Football Features

‘Lampard’s new creator-in-chief does it again’ – Five things learned from Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle

By Harry Edwards

Published: 17:17, 19 October 2019

Chelsea continued their good run in the Premier League thanks to a 1-0 win over Newcastle United.

Marcos Alonso scored the only goal of the game in the second half to send Chelsea temporarily third in the table.

So, what did we learn?

1. Hudson-Odoi’s sensational return continues

Less than a year ago, Callum Hudson-Odoi looked like he could be on his way out of Stamford Bridge. The teenager was frustrated with his lack of playing time under Maurizio Sarri and was subject to serious interest from Bayern Munich, going as far as handing in a transfer request.

But Chelsea held firm and Sarri gave Hudson-Odoi more opportunities as the season went on, before an ankle injury ruled him out until September.

Since that return, Hudson-Odoi has been excellent in brief spells for Chelsea, earning his second Premier League start of the season against Newcastle on Saturday.

The Englishman was a constant thorn in DeAndre Yedlin’s side with his dribbling and passing abilities, creating five chances in 90 minutes – more than any other player on the pitch. And one of those was the telling assist for Marcos Alonso’s winner, where Hudson-Odoi showed good awareness in playing the ball out to the left-back when some might have shot.

It was Hudson-Odoi’s third Premier League assist of the season in just his third game, taking him above his Chelsea teammates as the club’s top creator. Lampard’s faith in him was justified and Christian Pulisic may wonder where he is going to fit into this team.

2. Allan Saint-Maximin is Newcastle’s newest star

Newcastle didn’t offer too much in terms of testing Kepa Arrizabalaga in the Chelsea goal, failing to hit the target at Stamford Bridge, but Allan Saint-Maximin was mesmerising in his attempts to pull his side to glory.

The Frenchman constantly caused Chelsea problems with his dribbling, completing three take-ons inside the opening 15 minutes. Whenever Newcastle were on the attack, Saint-Maximin was the man at the helm.

Unfortunately for Saint-Maximin, his team were put under severe pressure after half-time and hampering his attacking influence and he was eventually taken off for Dwight Gayle having worked his socks off.

3. Marcos Alonso shows both sides of his game

Alonso continued at left-back for Chelsea in the absence of Emerson and got the crucial winner to help Lampard’s side keep their winning run going.

It was a well-taken finish that harked back to Alonso’s performances as a wing-back under Antonio Conte but slightly glossed over an indifferent performance.

The Spaniard didn’t have the best game defensively, up against the exciting Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron, leaving space open – something many Chelsea fans will have grown used to.

Alonso also confirmed there remains a certain rashness in his locker. Frustrated by not winning a foul inside this own half, the Spaniard swiped at DeAndre Yedlin and earned himself a yellow card. But such was the nature of his tackle that it went to VAR to be checked for a possible red card.

Alonso was let off, but it showed weaknesses are still there for the left-back.

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4. Newcastle’s defence provides hope

In their previous Premier League outing, Newcastle were excellent defensively to keep a clean sheet against Manchester United. Saturday was set to be a different challenge for the Magpies, however, with Chelsea the third-highest scorers in the Premier League.

But that did not bother Newcastle’s back six, who had another wonderful game despite the defeat, frustrating Chelsea’s attack and keeping Premier League top scorer Tammy Abraham particularly quiet.

As a unit, Newcastle’s defenders made a massive 29 clearances with all three centre-backs – Ciaran Clark, Fabian Schar and Jamaal Lascelles – recording six each. Schar and Clark blocked two efforts each while Lascelles won four aerial duels.

Then there was Yedlin’s marvellous intervention to deny Abraham an open goal, not to mention Martin Dubravka’s six saves.

Though their hard work was ultimately in vain, Newcastle’s defence proved they can be relied upon after their 5-0 thrashing by Leicester. Now, Steve Bruce just needs to work on the attack.

5. Frank Lampard wins five in a row for the first time

They were made to work hard for it, but Chelsea have now won five games in a row across all competitions and look far from the side that was beaten 4-0 by Manchester United in the opening game of the season.

It came through just Chelsea’s second home league win of the season at the fifth attempt, following two draws and one defeat, ensuring Blues fans went home happy.

The run is the first time Lampard has won five games in a row as a manager, with his previous best of four having been achieved early in his reign at Derby County last season.

An added bonus for the club was that Kepa Arrizabalaga kept just Chelsea’s second clean sheet of the season across all competitions, though he had a very quiet afternoon.

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