Dogged Chelsea clinch Newcastle draw

Ramires and Willian came off the bench to inspire a second-half Chelsea comeback in a 2-2 draw with Newcastle at St James Park on Saturday evening.

  • Newcastle 2 Chelsea 2
  • Perez's expert finish gives Newcastle lead
  • Wijnaldum's header doubles hosts' advantage
  • Ramires screamer gives Chelsea lifeline
  • Late Willian free-kick rescues point for Blues

Match Summary

Ayoze Perez had first rewarded Newcastle's enthusiastic and committed display with a superb 42nd-minute volley before summer signing Georginio Wijnaldum headed the Magpies further in front from a corner on the hour mark.

A thunderbolt from Ramires halved the deficit with 11 minutes to go and Willian's whipped free-kick in the 85th minute prevented Chelsea from slipping to their fourth Premier League defeat of the season.

Jose Mourinho's response was to bring on South American trio Radamel Falcao, Ramires and Willian, with the latter both coming to Chelsea's aid in the final stages of a gripping encounter.

Full Report

McClaren's side were eager to give the Toon Army plenty to cheer about straight from the kick-off whistle with an eagerness to win the ball back and attack quickly.

However, it was the visiting Premier League champions that carved out the opening chances of the game. Kurt Zouma, favoured once again ahead of substitute John Terry, hammered a long-range free-kick wide of the left post in the third minute before Branislav Ivanovic's poked cross from the inside right channel caught Loic Remy by surprise from close range.

Newcastle were then able to establish a firm foothold at St James' Park with the home fans roaring them on at every opportunity. Debutant and makeshift left-back Kevin Mbabu, who became the 200th player to represent Newcastle in the Premier League, had a tame effort which pea-rolled to Asmir Begovic, while the returning Aleksandar Mitrovic, Moussa Sissoko and Perez all created half chances.

The latter then gave the hosts a deserved a lead just before break. Vurnon Anita's high, hanging cross from a deep position had Chelsea's defence frozen in time, which allowed Perez to pluck the ball down to the ground with an expert first touch and volley home from 10 yards via the inside of the left-hand post.

The Blues were in desperate need of some inspiration, with two hopeful efforts from Cesc Fabregas and an equally hopeful penalty appeal when Sissoko accidentally handballed inside his own area, the closest Jose Mourinho's side came in the first half to getting on the scoresheet.

Chelsea began to peg Newcastle back after the break and Krul produced a wonderful save to deny Remy – who was later judged offside – to head in from point-blank range.

An onside Remy then spurned another opportunity before Wijnaldum piled more misery on the Blues with 60 minutes played. The Dutchman shrugged Fabregas away from a corner and stooped low to head beyond a shell-shocked Asmir Begovic and provoke Mourinho to turn towards his bench for a hero.

On came Radamel Falcao, Ramires and Willian to breath life into Chelsea, and the comeback started in the 79th minute when Ramires smashed in from long range after Eden Hazard and Pedro both spurned glorious chances.

The recovery mission was completed by his fellow Brazilian, Willian, whose drilled-in free-kick from the inside-left channel flew past a whole host of bodies in a congested area and into the back of the net.

The Blues pressed for an unlikely third but had to settle for a point which sees Chelsea leapfrog Bournemouth into 15th place and Newcastle, battling in the relegation zone, still searching for their first Premier League win of the season.