It’s back to the drawing board for Mauricio Pochettino once again. In an embarrassing display at St James’ Park, Chelsea have lost their first game back from the international break 4-1 against Newcastle. The first half spelled the first signs of a tough game ahead for the West Londoners. The home side scored the first goal of the encounter, as a defensive lapse from Marc Cucurella left Robert Sanchez alone against a strike from Alexander Isak. Luckily for the Blues, another moment of individual brilliance from Raheem Sterling through a stunning freekick brought the Blues back level before halftime.
The second half is where Chelsea truly lost the game. Firstly, conceding a goal from a set piece after breaking down defensively once again to allow Magpies captain Jamaal Lascelles a free run at a header into Sanchez’s goal. The Manchester City and Tottenham games proved the Blues could overcome one-goal deficits and do so emphatically. However, everything that could’ve went wrong today for Chelsea did. A rare error from Thiago Silva in his first match as CFC’s oldest ever outfield player caused him to the lose the ball in his own half. The error gifted Joelinton the opportunity that put Newcastle up 3-1. Surely it couldn’t get any worse for the Blues right? Captain Reece James was then sent off in the 73rd minute for picking up a second yellow card, summarizing the entire team’s lack of maturity in this game. Chelsea’s fate was then sealed when Anthony Gordon scored 10 minutes later to make it 4-1 for Newcastle.
Here are 3 Blues who let the side down in Chelsea vs Newcastle.
Dishonorable mentions: Benoit Badiashile and Thiago Silva
1. Reece James
Prior to being sent off in the 73rd, Reece James was actually one of Chelsea’s best players on the pitch. The captain’s overlaps and progressive runs on the right side were consistently one of the Blues’ few sources of attacking threat. Defensively, most of the trouble occurred away from James on the left side of the Chels’ defense. However, as the leader of the club on the pitch, you cannot be sent off in a game of this magnitude.
The first yellow card he picked up for kicking the ball away in contest of a foul call on Conor Gallagher was unnecessary. Knowing he was on a yellow, the tug on Anthony Gordon after the Newcastle man had already beaten him to the ball is irresponsible. At 3-1, the way back into the game for Chelsea certainly would’ve been difficult. By bringing his men down to ten, Reece James made that task practically impossible for Chelsea. The Blues will now be without their captain in their next league fixture against Brighton.