The Warm Down: Newcastle United lose their first Premier League game of 2022
(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Newcastle United came into this game in high spirits. They had not lost in the Premier League for the entire of 2022 and under the new manager Eddie Howe seemed like a rejuvenated outfit.

But this was going to be the toughest test yet. Chelsea had won all of their last five in the league. 

Newcastle made a good account for themselves. After changing their formation to a five at the back to help try to contain Chelsea's free flowing attack. 

Throughout the game Chelsea had very limited chances as the Toon defence did well to keep a very compact shape, as well as utilising their press at the right times to be able to win the ball higher up the pitch. 

Kai Havertz got the eventual breakthrough goal late on. After a great ball is played into the box by Jorginho and Havertz gets the better of Dan Burn he is able to slot it past Dubravka

VAR Controversy

The main talking point for Newcastle fans from this game will be undoubtably the VAR decisions.

The first was a potential red card in the first half. Kai Havertz and Dan Burn went up for a header. However, when Havertz was jumping he threw his elbow out that slammed straight into the side of Burn's head. 

The on field decision was a yellow card. Which was given while Burn was receiving some treatment for a cut on the side of his head as well as going through the concussion protocol. 

VAR did have a look but decided that the yellow card was fair. 

Burn was visibly unhappy with this decision demanding that it was dangerous play. However these protests were waved away.

Havertz turned out to be the man to win the game for Chelsea, but the fact that in some Newcastle fans believed he shouldn't of been on the pitch left a sour taste in Newcastle fans mouths.

But the main call that VAR made was for the potential Newcastle penalty. Jacob Murphy ran into the box and seemed to get past Trevor Chalobah, however when Chalobah tried to put a tackle in he seemed to trip over Murphy. 

There was a very big outcry from both Toon fans as well as other football fans talking about the decision. Many thinking that the wrong decision was made. 

These two decisions were ultimately what decided the game. Had one or both gone the other way the outcome of this game would be a lot different. 

Key Players Missing

Newcastle United, despite their good run of form, have been suffering from a bit of an injury crisis. With many key players being sidelined due to injury. 

A list that includes key players such as Callum Wilson, Kieran Trippier, Joelinton and Allan Saint-maximin was only able to play 21 minutes off of the bench.

Despite this challenge, Newcastle have managed to conjure up the best form they have had for a long time.

With players such as Manquillo, Murphy and Longstaff coming in to help the team and have played very well. 

Jonjo Shelvey and Joe Willock were also out for todays game due too illness. So the fact that the players were able to go and put out such a strong performance against the current Club World Cup champions.

Howe's Tactical Versatility

Many fans were left confused by todays team selection and more so the formation. 

However as the game went on this worry was proven wrong and Howe's decision to change the formation was the right one. 

The extra centre back was able to make the back line very compact and leave very little space for Chelsea's attacking players to create any real chances. 

One of the main worries when a team plays with a back five is that you are too defensive. However this was not the case today. Both Matt Targett and Javier Manquillo  were able to get very far up the pitch and provide some width for the team.

The feeling from the game that Newcastle deserved something from that game. And that on another day the result could be very different.

Although the unbeaten run is over, there was many positives to take from today's game for the players to take into the next one.

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