Mason Mount

Newcastle stuns misfiring Chelsea

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Chelsea couldn’t find a clinical edge and Isaac Hayden scored in stoppage time as Newcastle United beat Chelsea 1-0 at St. James’ Park on Saturday.

The visitors had 70 percent of the ball and a massive edge in shots, but couldn’t capitalize on the few chances they found behind the back line.

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Isaac Hayden powered a header home off a stoppage-time set piece to give the Magpies a shocking win and 29 points, seven clear of the Bottom Three.

Chelsea stays on 39 points, five ahead of fifth-place Manchester United. The Red Devils play Liverpool on Sunday.


Three things we learned

1. Fortunate Magpies get big payoff late: Hayden had not scored in a year and turned Saint-Maximin’s desperate cross of a poorly-cleared corner kick past Kepa Arrizabalaga. A solid if unspectacular midfielder, Hayden has dealt with a lot and might’ve left the Northeast due to family reasons. He’s stayed, Steve Bruce has him confident, and the Magpies have a win against all odds.

2. Newcastle’s low block heroics highlight Chelsea need: Frank Lampard‘s attackers were limited to shots from distance, as Steve Bruce’s men might be even better than they were under Rafa Benitez when asked to defend deep. A lot of this is due to spending on attackers who keep defenders honest, but that doesn’t excuse Tammy Abraham and Callum Hudson-Odoi‘s inability to produce much. The former had Dubravka beaten but failed to find finish on the day.

The defense-first style can be boring to, well, everyone including the home fans and managers loathe when it’s employed against them. But Newcastle has now beaten Chelsea, Spurs, and Manchester United this year, also drawing Man City. The expected goals table says Newcastle is having one of the luckiest seasons on record, but don’t bother the Geordies with that right now.

3. Lampard waits for Abraham: Related to point No. 1, Lampard showed faith that his struggling striker would show up late. After all, the 22-year-old has 13 goals and three assists this year. Abraham got behind the Magpies back line twice and also flicked a ball off the bar, but it was the right move to get Michy Batshuayi out there. Alas, it probably should’ve come before the 80th minute.

Man of the Match: Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernandez were the key parts of the aforementioned low block, and we’d give the honors to Clark. But Hayden, man.


Newcastle loan star Jetro Willems are stretchered off the pitch with his head in his hands are an innocent play out wide, a new worry for the injury-ravaged Magpies.

Then Isaac Hayden pulled up lame after being stretched in a 50-50 with Mason Mount.

The best scoring chance of the early stages came in the 22nd minute, as Kepa Arrizabalaga may have got a finger to Joelinton‘s header off the bar.

Chelsea took hold of the match at the half-hour mark, an offside Tammy Abraham flicking off the bar before Martin Dubravka saved N’Golo Kante’s effort in the 34th.

Newcastle held firm against the attack through five minutes of stoppage time.

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The Magpies opened up a little bit in the second half, and Willian missed a chance to open the scoring in the 53rd.

Cesar Azpilicueta was lively in both halves, and hammered a shot to Dubravka in the 55th.

Newcastle’s physical and aggressive back line held firm, big challenges and clearances from Ciaran Clark and Federico Fernandez on show.

Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin teamed up to tee up Joelinton, but the Brazilian drove his 88th minute shot wide of the goal.

Soon after, Saint-Maximin sent a half-desperation, half-pinpoint cross to the back post for Hayden to turn past Arrizabalaga. Insane.

Pulisic watch: How did USMNT star perform?

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Christian Pulisic was back for his first start in the Premier League since December 14, and the USMNT winger put in a very solid shift for Chelsea at Brighton and Hove Albion on New Year’s Day.

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Pulisic played 66 minutes at left wing for Chelsea at the Amex, as he was replaced by Callum Hudson-Odoi.

After missing the win at Arsenal due to a slight hamstring issue, Pulisic looked fit enough down at Brighton and got plenty of shots away during his time on the pitch, even if he seemed a little rushed in the final third.

Here’s a closer look at how the 21-year-old performed for the Blues.


7th minute: Struggling to get involved and sees some link up play with Jorginho cut out.

