GOAL! Newcastle United 1-0 Chelsea (Hayden 90 4)
Ritchie’s corner is appalling, cleared easily by first man Willian, who heads upfield. But Saint-Maximin curls one back in from a deep position on the left. Hayden rises highest at the far post and heads powerfully down. Kepa can’t parry, and Newcastle have snatched all three points at the death!
90 min 3: Steve Bruce prowls the touchline. He’ll be pleased with his side’s resolve in defence. He might be even happier if Newcastle can snatch a dramatic late goal … because Joelinton has just won a corner with a bustle down the left. They couldn’t, could they?
90 min 2: Kante tries to slip Barkley into the Newcastle box with a sliderule pass down the middle, but Lascelles is on point to clear.
90 min 1: Hudson-Odoi drops a shoulder and glides infield from his beat on the left. He tries to plant a curler into the top right, but gets far too much on it and the ball sails into the stand behind.
90 min: “This is what we are reduced to,” writes this MBM’s co-author Mary Waltz. “A RADA rejection audition of a wounded soldier.” Do you think Mary is looking forward to the four added minutes?
88 min: Some rare quality in attack from Newcastle, as Almiron puts his foot on the ball 30 yards from goal. He sizes up the options and dinks a ball left for Saint-Maximin, who cushions it down for Joelinton. Newcastle’s number nine snatches at his shot, sending it sailing wide left. Kepa should have been called into action, at the very least.
86 min: Barkley feeds Hudson-Odoi down the left. Hudson-Odoi wins a corner and takes it himself. Emerson, in the middle of the mixer, cocks his leg back to shoot … but at the last second the ball is clattered clear by Sean Longstaff. Newcastle are hanging on a little here.
85 min: Matty Longstaff comes on for Shelvey.
84 min: From the set piece, Emerson twists and turns just inside the Newcastle box. Sean Longstaff sticks out a leg. Emerson runs into it deliberately and flops over. No penalty, though, the referee deciding it was a dive. Emerson goes in the book.
83 min: Emerson sends a rising screamer towards the top right. It’s deflected out for a corner by Fernandez. Chelsea are getting closer and closer.
82 min: Hudson-Odoi, out on the left, nearly finds Batshuayi at the far post. An inch or two too high.
80 min: That’s Abraham’s last contribution. He’s replaced by Batshuayi.
79 min: Jorginho crosses from the left. Azpilicueta rises to win a header at the far post. Abraham, in the middle, hooks past Dubravka. The ball bounces slowly towards the net. But it won’t go in, because Ritchie tracks back to hook clear. Dubravka might have got a piece of Abraham’s effort, in fact, allowing Ritchie to perform his heroics.
77 min: James, having picked up his injury on the far side of the field, is at least able to make his own way back round the pitch to the dugouts. “At my advanced age seething isn’t an option,” replies Mary Waltz. “Sliding into a quiet depression is more accurate.”
75 min: At the next break in play, Chelsea replace James with Emerson. Then they win a corner down the left. Hudson-Odoi takes, but it’s no good.
74 min: Poor James is in the wars. Now he goes down holding his leg. Having left the pitch, he tries to roll back on for treatment, but the referee wants the game to continue and orders him back off. Chelsea aren’t happy about it, but this is how it’s going to be.
73 min: Jorginho and Barkley one-two their way down the left. Sean Longstaff tries to break up the move, only to prod the ball down the channel towards his own goal, and straight to Abraham, who rounds Dubravka on the outside … before slicing a poor effort into the side netting.
72 min: Good news, as James is good to continue. His first post-recovery act is an overhit cross from the right that flies out of play on the other side of the field. Chelsea are just glad to see him back.
71 min: As James receives treatment, Sean Longstaff comes on for Emil Krafth.
70 min: James writhes in agony, having landed awkwardly on his arm after a non-event of a challenge in the middle of the park. Not sure whether he’s hurt his elbow or jarred his shoulder. He called for the physio immediately. His captain Azpilicueta stands over him with a concerned look on his face.
68 min: Chelsea make their first change of the evening, hooking a below-par Mason Mount and replacing him with Ross Barkley.
66 min: More low-quality wizardry. Nothing is coming off. Mary Waltz will be seething by now.
64 min: Hudson-Odoi takes a corner out on the right, and flies it over a crowded box. Newcastle try to spring upfield through Saint-Maximin, but the move breaks down quickly enough. These impotent attacks continue to cause Mary Waltz great discomfort. In an email with the subject heading Bad Magic, she writes: “When either side approaches the penalty box all their skills seem to be removed from their bodies.”
