Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has done his best impression of Stamford Bridge predecessor Jose Mourinho and hinted at a fixture list conspiracy after once more feeling the reigning champions are being punished by regularly having less opportunity to rest than their opponents. The Blues defeated Newcastle on penalties to win the 2003 Premier League Asia Trophy.
Chelsea's sluggish start was punished after 12 minutes.
The Toffees thrashed West Ham United on Wednesday evening and despite their recent woes could end the day in the top half of the table should they win and other results in their favour while Alan Pardew will attempt to steer the Baggies to a first win since August. We just sat back and waited for the repercussions from scoring, instead of putting them under pressure with our early goal, particularly with their Hooray Henry crowd who expect a handsome victory every home game. Now he's handling the rather different challenge of keeping Newcastle in the Premier League. Chelsea did not need him by then and may even have won more convincingly had Darlow not blocked Alonso's goal-bound shot.
The equaliser seemed inevitable, and sure enough it arrived just one minute after Chelsea had struck the woodwork when Florian Lejeune's clearance only fell as far as Hazard, who fired a volley into the ground and bouncing past a helpless Darlow.
Chelsea found it too easy to find space in front of the defence, the sort of space that Huddersfield's midfielders worked so hard to eliminate against Manchester City last week was left vacant by the Magpies, particularly on the left where Fabregas and Moses combined to devastating effect against Ciaran Clark and Ritchie. "We scored a third which is a good idea in a game like this".
He told ChelseaTV after the game: 'We are working, we are working in training, because the manager want us to do a tactic, defensively tactic, but also offensive.
"Is it difficult to do this?" Michy Batshuayi is fit to return to the bench after recovering from an ankle problem.
A one-two with Drinkwater ended with the ball agonisingly out of his reach. He can play as a second striker, he can play as number 10 when we change to 3-4-3. Benitez accepts that there are no guarantees that money to strengthen the squad will be forthcoming.