Match report and free highlights as Chelsea win at home at end of week which saw owner Roman Abramovich sanctioned by UK government; Kai Havertz scored in 89th minute after escaping first-half red; Newcastle denied penalty when Trevoh Chalobah pulled Jacob Murphy's shirt
Monday 14 March 2022 06:22, UK
Kai Havertz produced a last-gasp moment of brilliance to snatch a 1-0 win for Chelsea over Newcastle at Stamford Bridge, on a day when football club ownership was firmly in the spotlight.
Eddie Howe's visitors looked on course for a deserved point going into the 89th minute - but Havertz came up with a stunning touch and finish on the move from Jorginho's long pass to win it for the hosts.
The in-form German forward - who escaped a first-half sending off for an elbow on Dan Burn - even nearly made it two in stoppage time, with his deflected shot hitting the bar.
It was a cruel conclusion for Newcastle who saw a clear penalty waved away by referee David Coote and VAR John Brooks when Trevoh Chalobah pulled down Jacob Murphy in the box at the start of the second half.
The visitors had gone close to winning it themselves, with Miguel Almiron's thunderbolt pushed away by Edouard Mendy at the end of the first half, after Burn had headed wide, and look transformed from the side which struggled so badly in the first half of this campaign. But their nine-game unbeaten run is over and they sit nine points above the drop zone after Watford's win.
For Chelsea, their fifth victory in a row further strengthens their hold on third - but as the players' post-match lap of honour signified, the story on Sunday stretched way beyond the 90 minutes on the pitch.
This was Chelsea's first home game since Roman Abramovich was sanctioned on Thursday by the UK government for his connections to Russia President Vladimir Putin, and a day after the Premier League had stripped the owner of his director role at the club, there was a feeling of frustration and uncertainty among the home fans before kick-off at Stamford Bridge.
Two Chelsea supporters, Nick Candy and former Liverpool chairman Sir Martin Broughton, discussed their own plans to buy the club on Sunday but, with restrictions imposed on the club including the selling of match tickets, supporters were aware that for many of them this could be their last visit to the ground for some time. They treasured the late win, with the celebrations continuing well beyond the final whistle.
This match was a sell out before Thursday's news, so a full house watched on as Chelsea's players - still wearing shirts branded with sponsors logos, despite several of those deals being suspended - struggled against a determined Newcastle side.
The Magpies' own hierarchy was firmly in the spotlight during their takeover by a Saudi-led consortium in October, with the Premier League seeking "legally binding assurances" that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia would not control the club. But their improvement since Howe was appointed and £80m was invested in the January transfer window has been extraordinary.
They were well organised to keep out an early onslaught from Chelsea and threatened from their own set-pieces, with Fabian Schar heading at Mendy from Matt Targett's free-kick.
Chelsea began to find their flow, with Timo Werner sending a deflected shot wide after a good move down the right before Mason Mount crashed a free-kick into the side-netting - but Burn's flicked header wide from a follow-up cross from a corner was a warning for the home side.
The big talking point of the first half, though, came when Burn was floored by a Havertz elbow in midfield when the pair challenged for a header. Havertz was booked and escaped further punishment from a VAR check but Burn was furious, pointing his finger at the German and issuing some strong words at his opponent. "It fits into that category of a little more than a yellow and not quite a red," was the verdict of Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher.
Newcastle finished the half strongly, with Almiron's thunderous volley testing Mendy before Schar sent the rebound over the bar and picked up where they left off after the break, with Bruno Guimaraes shooting wide.
Chelsea: Mendy (7), Chalobah (6), Christensen (6), Rudiger (6), Sarr (6), Kante (6), Jorginho (7), Mount (6), Ziyech (6), Havertz (7), Werner (5)
Subs: Kovacic (6), Lukaku (6), Pulisic (6)
Newcastle: Dubravka (6), Manquillo (6), Lascelles (6), Schar (7), Burn (7), Targett (7), Almiron (6), Guimaraes (6), Longstaff (6), Murphy (7), Wood (6)
Subs: Saint-Maximin (6), Fraser (N/A), Gayle (N/A)
Man of the match: Kai Havertz (Chelsea)
Another key moment came on 58 minutes when Murphy drove into the box from the left and eventually tumbled under pressure from Chalobah, who had grasped his shirt. "It's a penalty," said Carragher. "He's got hold of his shirt. He doesn't get any of the ball." Despite a VAR check, Chalobah escaped punishment.
