Wednesday 18 October 2017

Blues get back on track ahead of crunch week

ANDRE VILLAS-BOAS has warned Manchester City his side are gunning for them. The Blues bounced back from a run of three defeats in their last four games in all competitions to ease back into the top four.

They now face a crunch week, with Valencia on Tuesday, ahead of City's visit to Stamford Bridge next Monday evening.

"We are making good progress," said Villas-Boas.

"We recovered two points last week, we have recovered one position in the league against Newcastle, and we will have to wait on this weekend's results.

"We hope that Premier League fortunes are inverting for us. It's a good three points at a very, very difficult ground.

"We have a major, major game on Tuesday against Valencia. We hope to go through it and if we do, we set up the right emotional stimulus to take on the league leaders and hopefully further shorten the distance to them."

Just how different the game might have been had Chelsea defender David Luiz been sent off rather than booked after just four minutes for dragging down Demba Ba, a crowd of 52,305 will never know.

But Chelsea took full advantage with a powerful performance that suggested rumours of their demise have been exaggerated.

Had it not been for Magpies 'keeper Tim Krul, who made a string of superb saves -- including one from a 14th-minute Frank Lampard penalty -- they could have won handsomely.

But by the same token, Petr Cech had to be at his best to keep out Ba's 24th-minute flick, while the woodwork denied Newcastle an equaliser on three occasions, one of them from Drogba as he helped to defend a corner.

It was his 38th-minute header which set the visitors on their way, although they had to wait until the death for first substitute Salomon Kalou and then the impressive Daniel Sturridge to add to the scoring.

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was at a loss to explain referee Mike Dean's lenience with Luiz, and was not convinced by the answer he got when he spoke to the official at the break.

"I thought he was going to be sent off," said Pardew.

"He [Ba] was in on goal, he was in behind Luiz, the goalie was not going to get to the ball, therefore it's a goalscoring opportunity, and he brought him down.

"I couldn't quite understand why he didn't send him off. I was really angry about it because if that had happened at Old Trafford with one of my players, one of my players would have walked.

"The referee said to me at half-time that he [Ba] didn't have control of the ball.

"I am not quite sure of the rule book, so I need to get that out and have a look at it."

Sunday Indo Sport

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