9th minute: Picks the ball up out wide, runs inside and passes to Willian on the right flank. That leads to a Reece James cross which is blocked for a corner. From that corner Azpilicueta bundles home to give Chelsea the lead.

14th minute: Surging run forward to help start a Chelsea attack.

24th minute: Takes on two Brighton players and whips a dangerous cross into the box but nobody is close to it.

26th minute: Links up well with Mason Mount who has a cross cleared.

28th minute: His pressure helps Chelsea to win the ball back as Abraham races in on goal.

31st minute: Loses the ball on the halfway line after a poor first touch as Brighton snap into the challenge.

34th minute: Starts to pop up in more central areas with some nice little touches.

36th minute: Works back well and blocks Bissouma’s cross for a corner.

40th minute: Wins a throw in after a good tackle on the wing. Lovely close control to cut inside and is then tackled but no foul is given.

45th minute + 2: Cuts inside and links up well with Kante before firing an effort inches wide of the far post. So close to a goal.

53rd minute: Heads an effort tamely wide at the back post.

54th minute: Dribbles at goal and fires a low effort which Ryan saves,.

55th minute: Cuts inside and squeezes in a shot on goal which trickles a few yards wide.

65th minute: Played in brilliantly by Willian and his low shot is pushed away by Ryan, then his cross is half cleared before James has a shot deflected wide. Great direct running from Pulisic, who then shanks a shot at goal which is cleared and that is his last act of the game as he is subbed off.

Frank Lampard gives him a high five as Callum Hudson-Odoi comes on. Pulisic is wrapped up on the bench and doesn’t look best pleased about being the first Chelsea player subbed off, but who would?

Watch Live: Arsenal v. Chelsea

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Arsenal host Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday (Watch live, 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) in a massive London derby as both teams continue to scrap for a top four finish.

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This will be Mikel Arteta’s first home game in charge of the Gunners and comes after his first game as Arsenal’s new head coach was a draw at Bournemouth on Boxing Day.

Chelssa suffered a disappointing home defeat to Southampton last time out and Frank Lampard’s side have lost five of their last seven as they are hanging on to their spot in the top four by a thread.

In team news Arsenal bring Calum Chambers and Matteo Guendouzi to the lineup, while Chelsea are without the injured Christian Pulisic so Lampard again starts with a 3-4-3 formation as Mason Mount returns to the starting lineup.


LINEUPS

Lampard hits out as Chelsea stunned at home again

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Frank Lampard did not enjoy his Boxing Day. At all.

Chelsea’s manager sat on the bench wearing a glum expression as he watched his side lose 2-0 at home to Southampton on Boxing Day, as once again they came unstuck at home against a team in the bottom half of the table.

The defeat marked the first time Chelsea have lost back-to-back home games in the Premier League since 2011 and plenty of Blues fans were far from happy (understatement alert).

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Speaking to the BBC after the game, Lampard didn’t beat about the bush when dissecting Chelsea’s display as they’ve now lost against West Ham, Bournemouth and Southampton in their last four PL home games.

“Teams are making it difficult here. We are not making enough chances, we were at the beginning of the season. We are being asked a different question at home. At the moment we are not answering them. We do not manage to pick up that final pass,” Lampard said. “Against Tottenham we had space to make runs and today we had none. It changes things. We did not do it right today. I think If at the start of the season we would have been happy where we are. We are good away but we have to make it difficult to come here.”

Chelsea are a young side and there will be growing pains this season. We all knew that and Lampard knows that better than most.

When they went on a six-game winning run in the fall, he was the first person to urge caution. And now that is proving correct as he admitted the players are maybe thinking about their poor home form too much.

“There is more pressure, everyone is talking about it,” Lampard said. “We are not playing like the Chelsea to break them down.”

But it’s not just the players who have to hold their hands up after the defeat against Saints, as Lampard’s decision to stick with the 3-4-3 formation which worked so well at Tottenham on Sunday was a bad one.

He changed it around at half time (Mason Mount replaced Kurt Zouma and Chelsea reverted to a 4-2-3-1 formation) but it was too late by that point. Southampton put in their best display of the season and were clinical, but Chelsea never got going in attack and Lampard will be concerned with their drop off in form which has seen them lose five of their last seven PL games.

