James’ Park he had proved unstoppable.

There were only two minutes remaining but that was still time enough for Drogba to send Duff away, only for Given to haul him down. If Kezman felt big pressure in taking the penalty it didn’t show. The epitome of cool, he chipped it into the net for his first Premiership goal with the keeper sprawling and was soon jumped upon by every one of his team-mates.

How long ago the bump and grind of the opening hour now felt. Chelsea are walking with a top of the table swagger.

Staff online

Team P W L PD Pts
10 9 1 124 20
11 8 3 75 18
10 7 3 70 16
10 7 3 69 16
11 7 4 59 14
11 6 5 -9 14
10 6 4 -10 14
12 6 5 36 13
11 6 5 107 12
11 5 6 47 12
12 6 6 2 12
11 5 6 -88 12
11 4 6 -7 9
10 3 7 -103 8
10 2 8 -91 6
11 2 9 -95 6
10 1 9 -186 4
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