The law of Papiss
Chelski 0 – 2 Newcastle Utd
Two breathtaking goals from Papiss Cisse saw Newcastle defeat the FA Cup and Champions League finalists at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night and put right the horror of the first half against Wigan last Saturday.
The Silver Fox made only one change from the team who started so abysmally against Wigan, with Perchinho in for the injured Danny Simpson. For the home team, Roberto di Matteo shuffled the pack, with Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba and Juan Mata all dropping to the bench with Fernando Torres (back amongst the goals for the first time since he joined the Blues) leading the line.
Thankfully, for us it was a case of normal service is resumed, with an intensity and hunger in our play which was simply absent on Saturday. When Davide Santon surged forward down the left he was able to thread the ball through to Papiss Cisse on the edge of the Cheski box. Cisse controlled the ball with his right foot, before catching it sweetly on the half-volley with his left and it rocketed past Petr Cech into the net to give us the lead.
Although Chelski sought to come back at us, Torres was too isolated and well marshalled by Williamson and Sideshow Bob to cause us too many difficulties, and the home side’s best chance in the first half was a header easily saved by Tim Krul.
At the other end Demba Ba’s quest to re-find his goalscoring touch continued with one shot drawing a smart save from Cech and our man then hitting the bar after the resultant corner was fired to him on the edge of the box.
Still, one goal up at half-time it was always going to be tough in the second half, and so it proved, with Cheski employing fair means and foul in a bid to get back into it. Thankfully, their attacking edge continued to be blunted, with di Matteo forced to throw on Mata, Lampard and Drogba in a quest to force an equaliser.
Shockingly by that stage we’d lost Mr T, the victim of a deliberate flying elbow from Jon Obi Mikel right in front of referee Mark Halsey, who did nothing. Mr T was down for a long time, eventually departing on a stretcher sporting a neck brace.
With Chelski still pressing as the 90th minute arrived, they were no doubt delighted to see the fourth official show ten minutes of added time (to account for the injury to Mr T), a farcical situation whereby they injure our player and then potentially look to profit from ten extra minutes to get a goal.
Thankfully though it was Newcastle who again found the net, with Raylor (on for Mr T)’s throw chested down by fellow sub Big Lad into the path of Cisse, who spanked a shot with the outside of his right foot, the ball swerving through the air so that it looped over Cech and in at the far post for a physics-defying goal of the season. Not everyone agreed, though, with comedian Kevin Day tweeting he overheard someone say: “How’s that a good goal, it was going out before it went in”. If you haven’t seen it, you need to find it on YouTube.
From there Newcastle were able to comfortably see out the match, with Mr T watching the last few minutes from the dug-out, having received stitches in a nasty gash in his head. As one of my friends put it, “Tiote is the kind of guy who would run off a broken neck”.
With Spurs winning at Bolton, it means we’re still fifth, level on points with them and a point behind Arsenal, and reliant on one of them to slip up in their last two games if we're to finish in the top four. Even if we fall short of that goal, a first win at Stamford Bridge since 1986 and the manner of it (two great goals and a fifteenth clean sheet) is something to savour.