Chelsea come crashing down, Liverpool fire blanks

2014-12-06 21:12

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Chelsea’s unbeaten start to the season ended in a dramatic 2-1 loss at Newcastle United today when Papiss Cissé struck twice to stun the Premier League leaders at St James’ Park.

Arsenal’s hopes of a third successive victory were dashed in a 3-2 defeat at Stoke City where they trailed 3-0 at halftime and Liverpool were held to a 0-0 home draw by Sunderland – one of three goalless stalemates.

Undefeated in 23 matches in all competitions since April’s Champions League semifinal against Atletico Madrid, Chelsea proved far from invincible as 10-man Newcastle survived a late barrage to prevent the visitors setting a record unbeaten run.

Few could deny Newcastle a deserved win that lifted them to seventh in the table, although Chelsea manager José Mourinho said his side had been unlucky.

The hosts lost goalkeeper Rob Elliot to injury at halftime, replaced by young rookie debutant Jak Alnwick, and had to man the barricades with only 10 men when Steven Taylor was dismissed after getting a second yellow card 10 minutes from the end.

Substitute Cissé, who replaced Rémy Cabella after the break, put Newcastle in front after 57 minutes following a slip by Gary Cahill and struck again on the break 20 minutes later, seconds after Eden Hazard was denied an equaliser by the woodwork.

Didier Drogba’s majestic header halved the deficit late on but Newcastle survived six minutes of stoppage time and Chelsea’s 14-match unbeaten start to the season, which had drawn comparisons with the Arsenal Invincibles of 2003-04, was over.

Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers’ decision to rest Steven Gerrard failed to pay dividends as even the Liverpool captain’s emergence off the bench failed to inspire his side to break down a resolute Sunderland with their match finishing goalless.

Liverpool’s must-win Champions League tie at home to Basel on Tuesday, followed by a trip to Old Trafford, meant this was a game which was always earmarked for the 34-year-old midfielder to sit out.

Athough Gerrard’s appearance with 23 minutes to go at Anfield lifted his teammates, particularly Raheem Sterling, they still could not find the breakthrough and had to settle for a point.

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