On Saturday at Stamford Bridge Marcos Alonso found a way to give Chelsea a hard-earned 1-0 win through Newcastle United’s resolute defence.
The inspiration eventually arrived in the 73rd minute although a 4-1 victory over Southampton two weeks ago is the vigour evident in largely eluded Frank Lampard’s men on their return from the international break.
Martin Dubravka, who had not long earlier denied received a clean strike that proved too powerful from left-back Alonso who steadied himself from substitute Christian Pulisic at close range.
Chelsea were famed for their ruthless ability to squeeze points from team players who rolled into Stamford Bridge when Frank Lampard’s imperial phase as a player came with massed defensive units and limited ambition.
Marcos Alonso found the net with a fizzing drive due to his flashes of individual brilliance, determination and patience which might explain his euphoric reaction.
Before Pulisic have a chance to become the hero, Dubravka made a strong finish at close quarters. The striker went close from another set-piece. When his header from Willian’s corner skimmed against the woodwork off centre-back Clark, Tammy Abraham who kept quiet for close to an hour almost scored the opener.
Alonso’s first goal of a season punctured the resistance of Newcastle, started with him out of favour and silenced the taunts of the away fans who were keen to bring him back to his time in Sunderland colours.
The Blues’ fifth victory straight in all competitions, lifts Chelsea to third in the Premier League, and the result can change later on Saturday until Manchester City’s visit to Crystal Palace.
Otherwise, Chelsea lost Ross Barkley just before the break because in the second minute the midfielder unable to shake off the effects of Ciaran Clark’s firm challenge. It also struggled to carve open Newcastle in the first half.