Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle United
- Goals: Marcos Alonso (£6.2m)
- Assists: Callum Hudson-Odoi (£6.0m)
- Bonus: Alonso, Hudson-Odoi x3, Kurt Zouma (£4.7m) x1
Chelsea continued their impressive start to the 2019/20 Premier League season with a hard-fought victory over Steve Bruce’s Newcastle United, a result that lifts Frank Lampard’s side into third.
The Magpies came into the game having secured upsets against ‘big six’ opposition in the current campaign – namely Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur – yet the compact system deployed by Bruce fell marginally short of its intended ambition with Lampard’s side battling to a 1-0 victory at Stamford Bridge.
Although another clean sheet for Chelsea will be pleasing for owners of players such as Fikayo Tomori (£4.7m), who has emerged as a starting budget defender under Lampard, this was an afternoon of sheer disappointment for owners of the highly-popular Tammy Abraham (£7.7m) – the most popular selection in our Gameweek 9 captaincy poll with over 30% of the vote.
Abraham squandered a number of golden chances, including hitting the bar and being denied when in on goal with just DeAndre Yedlin (£4.4m) to beat, but the American defender put in a remarkable block to deny the England striker any attacking returns.
In a Gameweek where a number of non-premium forwards attracted considerable captaincy interest, including Callum Wilson (£8.0m) against Norwich who also blanked, Abraham’s performance will be a source of considerable frustration for managers who handed the mid-price striker the armband.
This was the England striker’s fourth blank in five home matches this season.
Although Abraham was unable to get on the scoresheet, defender Marcos Alonso (£6.2m) delivered a goalscoring performance that was a reminder of the Spaniard’s attacking abilities, even if he is unable to reach the standards he has previously set for himself in the Premier League.
Alonso’s goal came after Callum Hudson-Odoi (£6.0m) set up the defender, and the performance from the 18-year-old will have given his manager food for thought after yet another assist.
This was Hudson Odoi’s second successive start for the Blues in the league, and including his substitute appearance against Brighton in Gameweek 7, the forward has now registered three consecutive assists in the Premier League.
Given the competition for places in Chelsea’s squad alongside the form that the likes of Willian (£7.0m) are exhibiting, it is difficult to determine whether Hudson-Odoi is likely to retain his starting berth in the Chelsea XI.
Yet at a price of £6.0m, the England international’s performances are certainly worthy of monitoring for Fantasy managers who may be looking for a differential to complement the likes of Abraham.
Lampard confirmed how pleased he was with Chelsea’s attacking performance in his post-match comments.
We were upbeat, we had urgency, the tempo was good, and that got us the win. We want to score goals. You can see the fans – I think they’re happy with what they’re seeing at the moment. We want more.
Although lately it has been Mason Mount (£6.8m) who has been grabbing the headlines with four goals and an assist so far this season, in the game against Newcastle the Englishman was unable to deliver any attacking returns and was substituted by Lampard in the 64th minute at the expense of Christian Pulisic (£7.2m).
Ross Barkley (£5.6m) left the pitch in the 43rd minute, with Mateo Kovacic (£5.4m) coming on in his place, and Lampard confirmed after the game it was an ankle injury and it will be assessed in the coming days.
It’s an ankle injury. We need to assess it and see how bad it is.
For Chelsea’s defence, although Newcastle seldom troubled their backline, a second clean sheet in two games and just one goal conceded in their last three will be promising news to those managers in ownership of their defensive assets, although Tomori was booked late on to reduce his score to five points.
Whilst Chelsea will be ruing both their misfortune and inefficiency in front of goal, this was a defeat for Newcastle that underlines the disinterest in their players as Fantasy options in 2019/20.
A lack of attacking returns has become a familiar tale on Tyneside in the current campaign, and unless Bruce is willing to compromise the Benitez-esque tactical principles whilst playing away from home against typically ‘bigger’ sides, the likes of Joelinton (£5.8m) are unlikely to prosper within Newcastle’s set-up – despite the Brazilian scoring against Spurs in Gameweek 3 when a similar counter-attacking system was deployed away from home.
Easier tests await though and Bruce confirmed in his post-match comments that the upcoming run of fixtures for Newcastle will be hugely influential in determining the outcome of their 2019/20 campaign:
We’ve had a really tough start. We’ve now got a run of games against teams who are going to be in and around us. Hopefully, we can get a few points.
A fifth successive win for Chelsea points to the momentum they are gathering under Lampard, and although today marked a blank for Abraham, those managers in ownership of the striker should not be deterred the lack of returns in today’s fixture.
The Englishman was both the creator and recipient of a number of chances throughout the game, and given his price, he is likely to continue to offer exceptional value as an attacking option at an in-form team who now sit third in the Premier League table.
Chelsea XI (4-2-3-1): Kepa; Alonso, Zouma, Tomori, Azpilicueta; Jorginho, Barkley (Kovacic 43′); Hudson-Odoi (James 90+2′) Mount (Pulisic 64”), Willian; Abraham.
Newcastle United XI (3-4-3): Dubravka; Clark, Lascelles, Schär; Willems, M Longstaff, S Longstaff, Yedlin; Saint-Maximin (Gayle 85′), Joelinton (Atsu 83′), Almirón (Carroll 70′).
Abraham was the second-highest underachiever of xG (-0.66) of all players involved in Gameweek 9, behind only Aston Villa’s Anwar El Ghazi (-0.73).
Hudson-Odoi created the most chances (five) of all players on the pitch, whilst also registering the highest baseline bonus points score (23) of all midfielders in action on Saturday in Gamweek 9.
Willian posted some eye-catching numbers, creating three chances and matching Abraham for attempts on goal.
Alonso’s total of six penalty box touches is the second-highest among FPL defenders in Gameweek 9 so far. Since his return to the Chelsea team in Gameweek 5, no defender has registered more touches in the opposition area.
Team-wise, Chelsea won the joint-most aerial duals (24) of all teams in action on Saturday. This again underscores Newcastle’s weakness in the air – only Norwich have allowed more headed chances than the Magpies (29) this season.
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