Chelsea, Graham Potter’s woes worsen in defeat to Newcastle who eye Champions League spot

NEWCASTLE, England — Newcastle continued their remarkable pre-season form with a deserved 1-0 win over Chelsea at St James’ Park. Joe Willock scored the only goal of a game that ended with players and coaches from both sides shoving on the edge of the Newcastle box.

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Eddie Howe’s side turned in an impromptu victory lap after the final whistle and will resume the Premier League season in third place after a start to the season in which they have lost just once. Chelsea, meanwhile, head into the World Cup break after a dismal run of four defeats in their last five games in all competitions.

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Fast reaction

1. World Cup break comes at the wrong time for Newcastle, right time for Chelsea

Eddie Howe and Graham Potter will have very different feelings as they gaze at the table over the next six weeks. Newcastle are in third place, just two points behind champions Manchester City, and have ensured they will be in the top four of the Premier League for the first time since the 2001/02 season.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have lost three straight Premier League games for the second time this century and will not finish in the top four at Christmas for the third time in 21 years. Newcastle have won five straight league games and Howe would be forgiven if he thought the World Cup had come at the wrong time. He can only hope that the impressive momentum his side have built will still be there when home football resumes after the World Cup.

In the other dugout, Potter looks like a man in need of a break. The former Brighton manager, who jumped into the job mid-season after Thomas Tuchel was sacked, has had little time to catch his breath since taking charge at Stamford Bridge in September and after a good start at his new job, Chelsea are only with two hobbled wins from their last eight games.

2. Newcastle are aiming for the Champions League

The debate early in the season was whether Newcastle could break into the top six. The debate during the World Cup break should be whether they can crack the top four and qualify for next season’s Champions League. On paper their 1-0 win over Chelsea looks close, but it was far more comprehensive than the result suggested. The home side were well up front for most of the game and deserved Willock’s beautiful goal when it came midway through the second half.

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While Arsenal, Manchester City, Tottenham, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea will all play in Europe in the new year, Newcastle have the advantage of only playing one game a week until the end of the season. It will give Howe more time to prepare his squad and give his players vital rest between games and they should not be discounted as Champions League hopefuls.

Against Chelsea, Nick Pope made a good save against Conor Gallagher, Sven Botman defended well and Miguel Almiron worked as hard as ever. Even without key players like Alexander Isak and Allan Saint-Maximin, this is still a very good side and the rest of the Premier League’s traditional top six have been warned.

3. Trippier and Pulisic preview England vs. USA

England and USA will have to wait until November 25 for their Group B showdown in Qatar, but the second half at St James’ Park turned into a small preview of Christian Pulisic and Kieran Trippier. Pulisic was dropped on the bench after starting midweek’s Carabao Cup tie against Manchester City but came on at half-time at the expense of Cesar Azpilicueta and was almost immediately struck by Tripper – who will be used as England’s starting right-back at the world should cup – on the center line. Trippier was rightly cautioned but when the two came together shortly afterwards it was the Newcastle right-back who won the clash.

Pulisic picked up the ball down Chelsea’s left but when his shot into the box looked dangerous the Englishman expertly shoved it aside. Pulisic had a run and a cross that earned Potter enthusiastic applause, but otherwise Trippier was in control every time the two faced each other. The next time Pulisic and Trippier see each other will be in Qatar, where a place in the second round of the World Cup may be at stake.

Player Ratings

Newcastle: Pope 8, Trippier 8, Burn 7, Botman 7, Schar 7, Longstaff 7, Guimaraes 7, Joelinton 7, Willock 7, Almiron 7, Wood 5.

Subtitle: Wilson 6, Murphy 6, Targett 6.

Chelsea: Mendy 6, Azpilicueta 6, Koulibaly 5, Chalobah 6, Hall 7, Loftus-Cheek 5, Jorginho 6, Kovacic 5, Gallagher 6, Mount 5, Broja 6.

Subtitle: Silva 6, Pulisic 6, Cucurella 6, Havertz 6, Ziyech 6.

Best and worst performers

BEST: Kieran Trippier

A mature performance from a seasoned defender and he kept Pulisic very calm.

The worst: Mason Mount

The England midfielder barely saw the ball in his last appearance before the World Cup and was substituted early on.

Highlights and notable moments

Newcastle looked on the better side and scored a deserved goal in the second half.

Almiron is in the form of his life this season.

After the game: What the players and coaches said

Graham Potter on going into the World Cup break after poor form: “Its not our fault [the break] and we must use it positively. We’ll have a few players back [from injury] and we can use the time to refocus, reflect and prepare for the second half of the season. There’s a lot of football to play, a lot to learn from what’s happened in the last eight weeks and the break, we have to use it as positively as possible.”

Eddie Howe on Newcastle’s form: “We want to get as many points as quickly as possible. The players deserve a lot of credit, they were up there with our best performances this season. I don’t really know.” [qualifying for Europe]. We didn’t think about permutations or consequences of the games, we just tried to win them and I think that’s the best way for us to attack the second half of the season as well.”

Important statistics

– Chelsea have not scored in the first half in their last five Premier League games.

– This is Newcastle’s longest unbeaten run in the PL since a 14-game streak between May and November. 2011

– The last time Chelsea went five or more games without a win in PL was in 2012 when they went seven games without a win.


Newcastle: Eddie Howe’s side head into the World Cup break on a high, having a friendly against Rayo Vallecano on December 17 before the Carabao Cup game against Bournemouth on December 20, followed by the Premier League at Leicester City.

Chelsea: Potter’s men are in trouble as they host Bournemouth on December 27, followed by a visit to Nottingham Forest on January 1 and a clash against Man City on January 5. Chelsea, Graham Potter’s woes worsen in defeat to Newcastle who eye Champions League spot

Emma Bowman

Emma Bowman is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Emma Bowman joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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