By Kieran Lovelock
Newcastle 1-1 Chelsea
Chelsea once again faltered in their pursuit to retain their Premier League crown as they drew 1-1 away to promoted Newcastle thanks to a catastrophic error from Alex and terrible miss from Salomon Kalou (photo).
Chelsea knew that anything other than a win would see them give up their position at the top of the table and so it proved.
The game could not have got off to a worse start for the Blues as Newcastle opened the scoring through Andy Carroll in comical circumstances. As the ball came through the middle of the back four Brazilian defender Alex, under light pressure from Carroll, seemingly had it under control only to inexplicably prod it past his goalkeeper for Carroll to run on to and tap in from two yards out.
Carlo Ancelotti has put back Alex’s knee surgery due to having a desperately depleted squad. However it is clear that he is not on top form and this error will surely make Ancelotti think twice starting the Brazilian again until he is fully fit.
Newcastle’s direct approach continued to trouble Chelsea as Wayne Routledge continued to cause problems and put balls in the box for the back line to deal with.
But just before the break Chelsea were level though a fortunate Soloman Kalou goal in front of the travelling away support. Kalou did well to maintain possession and get a shot away but if the truth be told Newcastle keeper Tim Krul would have stopped it had it not have taken a deflection.
In the second half Chelsea pressured Newcastle as the Magpies started to drop deeper and deeper in an attempt not to concede. Didier Drogba had a goal disallowed due to hand ball, substitute Danny Sturridge dragged it wide and Kalou was found guilty of possibly the worst miss of the season. As the ball bobbled around the six yard box keeper Tim Krul tried desperately to clear it only for the ball to find Kalou who inexplicably shot wide with his right foot when all he needed to do was tap in with his left.
Ancelotti stood motionless with his head in his hands as he saw his team drop further precious points and allowed Manchester United to go top. United are ruthless front runners and now have Wayne Rooney fully fit whilst Chelsea are not used to chasing the top spot- Chelsea can’t afford many more results like this if they are to catch United and how Ancelotti knows it.
Newcastle (4-4-2): Krul; Jose Enrique, Campbell, Taylor, Simpson; Routledge, Guthrie, Tiote, Guitierrez; Ameobi (Ranger 77), Carroll.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Bosingwa, Alex, Ivanovic, Cole; Mikel (Sturridge 80), Ramires, Malouda; Kalou, Anelka, Drogba
Man of the Match- Sol Campbell- 36 years old and still able to deal with one of the world’s best strikers