Writer: Mehzeb Chowdhury
Date:Saturday April 4 2009
Newcastle United were beaten comprehensively by Guus Hiddink's Chelsea on a night the home side should have at least got a point. With new boss Alan Shearer at the helm, Newcastle started the game brightly, but with a narrow focus on the left-flank, and no distribution or interchange of play, Chelsea picked-off the predictable Magpies until the Tyneside club broke.
As it happened...
The culprit for the first goal was none other than the club's most expensive centre-back Fabricio Coloccini, who, as recent weeks have suggested, is not a natural central defender, rather, a makeshift centreback preferred at right-back by his national side. Quite rightly so too, as another shambolic moment in the nervy defender's game gifted Frank Lampard with a simple header to kick the second-half off.
Steve Harper failed to stop a Florent Malouda shot from going in soon after, with Kevin Nolan also putting in a notoriously poor performance at the heart of the Toon midfield. Nolan could not win a header all night, or pass a ball to a team-mate, with each of his passing attempts either falling to an opponent, or him being dispossessed before anything worthwhile developed.
With the scores at 2-0, Michael Owen, and Obafemi Martins combined to put the Magpies ahead, but Owen's 72nd minute effort was disallowed by the lines-man, and Rob Styles, who failed to spot the ball crossing the line by a good yard.
The match also saw some poor offensive, and defensive play from Spanish left-back Jose Enrique, who may have been 'The Bull' in his homeland, but in England, he is not even a mouse.
Some good play from Nicky Butt, and Jonas Gutierrez ensured that the scores remained at a minimum, as free-kick and set-piece opportunities were squandered at the other end by one Ryan Taylor.
Peter Lovenkrands was fouled by Malouda in the first-half with the Dane sustaining damage to his ribs resulting in a emergency transfer to the hospital. The Chelsea man received no caution for his dangerous elbow charge.
The 2-0 scoreline meant that new manager Alan Shearer began his Tyneside career with a loss, and now the Magpies face a tricky trip away from home against Stoke next Saturday.
Anyone wondering, please don't blame Shearer for the result. The man gave it his all. It was substandard players such as Argentine calamity-man Fabricio Coloccini, Kevin Nolan, Ryan Taylor, and Jose Enrique who lost Newcastle the match.
Relegation looms in the horizon. Thank you for trying Alan Shearer - but the doom-and-gloom has been crystallized by this defeat.
Newcastle: Harper, Ryan Taylor, Beye, Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Gutierrez, Nolan, Butt, Lovenkrands, Owen, Martins.
Subs: Forster, Guthrie, Duff, Smith, Geremi, Edgar, Carroll.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, Ashley Cole, Essien, Mikel, Lampard, Malouda, Anelka, Kalou.
Subs: Hilario, Carvalho, Di Santo, Ballack, Deco, Belletti, Mancienne.
Date:Saturday April 4 2009
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