Federico Fernandez is praised by Newcastle fans after Chelsea loss

Chelsea Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Chelsea Ruben Loftus-Cheek

On one occasion, he was even kicked off the field by a particularly crude challenge.

For the second season in succession, Newcastle are fighting relegation.

'You have what you have, so I want to give credit to my players for the effort they make in every game. The benches are on the line of the half, so for me it was really hard for me to say if it was a penalty, the same for the action on the other side.

Replays showed Schar got a touch to the ball first before making contact with Alonso, but the Chelsea player was confident the decision to give the penalty was correct. "It is easier, for a defender who is 30, it is more hard".

Still, it needed a stroke of fortune for Chelsea to come away with a third win, after previous victories against Huddersfield and Arsenal.

Chelsea got back in front with a fortuitous goal four minutes later from Yedlin, who had stretched his foot out to block a shot from Alonso which had looked to be going wide. Rafa Benitez's side had the flawless opportunity to come away from the Welsh capital with all three points, however, Kenedy's tame effort was easily saved by Cardiff stopper Neil Etheridge.

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Given Newcastle's tactics, it was undoubtedly a tricky afternoon for Jacob Murphy, who will be hoping for a significantly better season than his first on Tyneside.

However, the Brazilian now seems to be more settled under new boss Sarri as he bids to try and help the Blues enjoy a strong Premier League season.

For all the criticism this might attract from those who hold on to a more romantic ideal of how a Newcastle team should play at home, it nearly worked perfectly.

Maurizio Sarri has revealed he is trying to "completely" change the way his Chelsea defenders think about football, adding that he is not sure if he is capable of adopting a different approach if his style does not work at Stamford Bridge. Few would have thought Watford would be there alongside them.

Chelsea have kept pace with Liverpool by winning their opening three Premier League games, but Sinclair still has concerns about the Luiz-Rudiger partnership, especially against better teams. Wilfried Zaha pulled one back late for Palace.

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