62 min: Hudson-Odoi dribbles in from the right in style. Just as he begins to think about pulling the trigger, Clark executes the perfect slide tackle to put a stop to his gallop. The crowd enjoyed that, and why not? A satisfying crunch wonderfully timed.
60 min: Some staunch work by Joelinton, who bustles his way up the left flank and moves infield. He eventually gives up possession to his team-mate Shelvey, who tries his luck from 30 yards. His luck’s not in. Chelsea go up the other end, Hudson-Odoi working his way down the right and pulling back for Abraham, who hooks over harmlessly.
58 min: Kante has a whack from the best part of 30 yards, sending a bobbler towards the bottom left. It’s meat and drink for Dubravka.
56 min: Mount works his way down the inside-left channel and is unceremoniously flipped into the air by Hayden. In the book you go, sir. A free kick in a very dangerous position, 25 yards out. Chelsea work a routine, and make a total hash of it, Jorginho clipping a ball down the inside-right channel to absolutely nobody. The ball trundles apologetically out for a goal kick.
55 min: Willian glides in from the left. He feeds Jorginho, who shuttles the ball further infield for Azpilicueta. Chelsea’s captain slaps a shot towards the bottom left from the edge of the box. Dubravka is behind it all the way.
53 min: Newcastle fling a few men upfield, and are nearly caught out on the counter, hoist by their own petard. Chelsea sling a long ball up the right. Abraham turns and feeds Willian, who drifts towards the left of the D before dragging a weak shot across goal and out on the right. He should have worked Dubravka at the very least.
52 min: There really isn’t much going on right now. Mary Waltz is not impressed: “Is the field icy? Does the ball have corners?”
50 min: Space for Ritchie out on the left. But there’s nobody making a move, and he’s forced to turn tail. It’s all a bit slow from Newcastle.
48 min: The early signs suggest Willian is just fine. He skedaddles in from the left wing, slipping past two men and shooting from the edge of the box. His effort is blocked, but there didn’t appear to be any problem with his movement there.
47 min: All very scrappy at the start of the second half. St James’ Park is a quiet place as a result.
We’re off again! Newcastle get the second half underway. Willian was holding his groin as he walked off for half-time, and he was doing the same just before kick-off now. Pedro has been out warming up, but Willian’s good to continue. For now.
HALF TIME: Newcastle United 0-0 Chelsea
And that’s your lot for the first
50 minutes. Not a classic yet, but eventful enough. Chelsea have dominated, but it’s Newcastle who have come closest to scoring, Joelinton smashing a McDonald/Shearer/Carroll-esque header off the crossbar.
45 min 5: The home crowd accuse the referee of ineptitude via the medium of song, but that was the correct decision, and VAR would have spotted it anyway.
45 min 4: Joelinton has the ball in the net, Ritchie having taken a quick free kick from the centre circle with Chelsea light at the back. The striker raced free down the right, and slapped the ball past Kepa, but Chelsea had stopped playing because the referee had noticed the ball was rolling when Ritchie took the set piece, and whistled accordingly.
45 min 3: Some pinball in the Newcastle box, instigated by Azpilicueta’s low left-wing cross. Willian nearly gets a chance to shoot. Instead, Ritchie hooks hysterically over the bar. Hudson-Odoi’s resulting corner is no good.
45 min 2: Willian sashays in from the left, then feeds Azpilicueta on the overlap. Corner. Mount takes, and it’s easily snaffled by Dubravka.
45 min: There will be five added minutes, a result of the Willems injury.
44 min: Mount whips a low free kick towards the bottom right, but can’t get past the Newcastle wall. Not great. The resulting deflection does earn a corner, mind … but that particular set piece is easily cleared by the home defence. Chelsea come back at Newcastle, but there’s more misery for Mount as he slips while crossing from the left. Shank! Goal kick.
42 min: Almiron clumsily runs into the back of Jorginho, 25 yards out, just to the right of centre. A free kick in a very promising position for the visitors.
40 min: Hudson-Odoi finds Mount, 12 yards out, with a cross from the right flank. Mount slaps a header harmlessly over. Both sides have had their chances.
39 min: James drops a shoulder to diddle Ritchie down the right. His cross hits the first man, but top marks for the way the young full-back earned himself the space and right to do so, even if the final product was uncharacteristically lacking this time.
38 min: A free kick for Newcastle out on the right. Shelvey swings it in from deep. Fernandez rises highest, but can’t keep his header from six yards down.