Last week it was Moscow, tonight it was the warmer and balmier climbs of Newcastle in the Carling Cup. The weather wasn’t particularly great but compared to the Lokomotiv Stadium it must have felt like summer. Just before kick off the rain fell and slicked the pitch up, it was a shame that the first half wasn’t slick itself but the result in the end mattered and again Chelsea kept a clean sheet. Tonight Jose Mourinho made changes to the team as is per the norm for the Carling Cup. In came Carlo Cudicini for Petr Cech as he did for the last round against West Ham. Glen Johnson played at right back with Paulo Ferreira moving to the right side of the midfield three. The centre back pairing consisted of the newly contracted until 2009 JT and William Gallas. Wayne Bridge came back instead of Celestine Babayaro. In midfield, Scott Parker played the central role with Tiago on the left and as already mentioned Paulo Ferreira on the right. The front three consisted of Joe Cole who came in for the hero of the moment Arjen Robben, Mateja Kezman played instead of Eidur Gudjohnsen but Damien Duff kept his place.
The first half started very brightly for Chelsea, in the very first minute an Andy O’Brien pass back to Shay Given in the Newcastle goal didn’t have enough pace and was intercepted by Mateja Kezman. As Kezman ran onto the ball the angle ended up being very tight and he couldn’t bury the chance. A couple of minutes later we got our first corner of the match taken by Joe Cole, however it came to nothing and the ball was eventually cleared. After the first five minutes Newcastle began to come into the game and were having more possession and the better of the game Laurent Robert had a shot on target but the excellent Carlo Cudicini saved it. After the opening minutes the match started to die a death a bit. The next chance came in the 26th minute when the impressive Laurent Robert found Bellamy who chested the ball to Patrick Kluivert who had a shot on target but again Cudicini pulled off a save to keep the Toon at bay. Newcastle continued to dominate as ten minutes later a shot across the face of goal by Bernard was tipped away by Carlo. Between the shots by Kluivert and Bernard, Glen Johnson was booked after a foul on Robert just outside the area. It was reminiscent of the foul committed by Johnno last week in Moscow. In the 39th minute Chelsea got their chance to score, however the ball was deflected over from a Ferreira shot. Joe Cole got booked for a tackle on Craig Bellamy a minute later; it left the crowd booing Cole every time he touched the ball thereafter. Referee Steve Bennett was also starting to flash the cards around like it was Christmas as Nicky Butt went into the book also. Just after the Joe Cole booking, Newcastle got a corner on the left, Robert swung it in and only a tip over by Cudicini denied the Geordies going ahead first.
The second half begun much like the first, both teams feeling each other out with Chelsea defending like Trojans. As much as Newcastle attacked, Chelsea denied their efforts and as the game went on it didn’t really look as though the home team would score. The game came to life around the 63rd minute mark. Joe Cole got in behind the Newcastle defence after a Titus Bramble mistake, but as Joe was lining up to shoot Bramble recovered and slid in to take the ball away. Just after that effort Arjen Robben came on to replace Damien Duff. Two minutes later we had our best effort of normal time. Great build up play led to Tiago prodding the ball wide when it looked like an away banker that he’d slot it past Given. A couple of minutes after that Joe Cole, who’d had a frustrating evening was substituted to a crescendo of boos from the home fans and on came Frank Lampard. The goals still didn’t come and chances by Robert from a free kick in the 85th minute tipped round the post by Cudicini and a Robben shot in the very last minute of normal time couldn’t break the deadlock.
So, the game went to extra time. In the second minute of extra time a foul 20 yards out gave Lauren Robert another chance to beat Cudicini, but much like the effort in the 85th minute Carlo again palmed the ball away and it was eventually cleared. In the 96th minute Eidur Gudjohnsen came on to replace Scott Parker who’d had a great game blocking efforts when the home team had looked dangerous. Three minutes after Eidur had come on we scored our first goal. It was Eidur’s sixth goal in six games against Newcastle. It all came about from a Newcastle throw in, the ball reached Arjen Robben instead of the Newcastle player, Robben crossed to Eidur just outside the box and a low hard shot went past Given, hit the inside of the left hand post and nestled in the back of the net. It was a magical time to get the goal and all you could hear were the travelling fans enjoying the moment. After the goal a few minutes later a ball going out for a goal kick to Chelsea was being shepparded out by Paulo Ferreira when he was shoved in the back by Robert, it ended with Ferreira falling into the hoardings behind the goal and William Gallas giving Robert a mouthful. This time Steve Bennett didn’t even reach for a card, when in reality it was a bookable offence. .
The second period of extra time got under way and Chelsea finished the game off in the 112th minute. A ball by Wayne Bridge found the amazing Arjen Robben in his own half. With pace, dribbling and great play he skipped past at least two or three tackles before burying the ball into the near corner of the net. Robben is fast becoming a real gem and at only 20 years of age is a spectacular player who could turn out to be a true Stamford Bridge legend. The goal was of high quality and it finished Newcastle’s efforts of trying to win one piece of silverware this season. The last time they’d won any kind of trophy was in 1969. This was Robben’s third goal in as many games; the rest of the Premiership must be starting to fear him as he can turn on the magic at any given time. So, the final score ended Newcastle 0-2 Chelsea and so we progress to the Quarter Finals of the Carling Cup. Cardiff is still in sight, the next game in the competition is against our local rivals Fulham at Craven Cottage on either the 30th November or the 1st December.
With Fulham in mind we travel there on Saturday in the Premiership. A great night for all Chelsea fans everywhere this evening. Jose must have heard the travelling support as they sung for nearly the whole match and near the end of the game the ole’s started for a very fine performance by Chelsea and a very fine performance by the travelling support, let’s have the same crowd effort at home!
Newcastle: Given, O’Brien, Bramble, Johnsen, Bernard (Hughes 118), Bellamy, Butt (Dyer 45), Jenas, Robert, Shearer, Kluivert (Ameobi 105) Subs Not Used: Harper, Bowyer.
Chelsea: Cudicini, Johnson, Terry, Gallas, Bridge, Ferreira, Tiago, Parker (Gudjohnsen 96), Duff (Robben 63), Cole (Lampard 66) Kezman. Subs Not Used: Cech, Huth. Booked: Tiago, Johnson, Cole.
Referee: Steve Bennett