After numerous opportunities which weren’t being taken, Alonso’s shot in the 73rd minute ended up in the back of the net to hand Chelsea their fifth victory in a row, and our second clean sheet of the season. Here are your player ratings, brought to you by The Chelsea Echo:
Kepa – 7:
Kepa did not have much to do at all this game. He only had to collect one or two crosses and also punch out a couple set pieces, but other than that there was no real work for Kepa.
He didn’t need to do any work due to how deep Newcastle were sitting and how quickly they were getting back into position after they lost the ball. The absence of the high line meant that they were not playing in behind the Chelsea defenders, therefore the midfield managed to recover and steal the ball off the Newcastle forwards in the middle of the pitch.
His goalkeeper distribution was always brilliant, both from his feet and his hands. A clean sheet too, which is always very encouraging.
Alonso – 7:
In the first half, he definitely struggled. He picked up a yellow card after a rash challenge, and the Spaniard on a booking is always very worrying for Chelsea fans as it would not be surprising to see him leave the pitch.
With continuous torment by the Newcastle fans against him, but he stayed strong and didn’t let them affect him mentally like it has done before.
At times he was playing as a Left Wing-Back, and that’s where he is definitely the strongest. This tactical decision to play him higher up the pitch lead to his goal.
Now the question is whether he will start on Wednesday against Ajax after Emerson’s return, but Marcos’ recent performances has certainly impressed the Chelsea fanbase.
Tomori & Zouma – 6:
I’ve put these players together because they had very similar performances. They certainly were nowhere near their best, with them losing the ball frequently and being sloppy at the back on numerous occasions.
Zouma had a nightmare when Jorginho played a lofted ball towards him and his mistouch sent Newcastle on a deadly break and we were lucky to get away with it.
This occurred a couple times when Tomori got caught being pushed up the pitch too many times, and as Alonso is not quick enough to get back, it left huge spaces in behind with a 3v2 situation.
A clinical Newcastle could’ve scored today, but in the end so could have Chelsea. It will be interesting to see if Rudiger plays against Ajax in a couple days time, but I suspect these two defenders will start and they must have a better performance.
Azpilicueta – 5:
There is no doubt that what Dave has provided to this club in terms of professionalism and consistency may never be matched again, but his time is slowly starting to come to an end.
So many times when he received the ball from Zouma, he would be returning it straight back to him and would just destroy any chance of an attack. He isn’t comfortable with a man in front of him and the only time we get crosses in the box from the right hand side is from an overlap.
One clear example was when Kepa threw the ball out to Azpilicueta in the first half, but his lack of pace and confidence meant that he passed it all the way back and Newcastle were able to regain their positions.
We certainly do not want his career at Chelsea to end in any way similar to Ivanovic’s, so I certainly would not be surprised if he starts to play less and less as the season goes on and on.
Jorginho – 9:
Once again, the man who has risen from one of the most hated players in Stamford Bridge to a fan favourite performed absolutely brilliantly today.
He was distributing the ball around with so much confidence, and the passing range he showed was reminiscent of Fabregas’ time at Chelsea. Constant balls in behind for Mount, Hudson-Odoi or Alonso to run onto, and created so many chances.
Defensively he was strong too, and he looked much better with Kovacic next to him in comparison to Barkley, where he was able to play 1-2’s in the midfield for Kovacic to drive forward.
He’s on four yellow cards in the Premier League, so another yellow card in the next two months would give him a one game suspension, and to be honest that’s the only way he’s getting dropped at the moment.
Barkley – 5:
To be fair to him, he had to come off the pitch in the 40th minute or so due to an injury which he picked up in the first few minutes of the game.
Barely got the ball and didn’t want to move into positions, and when he did get the ball he gave it away and gave Newcastle the opportunity to run forward.
He certainly needs to start taking his chances soon otherwise we may seem him dropped out of the whole squad, let alone the starting eleven.
Mount – 6:
Not a great game by Mount, but he was trying.
He was trying to get into good positions behind the defence as well as dropping deep to get onto the ball, but could not create too much and the Newcastle midfield was too strong for him at times.
He also should have scored a big opportunity in the first half, but his shot from inside the box was straight at the keeper, and with even a bit of direction it would have been in the back of the net.
We could see him rested against Ajax as he has played a lot of football so far in the season, but he can still keep his head high.
Hudson-Odoi – 9:
Still worried about the wages he’s getting? Still don’t want him to sign the contract because he doesn’t love the club?
Well, if he puts in shifts like that every single game I would not care the slightest bit. At 18 years old, that was an absolutely outstanding performance. If he was 27 years old, it would have been an absolutely outstanding performance.
His passing was spot on today, with him switching the ball a lot to Willian after the worried Newcastle players all hustled around the English international.
He was full of confidence and was not afraid to take on his man, and also put in some delightful crosses with his trademark right footed cross which teases the opposition defenders. Probably could have had about four assists today.
A goal will come to for Hudson-Odoi in the Premier League, it’s coming. What a special special player. I know there’s this debate on Twitter going on at the moment, but for me he’s generational.
Willian – 8:
Willian is a player who I have criticised over the last few years, A LOT. You’d just have to follow me on Twitter to find out (@acparee – cheeky plug).
He had a quiet game around the middle, especially in comparison to the other attacking players, but when we needed a player to drive forward with the ball from deep he certainly turned up.
Constantly he was playing the ball out wide and trying to linkup as much as possible, and you have to wonder that if he was better goal contribution wise we would have had a special player in our hands.
He looks like a different player under Frank Lampard, and I just hope that he can gain some consistency which he has not done over the last few years and that this isn’t just another one of his good patches which he gives once a season.
Abraham – 7:
Probably could have had a hat-trick today, and the fact that he didn’t get onto the scoresheet was certainly disappointing.
He hit the crossbar from a corner, he hit one over the bar from another, and he missed an ‘open goal’ after Yedlin’s incredible block to stop Abraham’s tap-in.
The best part is though, his movement and confidence and ability is allowing him to get into great positions and he’s improving every game. Let’s just hope he can help us against Ajax in midweek and score another in the Champions League like he did against Lille.
Kovacic – 9:
There were question marks over why he was not starting today, and rightly so. What a brilliant game from the Croatian.
His substitution unquestionably changed the game and it certainly made you wonder as to what Barkley actually offers to this team. Kovacic drove forward with the ball multiple times and was the proper link between the defence and the attack, creating many chances which should have eventually ended in the back of the net.
When he came on the pitch we switched between the 4-2-3-1 and the 4-3-3 formations many times during the game due to his flexibility, and this lead to the Newcastle midfield finding it hard to track our players and their movement off the ball.
With Barkley and Kante lacking some match fitness, he HAS to start against Ajax and if he can match today’s performance it could single handedly win us the game like it did today.
Pulisic – 8:
Pulisic has received a lot of love from Chelsea fans recently in that they believe that he should be getting a lot more game time and that Lampard is being harsh on him.
But maybe, Lampard is being harsh on him is a good thing. He’s going to make the American hungry for game time and therefore he’s going to play better and better in training and games.
He came on for Mount, and as soon as he got the ball he looked to drive forward. Should’ve got an assist after some brilliant awareness and unselfishness to release Abraham, and possibly could’ve scored a goal but the chance which was hit straight at he keeper was slightly tough as it was behind him.
It is looking like he probably will not start for Chelsea if Willian and Hudson-Odoi keep up these remarkable shifts, however all he can do is keep on pushing and once he gets that opportunity to take it like he did today.