YOAN Gouffran and Loic Remy dented Chelsea’s Barclays Premier League title charge as Newcastle erased the memories of their derby defeat at Sunderland with a morale-boosting victory.
Gouffran’s 68th-minute diving header and Remy’s late strike, his sixth goal of the season, settled a game which blossomed from modest beginnings into an end-to-end encounter.
Indeed, had it not been for keeper Petr Cech, who had earlier made second-half saves from Moussa Sissoko and Gouffran, the Magpies might have gleaned more reward than the 2-0 win with which they emerged from a testing afternoon.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho seemed unsurprised by his team’s 2-0 defeat to Newcastle at St James’ Park yesterday, claiming he sensed it was coming.
Despite hitting the woodwork twice in the first half, the Blues were eventually undone by Gouffran and Remy to end a run of five unbeaten matches in the Barclays Premier League. It was a bad result for a side deemed to be among the title favourites and Mourinho admitted it was a display he wants to forget.
“I didn’t like it [the performance] and I think we deserved to lose,” the Portuguese said. “We had a couple of good chances to score the equaliser but they were more in the game than us, they fought more than us, were much more committed than us.
“They did much to win and for sure they were the best team on the pitch.
“I told the team [at half-time] that I’ve been in the game for many, many years and I was smelling what happened because it was quite easy to play the first half.
“We had lots of space but we were not sharp, we were not intense with the ball. We defended quite well, but we were not fast and intense and aggressive with the ball, so we let the game go.
“I didn’t like my team today and I’m disappointed.”
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew hopes the three points have shown any doubters his team mean business this season. He said: “We decided to be very cautious from the start, not let them play for us, and we perhaps let them have a bit too much possession and there wasn’t enough pressure on the ball.
“But we knew second half we had enough to exert pressure and the crowd were getting behind us, and that’s exactly what happened. The goal came at a great time for us. We’ve got a great spirit in the group. I think we’ve played well.
“We’ve had some moments where we’ve not been so great but we’re together. I’m pleased for the club.
“Today was about giving a message to our fans that we’re very much alive and kicking. And I’m pleased for everyone associated with Newcastle, it’s a big win.”
Gouffran’s opener came in spectacular style. Yohan Cabaye’s free-kick caused all kinds of problems for the Chelsea defence, but Gouffran read it perfectly to dive and power a header past Cech.
The home side might have increased their lead with 72 minutes gone when Sissoko and Remy carved a path through the blue shirts before the latter saw his shot blocked by the sliding John Terry.
However, Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul had to be at his best ten minutes from time to beat away Willian’s snapshot.
Chelsea’s Eden Hazard fired inches wide with four minutes remaining before Remy thumped Vurnon Anita’s pull-back past the helpless Cech.