Who needs names like Lukaku, Pulisic, Werner, and Mount when you have Reece James?
The English right back scored two sensational goals to help Chelsea to a straight-forward 3-0 win over an uninspired Newcastle United despite a lively crowd pushing the Magpies at St. James’ Park on Saturday.
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With three forwards injured and a playmaker, Mount, sick, Chelsea took over an hour to find its finishing boots but was rarely worried of conceding a goal.
The Blues lead drawing Liverpool by three points and losing Man City by five points atop the PL table, while Newcastle falls to 0W-4D-6L and is four points behind 18th-place Leeds and 17th-place Burnley. Oops.
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Newcastle vs Chelsea final score, stats
Final score: Chelsea 3, Newcastle United 0
Scorers: James 2 (65′, 77′), Jorginho (81′ penalty)
Shot attempts: Chelsea, 19-6
Shots on goal: Chelsea, 6-1
Possession: Chelsea, 79%
Three things we learned from Newcastle vs Chelsea
1. Injuries, early wastefulness should worry Chelsea: Mason Mount fell ill before the game and that meant Chelsea would be down four key attachers with Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, and Christian Pulisic already out of the lineup.
And the truth is that the Blues still had plenty of chances but just couldn’t make it easy on themselves by scoring and forcing Newcastle to choose a route other than packed-in. The danger going forward, even with Christian Pulisic coming back soon, is that Chelsea’s danger going forward is going to involve some very tired players in Callum Hudson-Odoi, Kai Havertz, and Ziyech.
2. Blues should also be thankful for opponent: Interim boss Graeme Jones said earlier this week that Newcastle doesn’t need big changes in January, and thank goodness Newcastle’s new owners are unlikely to buy that due to, well, everything: Stats, the eye test, results. The Magpies have some good attacking pieces in Callum Wilson, Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron, and Joe Willock — two of whom Jones has kept on the bench to start games in his short tenure — but their midfield is problematic and their left side — Matt Ritchie and Ryan Fraser — a whole bunch of nothing in defense. Good luck, Graeme: Brighton away is next before the international break, and the game might look similar to this one.
3. Man of the Match is Reece James: Who else could it be? The right back has come alive and looks — yes, Liverpool fans — like the most complete right back in England (and the Three Lions aren’t starved for choice). Both of his goals were sensational strikes.
Newcastle vs Chelsea recap
Ryan Fraser could’ve and maybe should’ve had Newcastle ahead as the Scot made his second start of the season.
Sprung into the left side of the box in the second minute, Fraser’s cross into the box was too hard or too forward for Callum Wilson or Sean Longstaff to turn into the goal.
But it was all Chelsea the rest of the first half, as Longstaff was one of several Newcastle players to block powerful shots.
Chelsea was also pretty wasteful, as Ziyech will have wanted several assists but also missed a would-be goal. Kai Havertz and Ben Chilwell probably should’ve had the Blues up at least 1-0 at the break.
A funny thing happened on the way to Chelsea’s seemingly unavoidable break through, and that was Newcastle finding some danger on the counter through Allan Saint-Maximin (no surprise).