·28 May 2023
·28 May 2023
It took a Kieran Trippier own goal, the defender deflecting the ball into the net midway through the first half, to cancel out Anthony Gordon’s early strike and spare the outgoing coach the ignominy of a ninth defeat in his 11 games in charge.
Newcastle had already sealed their objective and qualified for the Champions League, but they had not come to west London to hand Lampard the consolation of a victory to cap his brief reign, and so played with purpose and style.
For Chelsea at the end of an awful season, there were at last flashes of a brighter future with Noni Madueke, Lewis Hall and substitute Carey Chukwuemeka - none of them older than 21 - the outstanding trio.
Newcastle started the brighter. Allan Saint-Maximin ran at Trevoh Chalobah and, as the Chelsea defender backed off, slipped it through to Aleksander Isak, whose low shot was well blocked by the legs of Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Their opening goal was simple, but Chelsea made it so. A long ball out from the back was taken deftly on his left foot by Saint-Maximin who looked up and found Matt Targett overlapping on the left.
Cesar Azpilicueta and Chalobah seemed to leave the threat to one another to handle, and Targett had time to pick out Gordon, roaming free inside the six yard box, to tap home unmarked.
Newcastle were playing with the confidence of a side about to record their best finish in 20 years, and Isak nearly bent in a second minutes later, his arcing shot dropping just wide of Arrizabalaga’s left-hand post as Chelsea tottered.
Chelsea’s equaliser was a mix of brilliance from Raheem Sterling and misfortune for Trippier. Sterling collected the ball from a quick free-kick on the right of the penalty area and showed fine feet to slip inside and shoot left-footed low to the back post.
The effort looked to be going wide until a critical deflection off Trippier who, with help from Fabian Schar on the goalline, bundled the ball awkwardly with his arm past Martin Dubravka.
Newcastle should have restored their lead late in the half when Gordon’s header deflected off Hall into the path of Miguel Almiron. The forward has enjoyed his best season in black and white but could not cap it here with a goal, his effort instead ballooning high into the Matthew Harding Stand.
Chelsea, still unable to find the killer ball in the final third, looked rudderless in the first half.
Madueke tried to take matters into his own hands with a decent run and shot coming on off the right, but the strike dropped straight into Dubravka’s arms, before Almiron found himself in space again inside the box and produced a good, stretching save from Arrizabalaga.
The hosts were finishing the half the stronger. Hall’s deflected cross was met by Sterling, forcing Dubravka into a spectacular leaping save to his right, before Targett booted off the line from the England forward’s follow-up.
The final weeks of Chelsea’s campaign have largely been about looking for signs of promise among a squad whose confidence has been rocked, and Madueke gave a glimpsing reason for optimism when he cut from the right touchline and went close with a rocket shot early in the second half.
The January signing from PSV Eindhoven has started to find form after struggling for a place early in his Chelsea career.
Hall too at left-back has enjoyed a breakthrough year, and he went close with a shot that flew narrowly over the top after clever footwork to find space. It was his cutback 20 minutes from time that found Sterling free inside the box to shoot off target, that after fine work from the substitute Chukwuemeka who drove at Newcastle with purpose.
Sterling shot wide late on after the excellent Madueke had run the ball to the byline and crossed. Chelsea wanted a penalty for handball against Dan Burn but VAR ruled no infringement.
At the other end 17-year-old debutant Lewis Miley, on as a substitute, clipped the crossbar with a crisp drive from outside the box.
Joao Felix headed over with virtually the final action, perhaps a final touch in blue for the loan signing from Atletico Madrid.
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