Chelsea fans had experienced this story all before at St James Park over the past decade.
With over an hour gone, Thomas Tuchel’s side had huffed and puffed in an effort to dismantle Newcastle’s low-block. As an aficionado of the classic narrative on Tyneside for the Blues, this was ringing all the wrong alarm bells as Tuchel looked increasingly exasperated on the touchline.
But then a moment of inspiration altered the destiny of this clash, not once but twice! Like Roger Federer serving gracefully at Wimbledon, Reece James single-handedly helped to shatter a curse that has consistently afflicted our seasons with two graceful swipes of both feet.
What the English defender’s game-defining quality proved once more was the unique strength they have over some of their closest rivals.
The two moves that led to James’ brilliant strikes involved academy talent. Callum Hudson-Odoi charging down the left wing to transform the tempo of the European Champions attack, floating a ball into the box which substitute Ruben Loftus-Cheek contested before it finally dropped kindly to a Blue shirt.
The wingback took the ball down astutely, shifted it onto his weaker left foot and curled the ball into the top corner to send the travelling away support into raptures placed in the top tier of the stadium.
Even with Mason Mount’s late withdrawal due to illness, the starting eleven still contained three academy products in Andreas Christensen, James and Hudson-Odoi all who had positive afternoons.
Loftus-Cheek coming off the bench only increased the revival he’s been experiencing this season in the heart of Tuchel’s midfield recently.
That’s forgetting the breakthrough of Trevoh Chalobah fans have loved seeing after a series of loans with Ispwich, Huddersfield and Lorient. Chalobah’s integration has undoubtedly solved a problem the club were looking to fix in the summer transfer window with attempts to buy Jules Kounde from Sevilla for over £60m.
A perceived long-term ambition of Roman Abramovich when he bought the club back in 2003 was to develop a talented group of youngsters who could benefit the first team, playing alongside world superstars as Chelsea compete for football’s biggest honours.
In May, that dream was realised against Manchester City when James, Christensen and Mount all starred in a Champions League final that will be remembered in the club’s folklore, with the trio all having incredible displays on that magical night in Porto.
Fast forward five months and Cobham products are still firmly at the heart of Tuchel’s best work despite a £98m outlay on Romelu Lukaku in attack, and rumours of the club looking to bring in right-back Achraf Hakimi for £65m who eventually joined PSG instead.
Via OptaJoe following James’ latest high, no Chelsea player has been involved in more goals for in all competitions this season than Reece James, broken down to three goals and three assists.
Just like Chalobah provided an internal answer to Kounde, James continues to prove the club doesn’t need to spend exorbitant amounts when they’ve got a long-term answer on the right side of their defence and attack.
There is a reason supporters clamour for the product line of players breaking through not to end because it only strengthens our squad and is proving to key at the moment to keep Tuchel top of the Premier League.
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Source by Football London