Newcastle 1-0 Chelsea: Joe Willock piles more misery on toothless Blues as problems mount for Graham Potter

Flying: Newcastle will be third at Christmas  (AFP via Getty Images)
Flying: Newcastle will be third at Christmas (AFP via Getty Images)

Chelsea have plenty to consider during the World Cup break after Joe Willock’s winner piled more misery on Graham Potter.

The former Brighton boss is now on a run of five League games without a win and saw his side hardly compete in an attacking sense and beaten too easily defensively.

The reserved manner with which Potter’s side played, however, would have come as a surprise after a bold selection call. Lewis Hall was rewarded for his fine display against Manchester City with a start at left-wing back, while Armando Broja was selected to lead the line in place of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Still, those changes did not exactly bring much in the way of boosted energy. Aside from Broja’s rather tame shot on the turn in the first-half, Chelsea simply did not create much until Conor Gallagher’s curling shot in the 65th minute truly troubled Nick Pope. As hard as Broja worked, he simply could not operate as the only trying to lead Chelsea’s counters.

The hosts, meanwhile, lacked a cutting edge of their own for much of the opening hour. Kieran Trippier and the in-form Miguel Almiron poked and prodded out at Hall down the right-hand side, though could not get much change out of the youngster. Sean Longstaff went close after the break with a difficult-looking half-volley after spot of head tennis in the box, though could not keep it down.

Even despite that, Almiron was involved in the opener.

For the first time in the game, the Premier League Player of the Month was able to drift away from Hall and isolate Kalidou Koulibaly, dragging the defender back across goal before losing control of the ball, only to see it land at Willock’s feet. Another player to have reborn under Eddie Howe, the former Arsenal midfielder smacked in a composed finish to decide the game.

From there, Chelsea attacked without conviction. As Newcastle naturally dropped deep, Potter’s side did move up the pitch but could not trouble Pope again.