Yedlin’s own goal keeps Chelsea’s run intact
DEANDRE YEDLIN’S late own goal preserved Chelsea’s perfect start to the new Premier League season as stubborn Newcastle United saw a point snatched from their grasp.
The Magpies thought they had banked a point when substitute Joselu headed home an 83rdminute equaliser to cancel out Eden Hazard’s penalty seven minutes earlier.
However, their joy was shortlived when Yedlin could only help Marcos Alonso’s drive into his own net with three minutes remaining as Rafael Benitez’s ultra-defensive master plan failed to deny the visitors a first league win at St James’ Park since December 2011 in front of a crowd of 51,791.
Eyebrows were raised before kick-off when Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles’ name did not appear on the teamsheet amid reports of a training ground dis- agreement with his manager, although when asked about the defender’s absence in a pre-match television interview, Benitez responded: “We have enough centre-backs, that’s it.”
The Magpies lined up in a 5-4-1 formation in an attempt to stifle Chelsea and although they saw little of the ball in the early stages it was they who mustered the first shot of the game when Jacob Murphy forced Kepa Arrizabalaga into a save with a skidding effort from distance.
With Jorginho afforded time and space to prompt from central midfield and Hazard and Mateo Kovacic buzzing around ahead of him, the visitors were dominating in terms of both possession and territory, but without creating meaningful openings.
Defender Antonio Rudiger lashed a snapshot well wide amid a goalmouth scramble, but as the half approached its mid-point, keeper Martin Dubravka had not had a save to make.
Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta forced Dubravka into a smart save five minutes after the restart with the Magpies retreating deep into their own half, but with Benitez’s men repeatedly squandering possession there was little respite.
Rudiger was unfortunate not to score when he rattled the bar with a 30-yard thunderbolt.
However, the deadlock was broken with 76 minutes gone when Alonso went to ground under debutant Fabian Schar’s challenge and referee Paul Tierney pointed to the spot, with Hazard obliging emphatically from 12 yards.
The Magpies were back in it within seven minutes.
Chelsea protested after Yedlin appeared to catch Olivier Giroud with an elbow.
However, Yedlin was allowed to play on and he crossed for Joselu to send a bullet header into the top corner despite Kepa’s best efforts.
However, Yedlin’s afternoon took a turn for the worse when he inadvertently turned Alonso’s shot past Dubravka to hand Chelsea victory, their third in as many matches.
DEJECTED: Newcastle United’s DeAndre Yedlin lies forlorn on the St James’ Park turf after scoring an own goal that would give Chelsea a 2-1 Premier League victory yesterday.