Reece James was the only positive for Chelsea as they were defeated 1-0 by Newcastle United at the St. James’ Park on Saturday evening.
Chelsea threw away a great chance to close down the gap to third-placed Leicester City as they were beaten 1-0 by Newcastle United at the St. James’ Park.
In what was a tightly contested game, Chelsea lacked the killer instinct in the final third against an organised and disciplined Newcastle defence. Having managed to hold off Frank Lampard’s men till the final minute, the Magpies struck the killer blow in the 94th minute, with Isaac Hayden heading past Kepa Arrizabalaga to steal three points.
And here’s how we rated the performances of the Chelsea stars in what was a disappointing outing at the St. James’ Park.
Kepa Arrizabalaga: 5/10
The world’s most expensive goalkeeper had little to do for most of the game, with Newcastle rarely threatening the Chelsea goal. However, when needed, Kepa failed to step up as he could have done better to stop Hayden’s late header that won the game for Newcastle.
Reece James: 8/10
Having signed a new contract, the youngster celebrated it with a fine performance. Solid against the dangerous Allan Saint-Maximin, James also provided an outlet down the right flank for Chelsea, with his brilliant pass to send N’Golo Kante through on goal in the first half being a standout moment.
Limped off the field in the 75th minute, which will be a cause of concern for Lampard and Chelsea.
Reece James (20) Stats Against Newcastle
Accurate passes 81%
Aerial duels (won) 1
Ground duels (won) 6
Dribbles 1#Chelsea #ChelseaFC #PremierLeagueNaESPN #footballindex pic.twitter.com/nJIcNBKbai
— Football Talents Detection (@fbtalents1) January 18, 2020
Antonio Rudiger: 5/10
The German international had had a fairly straightforward outing for large phases of the game, although there were times when he was sluggish in possession. Much like Kepa, he too failed to rise to the occasion in the key moment as he completely lost Isaac Hayden for the late goal that cost Chelsea the game.
Andreas Christensen: 7/10
Another fairly solid performance from the Austrian who is making the most of the opportunities being afforded after a slow start to the season. Involved in a physical battle against the imposing Joelinton and came out on top with flying colours, winning more than 85% of his aerial duels on the evening. Will be disappointed not to have kept a clean sheet his performance deserved.
Cesar Azpilicueta: 5.5/10
The Chelsea skipper had a few problems against Miguel Almiron, with Newcastle threatening on his side at times. However, he improved as the game wore on and was much more solid in the second period. Offered little in the attacking sense though, with his crosses not being up to the mark, which was a downer.
N’Golo Kante: 6/10
Having recovered from a hamstring problem, Kante was ushered back into the starting XI by Lampard and he went about his business with his usual hustle and bustle. Had one of the best chances of the game when sent through by James, but fired his effort straight at the Newcastle keeper.
Worked hard to keep Chelsea pushing forward, but lacked the quality to break open the hosts’ backline.
Saw a lot of the ball, but was unable to use it to great effect and dictate the play as he and his manager would have liked. Tried to find the wide players with his passes regularly, but an organised Newcastle backline meant his attempts bore little fruit on the evening.
Mason Mount: 4/10
Preferred over the likes of Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley, the England international failed to justify his inclusion with a timid and toothless display. Did make a couple of positive forward runs early in the game and had a promising opportunity which he missed.
Faded quickly after that and was the first Chelsea player to be subbed off. Seems to have regressed after a blazing start to the season.
Callum Hudson-Odoi: 5/10
In what was his 50th appearance for Chelsea, the teenage attacker had a couple of promising moments here and there, but misfired for most of the game. There were some positive runs and a couple of nice link-ups with James on the right-side, but Hudson-Odoi lacked the final ball.
Tammy Abraham: 6/10
Worked hard at the top of the Chelsea attack, making a few bright runs. However, Abraham was mostly well-marshaled by the Newcastle defence, restricting his impact in the final third of the pitch. Fired a shot well over the bar in the first half and could not make the most of a couple of half-chances he had in the second. Taken off for Michy Batshuayi in the final stages.
The Brazilian international, who has been linked with Chelsea’s London rivals Tottenham, saw plenty of the ball against Newcastle, but his final ball lacked the quality to hurt the opposition. Had a couple of decent chances on either side of half time, but his efforts were wide off the mark on both occasions. A rather wasteful display from the experienced Chelsea star.
Ross Barkley: 5/10
Replaced Mount for the final twenty minutes or so. Much like the man he came on for, the Englishman failed to make much of an impact despite trying to make things happen.
Emerson Palmieri: 5/10
Came on for the injured James. Did little of note during his time on the field.
Michy Batshuayi: N/A
Late substitute for Abraham, could not impact the game.