Chelsea looked to have capitalised on the moment when Werner was played in by Mount three minutes later and brought down by Newcastle 'keeper Martin Dubravka - but an offside flag had gone up and with Allan Saint-Maximin coming on with 20 minutes to play the vociferous travelling support still believed all three points were on the table.
Ultimately, though, a moment of wonderful skill from Havertz settled the contest. This was Chelsea's first home Premier League game in seven weeks. For fans without a season ticket, it could be a while before they are back again while the future of their club is decided. At least they have a stunning moment to treasure until next time.
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe: "I can't look past the penalty. I'm hugely disappointed with that decision and how they've reached that decision. Jacob's had his shirt ripped off his back. Clear penalty. If the referee doesn't give it on the pitch I can understand that but the VAR has to at least make the referee go and review his own decision because if he does he'll realise he got it wrong."
Micah Richards on Sky Sports: "I think it's a clear and obvious error. It puts him off balance and then he puts it in his leg."
Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp: "It's diabolical refereeing. How he can not see that? It's a blatant penalty. If you cannot see that and you've got VAR as well. They have to make better decisions."
Chelsea's Kai Havertz: "Sometimes it looks like this. On the pitch, it's different. People know I'm not a player who does things like this. This guy is seven, eight foot tall and I have to jump. As anyone would know, you have to use your arms to jump. When I jump and he is two heads higher than me, sometimes there's stuff. I can say sorry to him because he has an injury on the head and I feel bad. But you can't tell me I did this on purpose."
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe: "It could have been a red. I'm not going to sit here and say it should have been a red. Dan thinks it's a red. He's on the pitch. It could have been given - but the one I can't understand is the penalty."
Sky Sports' Jamie Redknapp: "I think it's a very dangerous challenge by Havertz. You have to use your arms for elevation. His elbow is high and he catches him on the side of his face. He could have fractured his cheekbone."
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel: "We have to wait day by day because everything can change. The situation is clear: the club is for sale and hopefully it will go through to sort things out and give us some perspective. I have no further information than you already have.
"Day by day is a good way to live your life and now we're forced to do it because there are circumstances we can't influence. In some ways that's not so nice but it gives you the freedom to focus on the things you can influence, which is our performances and show the spirit.
"The focus is on the first team - but Chelsea is much more than the first team in the Premier League. It's a massive club with huge tradition and hundreds and hundreds of people and for them it's important we show the spirit, give them a distraction and show them what we're about."
Martin: "I think it’s bad what they’ve done to the fans. It’s bang out of order. How can [the government] run a football club when they’re struggling to run the country?
"He was going to sell the club anyway. I just hope someone comes in and buys us. I’ve been coming here for 50 years and it’s heart-breaking.
"He’s done well for our club: we’re champions of Europe, champions of the world. It's heart-breaking.
"I worry for the next generation. I’ve had to tell my grandson we can’t go anymore."
Oli: "From a supporter’s point of view, he’s done so much for the club. He’s put so much money in. We’re split 50-50 on the topic. We don’t know when we’ll be back. From a football point of view you couldn’t get much better but if things get overshadowed by that unfortunately the right thing needs to happen. We’ll see what happens."
Morton: "Ideally we’ll sell quickly. I like the sound of the Candy guy buying us. It would be nice to have a Chelsea fan that loves the club as much as Abramovich owning us. It’s going to be tough to stay at the same standard we have been for the last 19 years. Chelsea fans love him. Abramovich is the best owner in any sport."
Matt: "I think it’s a joke. I don’t agree with it. There are other companies in the country that are owned by Russians. The government need to let it calm down. I understand he is part of Putin’s team but hold on a minute, he’s been a legend at Chelsea for 19 years, let him do what he’s doing. It’s Chelsea hatred."
Oliver: "Abramovich has done well for the club all the time he’s been here. He’s won us trophies. We couldn’t ask any more from him. It’s a shame with everything that’s happened in the way it has and the way things have been handled."
Chelsea will return to Champions League action on Wednesday at 8pm as they travel to face Lille in the second leg of their last-16 tie. Thomas Tuchel's side will then play Middlesbrough in the quarter-final of the FA Cup on Saturday at 5.15pm.
Newcastle's next Premier League game will see them travel to face Everton on Thursday at 7.45pm in what could prove to be a key fixture in this season's relegation battle.
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