Newcastle 1-0 Chelsea: Joe Willock scores stunning goal to condemn Graham Potter's Blues to third straight Premier League loss

Newcastle 1-0 Chelsea: Joe Willock scores stunning goal to condemn Graham Potter’s Blues to third straight Premier League loss

Joe Willock’s superb strike earned Newcastle a 1-0 victory over Chelsea at St James’ Park, condemning Graham Potter’s side to their third consecutive Premier League defeat as the Blues boss blamed ‘unforced errors’ ” for their latest fall.

Neither goalkeeper was worried during a lackluster first half, with Miguel Almiron volleying one end and Armando Broja forcing a routine save the other as the first 45 minutes predictably ended without aim.

The Magpies, sensing an opportunity to tackle an below-par Chelsea side, were much more progressive after the restart, although Nick Pope was forced into a sprawling 65th-minute save to deny the shot from Curling by Conor Gallagher.

Chelsea’s Conor Gallagher (left) and Newcastle United’s Miguel Almiron battle for the ball

Newcastle, who took the lead two minutes later when Almiron went on a jinxing run before finding Willock, will enter the World Cup break as the top third team. Chelsea, however, languish in eighth.

The only crumb of comfort for the visitors was that teenager Lewis Hall got his first Premier League start and didn’t look completely out of place, although an already delighted backline then lost Ruben Loftus-Cheek on injury.

Potter recast Gallagher in the right-back role in the second half, to welcome the introduction of Christian Pulisic, but that did little to help Chelsea’s stuttering control in the final third.

How Newcastle piled more misery on Potter

Newcastle United's Joe Willock (front left) celebrates his opening
Newcastle United’s Joe Willock (front left) celebrates his opening

Newcastle have now won five consecutive Premier League games for the first time since 2014, while they are unbeaten in 10 for the first time since 2011.

Potter, on the other hand, is the first Chelsea manager to lose three league games in a row since Jose Mourinho in November 2015 – who incidentally lost his job the following month.

Willock’s resplendent strike – his second goal in as many games – came at the perfect time for the hosts as the momentum had started to rock Chelsea, albeit briefly.

Player ratings

Newcastle: Pope (7), Trippier (8), Schar (7), Botman (8), Burn (7), Longstaff (6), Guimaraes (7), Willock (8), Almiron (7), Wood (6), Joelinton (7).

Subtitles: Wilson (6), Murphy (n/a), Targett (n/a)

Chelsea: Mendy (6), Koulibaly (4), Chalobah (5), Azpilicueta (5), Loftus-Cheek (n/a), Jorginho (5), Kovacic (5), Hall (5), Gallagher (6), Mount (6), Broja (6).

Subtitles: Silva (6), Pulisic (5), Ziyech (4), Havertz (5), Cucurella (5).

Player of the game: Joe Willock

But the in-form Almiron was able to command control when he easily dodged a half-hearted challenge from Kalidou Koulibaly, before pushing the ball in the way of Willock whose first shot was missed in the 67th minute.

Eddie Howe’s side have now amassed 30 points this season, a tally they only reached in March last season, and two points behind second-placed Man City.

Potter: We must heal our wounds.

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Chelsea manager Graham Potter has said his side are in bad shape and need to regroup after the World Cup following their loss to Newcastle.

Chelsea manager Graham Potter:

“It didn’t start well, losing Ruben [Loftus-Cheek] early. Azpi was also in trouble at half-time.

“In the first half, there were too many unforced errors. When we had the ball, we were missing that last element.

“Newcastle are playing with huge intensity, they are in a moment of confidence. You can see the difference between the two teams in terms of schedules.

Chelsea’s sluggishness lacks threat

Chelsea had just seven touches in the penalty area in this game, their fewest in a Premier League game since January against Man City (7).

“In terms of running power and intensity, it was a challenge for us. It was a relatively close game, to be honest, but Newcastle put you under pressure.

“It was a tough game. We had to make some changes because they were a bit overtaking us. We added some extra body in midfield. We made an effort with Conor [Gallagher].

“We tried but in the end we didn’t have the quality to score the goal we needed. We have to do more. Eddie is doing brilliantly. It’s not nice for us, we have to bandage our injuries. We’ll take advantage of the break to recharge.”

Howe: Willock provided a “magical moment”

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Newcastle manager Eddie Howe says there is more to come from his side after a fine win over Chelsea.

Newcastle manager Eddie Howe:

“Very good performance. We pressed really well. Our energy and fitness levels were in a different class. We executed everything with precision. We are very proud tonight.

“I felt a goal was there for us. There wasn’t much mouth action. It was going to be a moment. That moment of magic came from Joe Willock.

“Pseudo [Pope] comes in big moments. He wasn’t overworked. I don’t think we’re looking to set any markers, it’s just one more step for us. We were more than a game for Chelsea.

Analysis: Chelsea lacks identity under Potter

Laura Hunter from Sky Sports:

“Newcastle will be in the Premier League’s top three at Christmas for the first time since 2001-02, when they were at the top of the tree on Christmas Day. Chelsea, however, fell below Brighton, having played one game what’s more.

“Potter must be feeling the pressure. It’s hard to decipher exactly what a Chelsea team looks like under the former Seagulls boss.

“Forwarders as full-backs, central midfielders as makeshift wingers – it all looks a bit hopeless. It certainly seems unbalanced. Gallagher gave a less-than-convincing take on the wing-back position after the loss of Loftus-Cheek through injury today.

“‘Potter doesn’t know his best team,’ Sky Sports’ Paul Merson said this week.

“Performances are scrappy, helped little by a series of injuries to key players – Cesar Azpilicueta was also sent off. But, still, there’s no plan B left.

“When Joe Willock struck a lavish opener, with more than 20 minutes to go, you felt the result was almost inevitable. Will Newcastle eventually replace Chelsea in the Champions League this season? It’s a real possibility.

“If the England vacancy opened up after the Winter World Cup in Qatar – with many suggesting this will be Gareth Southgate’s last hurrah at a major tournament – it will be Eddie Howe’s name presented as the most likely successor, not Potter’s.”

Man of the Match – Joe Willock

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Joe Willock’s fine finish from the edge of the box puts Newcastle 1-0 up against Chelsea.

Joe Willock has scored in back-to-back Premier League appearances for Newcastle for the second time this calendar year, previously in February. His final strike was the first of his 13 league goals to come from outside the box.

And after?

chelsea host Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on December 27 at 5:30 p.m. after the World Cup break as Leicester host Newcastle the same day at 3 p.m.

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