The first match of the post-Steve Bruce era at St. James’ Park was bound to be a raucous affair but that didn’t translate to the action on the pitch until the second half, and sadly for Newcastle it didn't go their way.
Visitors Chelsea lost two key players in the build-up to kick-off with Mateo Kovacic pulling a hamstring in training and Mason Mount taken ill having travelled with the squad giving a chance for Callum Hudsoi-Odoi to play in his favoured position within a front three. Hakim Ziyech also started the game and had the best opportunities as Chelsea pressed in the first half, monopolising possession with 75% of the ball despite having no attempts on target.
Within five minutes of the restart Ziyech and Chelsea had shots on target and Newcastle seemed unable to cope with the movement of Chelsea’s players particularly down the right-hand side. Newcastle struggled to create any real chances throughout the game, and Callum Wilson was restricted to just one half-chance that sailed over Edouard Mendy’s crossbar.
Time for Change
A double substitution by Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel on 64 minutes, bringing on Rueben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley for N’Golo Kante and Ziyech breathed new life into the away side. And it didn’t take long for full-back Reece James to break the deadlock just one minute later when he connected with a cross from Hudson-Odoi which smashed past Karl Darlow in the Newcastle goal and into the roof of the net. Just 12 minutes later, the ball again fell to James after a shot from Loftus-Cheek was blocked who drilled in with a powerful shot.
Darlow handed Chelsea the opportunity to get a third and put in the game to bed in the 81st minute when he brought down Kai Havertz, Chelsea’s make-shift number 9 in the absence of both Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku, for a penalty kick. Jorginho, Chelsea captain for the day, did not disappoint.