Similarly to the previous few matches, the only thing we have to play for on the final day is to try and achieve a top half finish which is where we surprisingly remain despite four defeats on the bounce. With regards to recent history in our encounters with Chelsea, we have an impressive record in terms of the Londoners have long failed to do the double over us. Specifically, Chelsea have completed one double over us (2007/08) in the previous fifteen seasons we have been in the same division.
I do have a couple of really fond memories from this fixture from back in the days when Sir Bobby Robson (happy days) and Graeme Sounness (not so very happy days) were managers of the club. Alan Shearer, back in 2004, scoring a scorcher past Carlo Cudicini to win the game on a scorching hot Sunday afternoon. Shearer received the ball from outside the area and had his back to goal with Marcel Desailly on his back. A quick cut on to his right foot as he let fly with power to record a special goal. My other fond memory came on the last time we played Chelsea on the final day of the season in 2006. Titus Bramble scored the only goal of the game with a powerful bicycle kick. I’ll repeat that: Titus Bramble scored the only goal of the game with a powerful bicycle kick. And yes, it was THE Titus Bramble, the one we know (and love?).
Facts and Figures
Chelsea wins: 69
Newcastle wins: 52
Chelsea wins: 22
Newcastle wins: 11
Premier League at St. James’ Park
Newcastle wins: 10
Chelsea wins: 6
Previous ten (all competitions)
Chelsea wins: 6 (23 goals)
Newcastle wins: 3 (11 goals)
Biggest win (in this fixture)
Newcastle United 5 – 0 Chelsea (16/11/1974)
A superb save in the first half of the match by Newcastle goalkeeper Willie McFaul was the only incident of note in the first forty-five minutes before the Toon ran riot in the second half to record their biggest win over Chelsea. A far post header from Stewart Barrowclough broke the long-awaited deadlock before Alan Kennedy went on a storming run towards the Chelsea defence who could not cope as he charged on and then finished low into the corner from just outside the box. Super Mac at the double and a Paul Cannell goal was helped in due to poor goalkeeping to round off a great day for the Toon.
Biggest defeat (in this fixture)
Newcastle United 1 – 6 Chelsea (25/03/1961)
With four teams, including ourselves, on forty-one points (make that five if West Ham beat Man United on Thursday night), we will finish somewhere between 10th and 15th. Crystal Palace and West Ham are at home to West Brom and Everton respectively. At the same time on Sunday, Bournemouth, Watford and Brighton are all away from home to finish their season off. They will come up against teams who finished in the top seven; Burnley, Man United and Liverpool. The objective from here is simple, match those results from the other matches and a top half finish is ours. By the end of Sunday, Newcastle and Brighton could be the first team since West Ham (2012/13) to finish in the top half immediately after achieving promotion from the previous season.
A potential top half finish going into the final day shows how far we have come under Rafa. Ashley needs to realise that Rafa can easily walk out of the club and into another job. During contract negotiations, Ashley will be playing an unbelievably stupid game if he feels reluctant to give Rafa full control. Ashley please do the decent thing for once and up sticks away from our club and never to be seen again. Following the conclusion of the season on Sunday, all Premier League clubs will be given a large wad of cash. I would be delighted if Ashley takes that money if we are guaranteed to bring Amanda Staveley in.
So this is where I love and leave you as we round the season off. Thankfully that is not the case as I have a series of articles planned to keep us occupied during the off season and I think you will find it an engaging read if you have an interest in statistics. After surpassing some landmarks this season with regards to our goals scored in the Premier League, I will be talking about the stats that have even arisen since we entered the Premier League in 1993. In addition to this, I am really happy to say that I will be releasing material specifically looking over England’s group with Belgium, Panama and Tunisia in the World Cup.
One final note: I absolutely love writing articles for the website and I hope you find them to be an interesting read. If you have any suggestions, I will always welcome new material to write about; you can contact me through Twitter (see above) or you can simply let Newcastle Fans TV know and I will see what I can do. Thank you very much for your readership this season!