Lampard chopped and changed his side as he brought in Callum Hudson-Odoi, who had a shocker, and continued to leave Christian Pulisic on the bench, and the Blues lacked creativity in the final third and like Man United this season, Chelsea struggle to break down teams who sit back and defend and do better against the big clubs who allow them space on the counter to attack.

With the January transfer window just around the corner and Chelsea now able to buy players after their transfer ban was lifted, he can bring in new recruits in defense, especially at full back. It may also not be too far off the mark to suggest that Chelsea’s ability to bring in new faces in the next few weeks could have unsettled their settled young side who believed they would be getting a full season to bed in together.

If Chelsea want to keep the top four hopes intact Lampard needs to galvanize the group and improve their defensive shape. Next up they face Arsenal on Sunday (Watch live, 9 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) which will probably suit them better than playing teams in the bottom half of the table. Lampard will want a response and given the topsy-turvy nature of his team this season, they will probably hammer the Gunners.

Southampton shock Chelsea

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Southampton shocked Chelsea by winning 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Boxing Day as Frank Lampard‘s Blues continued their Jekyll and Hyde form.

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After winning at top four rivals Tottenham last time out, Chelsea were sluggish against Saints and were punished as Michael Obafemi and Nathan Redmond scored in each half to lead Ralph Hasenhuttl‘s side to a big victory.

With the win Southampton move on to 21 points, while Chelsea stay on 32 points.

The defeat marked the first time Chelsea have lost back-to-back home games in the Premier League since 2011.


3 things we learned

1. 3-4-3 not the way forward for Chelsea: Frank Lampard stuck with the 3-4-3 formation which worked so well at Spurs on Sunday, but it was a surprise he went with it at home against Southampton. Chelsea have now lost 2-0 to Saints and 1-0 against West Ham and Bournemouth in their last four home games at Stamford Bridge and their young team has been a little naive. Lampard’s admission that they will be in the transfer market in January seems to have unsettled some of his players as their transfer ban is now over.

2. Saints alive and kicking: Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have now won four of their last six games but this was the most impressive victory of the lot. Away from home against Chelsea, Saints took the game to the Blues and their high-pressing style unnerved Chelsea. Danny Ings, their leading goalscorer, was left out and the young forward duo of Che Adams and Michael Obafemi delivered with grit and the latter with a fine goal. This was Southampton’s first clean sheet in 14 games and back-to-back wins have taken them from the relegation zone to eyeing a top 10 finish. There is still a long season ahead but Saints have finally got going.

3. Pulisic’s lack of game time concerning: When USMNT winger Pulisic didn’t start against Spurs on Sunday we assumed he was being rested to play against Southampton. He came on for the final 25 minutes and did well, winning free kicks and firing just wide, and you have to imagine he will start against Arsenal on Sunday. If he doesn’t that will be even more concerning.

Man of the Match: Jack Stephens – Won the battle against Tammy Abraham and he led the Southampton defense calmly. What a turnaround in his career over the last few months.


Early on Southampton were comfortable enough without having a clear chance on goal and the first big chance of the game came to Chelsea.

Callum Hudson-Odoi‘s shot was deflected wide by Jack Stephens and from the resulting corner Fikayo Tomori headed straight at Alex McCarthy.

Saints frustrated Chelsea in the first half and then took the lead as 19-year-old Obafemi turned, settled himself and curled home a stunner into the top corner.

Cesar Azpilicueta’s flick at the near post from a corner almost snuck in as McCarthy tipped the ball away.

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Mason Mount came on at half time for Kurt Zouma as Chelsea switched their formation to a 4-2-3-1 and Tammy Abraham slammed a shot into the side-netting from close range.

At the other end Nathan Redmond broke free and crossed for Che Adams but Tomori cleared superbly at the back post.

Redmond then spurned a great chance as he was clean through but Kepa saved down low.

USMNT’s Christian Pulisic came on for the final 25 minutes to try and salvage something for Chelsea but then Southampton killed the game off.

A break found Redmond and he calmly dinked over Kepa and in to seal a shock win for Southampton at Stamford Bridge.