Chelsea climbed to third in the Premier League as Marcos Alonso clinched a 1-0 win that silenced the Newcastle fans who jeered the Spanish defender at Stamford Bridge.
Alonso’s blistering strike ended Newcastle’s stubborn resistance with 17 minutes left and provided the perfect riposte to the taunts from the stands. The Chelsea left-back spent the second half of the 2013-’14 season on loan at Newcastle’s arch rivals Sunderland and played in a derby win at St James’ Park. The Magpies supporters clearly hadn’t forgotten as they booed him throughout Saturday’s match.
But Alonso’s first goal since April gave him the last laugh as Chelsea made it five successive victories in all competitions. After winning just two of their opening eight games under Frank Lampard, the Blues are beginning to find their stride. The mature way Lampard’s young side kept probing and found a way to beat obdurate Newcastle bodes well for the future.
And for only the second time in Lampard’s 13 games in charge, Chelsea kept a clean-sheet as the Blues boss celebrated just his second home league. While a title challenge is likely to be beyond Chelsea, they look well equipped to challenge for a top four finish.
Newcastle have now won just one of their last 26 league visits to Chelsea after a defeat that punctured the momentum from their 1-0 win against Manchester United before the international break.
Fikayo Tomori, Ross Barkley, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham all featured for Chelsea, making it five English players in their starting line-up in the Premier League for the first time since February 2013.
Spurs stumble again
Dele Alli struck four minutes from time to prevent Tottenham suffering another demoralising Premier League defeat, but their struggles continued in a 1-1 draw with bottom-of-the-table Watford on Saturday.
The Hornets have still not won in the league since April and will rue a series of missed chances after Abdoulaye Doucoure put them in front after just six minutes.
Spurs seemed set for a third straight defeat after humiliating heavy losses to Bayern Munich and Brighton before the international break. But a mix-up between Ben Foster and Kiko Femenia handed Alli an equaliser to at least salvage a point for last season’s Champions League finalists.
Mauricio Pochettino insisted prior to the game that he remained sure Spurs’ quality will eventually shine through this season. But once again the Argentine again failed to rouse a response from his side as doubts over his ability to turn the tide in his sixth season in charge grow.
Tottenham have now won just three of their first 12 games in all competitions and, just like at Brighton a fortnight ago, they paid a heavy price for a slow start. The match had barely started before Watford were forced into a substitution when Danny Welbeck hobbled off to be replaced by Gerard Deulofeu.
And Spurs were caught napping when play got back underway as Daryl Janmaat got in behind Danny Rose and crossed for Doucoure to apply the finish.