Chelsea slumped to an away defeat at Newcastle United today, as Demba Ba’s return to his old club was marred by injury.
Jonas Gutierrez headed the Magpies ahead late on in the first half after some lacklustre defending by Chelsea, and two brilliant second half goals from Frank Lampard and Juan Mata were not enough to earn the Blues a win.
Demba Ba started up front on his return to St James’ Park, and John Terry made his first league appearance since early November.
Ryan Bertrand’s run in the side continued, starting on the left flank in place of the suspended Eden Hazard, and Petr Cech returned to the starting line-up.
Newcastle started brightly, preventing Chelsea from imposing themselves early on. Davide Santon had a long range effort on goal but Petr Cech saved it easily.
Chelsea had to wait until the 9th minute for a decent spell on the ball, and the Magpies continued to make life tough for the Blues. Demba Ba’s first touch was greeted by a chorus of boos from the home crowd.
Ashley Cole created Chelsea’s first chance of the game, Juan Mata picking him out with a lofted ball as he made a run into the box before cutting the ball back into the path of Frank Lampard, who shot tamely over the bar.
Newcastle began to sit deeper and stand off, allowing Chelsea to work their way into the game.
Oscar had an effort from range in the 18th minute, but didn’t trouble Toon keeper Tim Krul as he blasted the ball high.
Papiss Cisse soon tested Cech from the edge of the box, the linesman failing to spot an obvious offside run from the Senegalese striker.
Newcastle had a solid spell of possession in the final third, but their efforts came to nothing as Santon shot wide. Ashley Cole was the next Chelsea player to draw the ire of the local supporters, who subjected him to a round of heckling.
Chelsea were soon on the front foot, Bertand and Cole working the ball on the edge of Newcastle’s box and managing to win a corner. Mata’s delivery found Ivanovic, but the set piece came to nothing and referee Howard Webb failed to spot a handball by the Serb.
Newcastle broke quickly, but a succession of poor crosses from Gutierrez and Gouffran failed to test Chelsea’s defence. Sissoko blasted the ball over the crossbar in the 27th minute.
Ramires was lucky to escape a red card after a two footed tackle on Guitierrez, Howard Webb only deeming the offence worthy of a yellow, provoking an angry response from Alan Pardew who marched onto the pitch to remonstrate.
Lampard played Demba Ba through on goal in the 31st minute with a lofted ball. Ba sped past Coloccini and shot into the path of Krul, he met the rebound with a headed effort but found himself on the end of a high boot by Collocini.
Webb failed to spot the blatant kick to the face, denying Chelsea what should have been an obvious penalty kick. Ba was ushered off the pitch by Chelsea’s medical staff, blood pouring from his nose, and Newcastle fans yet again booed their former favourite.
Petr Cech came up with a good save in the 35th minute, denying Cisse who should have made more of the chance. Ramires took a knock after an aerial tussle with James Perch.
Demba Ba returned to the pitch with his nose taped, looking dazed, and the St James’ Park crowd continued to heckle him.
As half-time approached, Newcastle pulled in front via the head of Gutierrez in the 40th minute. Ivanovic failed to shut down Davide Santon, who delivered a brilliant cross for the Argentine to head home.
Rafael Benitez opted to bring Demba Ba off as he continued to look out of sorts, Fernando Torres coming on in his stead.
Newcastle had a late opportunity via a corner as the half moved into injury time, Chelsea failed to clear the decks and were saved by Ryan Bertrand’s diving block into the path of Sissoko’s shot.
The Magpies closed out the half on top, leaving Chelsea with much to do in the second.
Benitez refrained from making any changes as the second half got under way. News filtered through concerning Demba Ba’s injury, which was confirmed to have been a broken nose.
Chelsea began the half positively and won an early corner, but couldn’t make the opportunity count.
Frank Lampard conjured up a spectacular goal in the 54th minute to pull Chelsea level. His shot from distance was a beautiful looking one, and the flight of the ball left keeper Krul with no chance to stop it.
Howard Webb failed to reprimand Papiss Cisse for a blatant elbow to John Terry’s face in the 60th minute; as the play continued, Juan Mata served up a beautiful goal to put Chelsea ahead after a lay-off inside the box from fellow Spaniard Fernando Torres.
Mata’s strike was masterful, beating Krul and curling into the top left-hand corner.
Webb delivered another baffling refereeing decision, sanctioning both Ashley Cole and Papiss Cisse with a yellow card after the Newcastle front man bizarrely put his hand around the throat of Cole.
Chelsea were now in the driving seat, dominating possession and dragging Newcastle around the pitch. The Blues pushed forward in search of a third, but Pardew’s side soon found a way back into the game.
Gouffran broke past Chelsea’s high line and sprinted through on goal, he dispatched an effort which Cech parried away but the rebound fell into the path of Sissoko, who promptly slotted the ball home into the empty net.
Juan Mata looked lively as we looked to get back in front, single handedly winning a corner after some fantastic dribbling inside the Newcastle box.
The Toon had another golden chance on the break as Sissoko beat Ashley Cole and made a run through on goal, but Cech tipped his shot wide.
Rafael Benitez got involved in a spat with Alan Pardew on the touchline, after Howard Webb failed to pick up a foul by Cabaye on Oscar.
Mata again looked to carry Chelsea forward, going on a fantastic run and managing to hold off Coloccini who was snapping at his heels.
Newcastle continued to soak up every Chelsea attack, and Sissoko was again at the forefront as they looked for a way to pull ahead on the counter.
Alan Pardew made his first change of the match in the 83rd minute, replacing Gouffran with Sylvain Marveaux.
Chelsea failed to make the most of a late free kick from distance. Ramires made an awful decision and shot well over the bar from a long way out.
The Magpies went ahead as the match entered the 90th minute, Davide Santon getting the better of Ivanovic as he dribbled into the box, laying the ball off for Sissoko who fired a shot past Cech.
Juan Mata took a yellow card for the team in the 2nd minute of stoppage time, breaking up a dangerous looking Newcastle attack with a foul.
Pardew tapped at his watch impatiently as the game wound up; Chelsea had a late appeal for a penalty turned down and Howard Webb soon blew his whistle to signal the end of the match.
A disappointing afternoon for Chelsea, things could have been oh so different had Howard Webb spotted what was a blatant foul on Demba Ba inside the box in the first half.
Newcastle, however, deserved their victory on the back of an impressive performance, putting Petr Cech under pressure time after time as they rained in a number of shots on target.
Chelsea: Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole, Ramires, Lampard, Oscar, Mata, Betrand, Ba (Torres 41).
Unused substitutes: Turnbull, Ferreira, Marin, Azpilicueta, Benayoun, Ake