February 2nd was not a good day for the Blues as they did not manage to keep up their St James’ Park 6 year invincibility record. The Magpies’ manager Alan Pardew worked his magic and somehow managed to create all the necessary bonds between the newly signed players and the rest of the team in order to defeat Chelsea, currently ranked 3rd in the Premier League. It was a match many people were looking forward to, especially because ex Newcastle striker Demba Ba is now playing for the Stamford Bridge team. He had already managed to score a goal since signing the deal with Chelsea and Benitez announced he was going to take Torres’s place against the Magpies.
Half way during the first 45 minutes an unpleasant incident occurred, which probably contributed to Chelsea’s defeat. Coloccini acted on instinct and tried to fend off the Blues’ attack led by Demba Ba. The Argentinian somehow managed to hit the Senegalese striker with his boot right in the face. Howard Webb did not take any action and again failed to live up to expectations which see him regarded as Europe’s top referee. Newcastle’s defender should have been eliminated according to several post-match declarations including the ones issued by Rafael Benitez.
Demba Ba did not manage to return to the pitch thus missing most of his first encounter with his former team. He received immediate treatment and was forced to offer Torres yet another chance to prove himself. Just before the change took place, Newcastle’s Jonás Gutiérrez turned Santon’s cross into a goal.
After the match ended, Benitez said that Demba Ba has a broken nose and that Webb should have eliminated Coloccini which would have led to a penalty kick for the Blues. Chelsea’s coach considered that the end result is a definite consequence of what happed during the first half. He was not keen on the fact that he had to make a forced substitution and that his team was denied a penalty.
Best case scenario, Chelsea will probably be unable to use Demba Ba for the next 3 weeks. Nose injuries are pretty hard to deal with and usually result in the player’s need to wear a special mask to aid healing.
Although the Blues reacted in a great way during the second half they still did not manage to win. The fact is that Demba Ba is in better shape than Torres and probably would have done a lot more for his team than the Spaniard who failed to help his team in any way. If not for Lampard and Mata’s incredible skill, Chelsea would have done a lot worse.
Overall, Chelsea had a bad night and Howard Webb contributed to that more than he should have. Benitez says he has great respect for what he calls one of the best referees in the world, but that he influenced the outcome of the match by refusing not one but two penalty kicks, one of which would have resulted in the match ending in a draw.