Like many other Newcastle United fans, I woke up this morning with a sore head, a croaky voice and a big smile on my face!

Beating Chelsea 1-0 at the cathedral on the hill yesterday was an excellent result, ranking alongside our earlier wins against Tottenham and Manchester United, and the draw we earned with Manchester City.

The return of Jamaal Lascelles to the centre of defence was huge. The mainstay of Rafa’s back five, he adds a commanding presence as well as the leadership at the back that we have been crying out for since the massive injuries to so many players kicked in.

Having said that, defensively he was actually bettered by Cieran Clark, an excellent, underrated player who seemed to gain confidence from having the skipper back alongside him.

Clark was my man of the match. How about you?

The increased resilience of our defence was the rock on which this win was built. We were able to go back to playing the Rafa way, soaking up the constant pressure and using the pace of Almiron and the returning Allan Saint-Maximin to hit the Londoners on the break.

Although Chelsea subsequently enjoyed 70% of the possession, they were only able to four chances in the entire 94 minutes played.

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But we can’t go on conceding this much of the ball and expecting our defence to bale us out. United really do need to learn how to keep the ball and use it positively. We press well enough most of the time, but when we actually get the ball we don’t seem capable of holding onto it. This seems to be a combination of poor passing, and our apparent tactic of hoofing the ball up the field – only for it to be captured by our opponent and quickly come back.

We are also our own worst enemies at throw-ins, where we must surely be the Premier League champions at giving the ball straight to the other side!

Anyway, Joelinton hit the bar in the first half with a great header after a cross from Frederico Fernandez when we could have actually gone 1-0 up.

The goal came in the 93rd minute. A corner was cleared by the Chelsea defence and the ball ended up with Allan Saint-Maximin, who had up to that point had a relatively quiet comeback by his usual standards. The Saint put a peach of a cross back into the Chelsea box and there was Isaac Hayden to bundle the ball into the back of the net from close range to send the crowd delirious.

Sadly, we lost Jetro Willens early on, with what looks like a bad knee injury. At the time of writing this, it is feared that it could be a cruciate ligament problem. If that’s the case, his season could well be over which would be a big blow for the lad and also for the team. As we know, he’s on loan hoping to get a permanent contract, and I think most fans would agree that on performances this season, he’s earned it. We’ll just have to wait and see.

From a Chelsea perspective, they have good players who are comfortable on the ball and well capable of keeping it and moving forward. Comments by Frank Lampard after the game would seem to confirm my own thoughts that, rather like us, they need more killer instinct up front to take advantage of the chances they create. A good team though and likely to finish in the top four.

Anyway, to finish on a more positive note – Three precious points gained, helping United to climb to 12th in the League with a 7 point cushion from the relegation places.

What do you think? As ever, we would welcome your comments, opinions and views below.

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