Chelsea FC ended a busy Saturday in the Premier League with a blowout 5 to 1 win over Newcastle United. Of the seven matches that took place, Chelsea’s was the most lopsided of the victories, one that looked to be a shutout until Andros Townsend found the back of the Blues’ net just minutes before the clock ran out.
Unfortunately for Townsend and the rest of the Toon Army, it was too little, too late. A lackadaisical showing by Newcastle’s defense in the first half came at a dear cost. It gave Chelsea a three-point lead the men from Newcastle just could not overcome.
Fans of both clubs were stymied by the end of a match that got off to a promising start. At the five-minute mark, Spanish forward Diego Costa put some English into his footwork as he made a difficult right footer to the bottom left corner with an assist from Chelsea FC midfielder Willian. It was a shot that brought Blues fans to their feet.
They had a lot to celebrate, as Costa’s status was a question mark due to a facial injury he sustained earlier this week. In a report filed on Friday by Jack de Menezes for the Independent, a spokesperson for Chelsea stated that Costa would play while wearing a protective mask. Costa was not the only Blues wearing such curious headgear. Chelsea D-guy Cesar Azpilicueta, who is also healing from injuries where the sun shines and the hurt is intense, was already outfitted with a protective face mask for the match.
By the numbers, a five-point lead might seem unlikely. Chelsea is plagued by injuries and Costa was not the only possible member of the injury reserve society. Saturday was marked as much by who was absent and who was on the pitch. Loic Remy and Alexandre Pato were sidelined at the eleventh hour by interim coach Guus Hiddink. Also there exclusively in spirit were Radamael Facao, who is out indefinitely with a groin pull, and Kurt Zouma, who could spend the next six months getting veal calf treatment for an injury starting with three letters every athlete dreads hearing: ACL.
In spite of the litany of orthopedic woes and the implementation of an interim coach following the departure of former Real Madrid evil genius Jose Mourinho in December of last year, Chelsea continues to show a degree a resilience that is nothing short of remarkable.
So who were the winners and the losers of tonight’s match? Chelsea FC walked away with five goals, giving them a twelve ranking in Barclay’s Premier League. Costa brought enough fireworks to that first goal for Chelsea to make the Magpies ask, “Who was that masked man?” Who else was a hero? I’ll vote for Pedro, who brought home a goal in each half. Gotta love the terrible symmetry of a forward burning bright in his game.
Who lost? Do you have to ask? There is the obvious answer: the guys who went home with a single late-game netter. There were also a couple of players who decided bad attention was better than no attention at all. Steven Taylor and Jonjo Shelvey collected yellow cards the way Kanye West collects celebrity feuds. There’s also Chelsea captain, John Terry, and NUFC’s Daryl Janmaat, both of whom limped off the field. Finally, out of the 42,000 who attended the game, an impressive percentage of those traveled to Stamford Bridge to cheer for Newcastle. That kind of loss had to hurt.
What’s next? Rumor has it Chelsea FC may be within days, if not hours, of hearing if Guus Hiddink will stay as their coach. According to BBC Sport‘s Chris Bevan, the coach has enjoyed a 10-game league-winning streak. Fans are also awaiting word on Terry’s hamstring injury. Losing a captain for the game would be a pain in the posterior. The prospect of his being sidelined and another staff change at the helm might prove to be a blow for the boys in blue. For Chelsea FC, there’s hope that the wins on the pitch reflect their fate in other arenas.
[Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images]