Newcastle enters World Cup break in third after home win over Chelsea
Joe Willock’s 67th-minute goal gave Newcastle a deserved lead en route to a 1-0 win over Chelsea at St. James’ Park on Saturday.
The Magpies become the third club to 30 points in the 2022-23 Premier League season, although they’ve played one more match than Man City (32 points), and two more than Arsenal (34, with a match coming up at 2:45pm ET Saturday).
Chelsea dips into eighth place with its 21 points, passed by Liverpool on Saturday. The Blues’ goal differential is now an even 0 after 14 games.
The win is Newcastle’s fifth-straight, part of a 11-match unbeaten run across all competitions that has fans remembering European nights that left town well over a decade ago.
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What we learned from Newcastle vs Chelsea
Newcastle going Bonnie Raitt on the Premier League: The Magpies look so, so, so good right now and their place in the top-four chase is completely deserved. The fact that this is happening with so many contributors who were in the Newcastle side before the Saudi Arabian takeover is a real high-five to Eddie Howe, who has Joelinton, Miguel Almiron, Fabian Schar, and Joe Willock playing at career-bests. While new additions Bruno Guimares, Sven Botman, and Nick Pope have been sensational and the result of “new money,” the Magpies are recalling the spirit of Bonnie Raitt’s “Something to Talk About” after reading so many stories about how their new wealth will inevitably make them a European power---> “Now that we know it, let’s really show it, darlin’.” Newcastle’s arrived ahead of schedule as a major player and achieving a Champions League place this season would show what many supporters knew was hibernating underneath previous owner Mike Ashley’s sleepy pursestrings: a northern giant.
Pulisic changes the game for a bit as super sub in final World Cup warm-up: The USMNT winger arrived at halftime and invigorated Chelsea’s front line, a common refrain over the past few weeks that begs what it will take for Graham Potter to view Pulisic as what he could be: His next Leandro Trossard. After a few quiet minutes to start the second frame, Pulisic was at the heart of a possession move down the right side that ended with an odd Conor Gallagher touch out for a Newcastle throw. Soon he was back on the ball after a dominant Newcastle run of possession, winning a free kick and a yellow card for Kieran Trippier with a burst of speed. The 65th minute saw Pulisic roasts one man but cannot slip the second as he drives into the box, the ball deflecting back to Chelsea for what becomes a flying Nick Pope save and a corner kick. All-in-all, USMNT fans have every reason to think Pulisic’s headed to Qatar ready to erupt, while Chelsea fans have every reason to think Potter will use the American more after the World Cup break.
Chelsea had tremendous trouble getting behind the Newcastle back line, and it took Christian Pulisic’s insertion at halftime to really make the Magpies worry about what the Blues could do going forward. The Bruno Guimares, Sean Longstaff, and Joe Willock midfield is just so busy even before Joelinton checks in from his role as a winger.
Stars of the show
The World Cup break! Then Newcastle will warm up with a friendly against Rayo Vallecano before hosting Bournemouth in the League Cup’s Round of 16 on Dec. 20. Their next Premier League outing is a Boxing Day affair with Leicester City at St. James’ Park.
Chelsea’s out of the League Cup, so the Blues will meet Bournemouth in their next affair on Dec. 27.
Joe Willock goal video: Screamer set up by Miguel Almiron
How to watch Newcastle vs Chelsea live, stream link and start time
Kick off: 12:30 pm ET, Saturday TV channel: NBC Online: Stream via NBCSports.com
Key storylines & star players
Though Chelsea got through the UEFA Champions League group stage by winning their last four games, results back home in the Premier League have taken a major downturn. Potter was victorious in his first three PL games as Chelsea boss, but the Blues are winless in their last four (0W-2D-2L). Five of Chelsea’s six regular starters in their defensive half — N’Golo Kante, Reece James, Wesley Fofana, Ben Chilwell and Kepa Arrizabalaga, who won the job from Edouard Mendy when he was injured — remain out for Saturday’s game .
On the other side, Newcastle are unbeaten in their last nine Premier League fixtures (6W-3D-0L) and have lost just once all season (to Liverpool). Eddie Howe has created an exciting, free-flowing attacking side (28 goals scored in 14 games, 3rd-most in the PL) that is just as disciplined defensively (11 goals conceded, tied-fewest) as they are brilliant going forward. Recent injuries to stars Aleksander Isak and Allan Saint-Maximin hardly slowed the Magpies, who have won four straight and six of their last seven in the PL, at all.
Newcastle team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: Aleksander Isak (thigh), Ryan Fraser (calf), Matt Ritchie (calf), Emil Krafth (knee), Paul Dummett (calf)
Chelsea team news, injuries, lineup options
OUT: N’Golo Kante (hamstring), Reece James (knee), Wesley Fofana (knee), Kepa Arrizabalaga (foot), Ben Chilwell (hamstring), Carney Chuwuemeka (hamstring) | QUESTIONABLE: Jorginho (foot)