Newcastle fans got a dose of reality in the second half of today’s game against title-chasing Chelsea, after the Blues moved to a higher gear after half time, and ended up comfortable 2-0 winners, after a very even first half, in which Newcastle were slightly the better side.
Chelsea showed just how better a team they are than Newcastle, when they moved to another gear after half time and scored their go ahead goal after 15 minutes of sustained pressure.
Ballack scored another great header and such an important goal, after being picked out from a free kick by Didier Drogba. Yes, the Ivory Coast International makes goals as well.
Ballack seems to make a habit of scoring important goals in his career, and has come good for Chelsea in the second half of the season.
The Newcastle defense was under intense pressure for 15 minutes after half time, but some good defending from the home side, and excellent blocks, particularly from young Steven Taylor has the Magpies hanging on.
Just before Chelsea got their goal John Terry had thundered a header against the cross-bar following a Malouda corner.
Newcastle as usual didn’t give up after going a goal down, and continued to attack Chelsea, but today they only could create half chances, which they didn’t take.
Then Owen just missed getting on the end of a cross, when he seemed to have a gaping goal in which to slot the ball home.
In fact Owen had two half chances in the first half, but Newcastle never had a clean cut chance today, only about 3 half chances, which they failed to take.
While they were the better team in the first half Chelsea woke up after half time and showed the Newcastle crowd just how good they are, and illustrated what Kevin Keegan has been saying for a while – it will take some time to be on the same level as the top four teams.
Oba Martins had a great game and there’s just no way this boy cannot be a prime striker at the club next season. He had an excellent game, and was always a threat to Chelsea, and will have impressed many onlooking managers.
At half time Viduka was withdrawn and Smith came on in Mark’s place, but we badly missed the hold-up play of Viduka, and it’s important that we get someone else this summer who can play the hold up game.
Another forward is needed, to back up Viduka, , who is so important for the team, but is often injured. We wonder whether Smith is good enough for Newcastle next season.
After 82 minutes Chelsea scored a wonderful goal as they passed the ball through midfield and Malouda was sprung clear to push the ball past Steven Harper, who had no chance.
Newcastle played very well today, and can hold their heads high. Steven Taylor was excellent at the back as was big Abdoulaye Faye, and up front Oba Martins was the star man of this Newcastle side.
There’s no way we should let Martins leave Newcastle.
As far as new signings in the summer we suggest we make that at least 6 top-class players, if we are to stand any chance against these top four teams next season.
And we need at least one point against Everton next week, as we are still on 43 points, which is our worst ever points total (last season) in the Premier League.