Newcastle’s listless start against Chelsea did not befit a team just one spot above 18th in the table and heading for a relegation fray. There needed to be a sense of urgency from the opening whistle but Newcastle came out of the gate with an air of complacency.
A struggle against the in-form Blues was likely in the cards no matter what, but the difference in approach for the second half made the first 45 minutes all the more unforgivable.
Jamaal Lascelles returned after missing the last two matches to captain the team last night. Lascelles made an early goal-saving tackle on Tammy Abraham, which after the match Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel labeled as reckless saying:
“He risks too much of an injury of the opponent and, for me, it’s a foul because of that. It’s reckless but it was not to criticize. It was just to discuss with the fourth official.”
So what is Jamaal supposed to do, just let Abraham have an unobstructed shot on goal?
It was good to have the captain back but in the end, it didn’t alter the outcome as some poor defending led to two Chelsea strikes in the first half. That proved to be all they needed despite the improved second half from Newcastle.
Lascelles was interviewed after the game and he was disappointed with the Magpies’ start saying they needed to be nastier. This is what he said as published in The Chronicle.
“I just think we did not start well enough.
“From our goal-kick, we kicked it out for a throw-in and that set the tone.
“We need to realize we shouldn’t need to go one or two down to get going.
“We were off them a bit and made it easy.
“Against a team like Chelsea you have to be nasty and if you don’t do that their quality will come through.”
Newcastle’s next match is on Sunday at Old Trafford. The table could shift dramatically by then with Fulham to play twice prior to kickoff. The following day is also one to watch as Brighton host Crystal Palace.
We once again have to keep our eyes on the teams around us but Newcastle still have their fate in their hands. But it’s going to take consistency and wins for that to remain the case much longer.