Football: Newcastle apply the frighteners

Newcastle United. .4

Chelsea. . . . . . 2

SOMEWHERE in St James' Park a man was seriously worried. What could he say? How do you deliver bad news in the gentlest and most tactful manner? You get the drift of the thoughts tormenting the Royal Antwerp scout.

True, he could couch his report on Wednesday's Uefa Cup opponents in terms of Newcastle weaknesses. Their defence, for example, creaked at times on Saturday and any suggestion that Andy Cole is infallible can safely be dispatched to the dustbin after he made a mess of a one-on-one situation with the Chelsea goalkeeper. The rest, however, should be read in Belgium only with the accompaniment of a stiff whisky and a bottle of aspirin.

How do you relate the brush with perfection that was Newcastle's and Cole's first goal, for example? There is a theory doing the rounds in football that if you push the prolific striker to the left his finishing reaches mortal proportions, although it might not be wise to mention it to Dimitri Kharin.

The Russian watched him pursue a pass from Barry Venison in the eighth minute and positioned himself accordingly for the logical outcome, a cross or a shot to the far post. What he received was a missile from Cole's supposed weaker foot that crashed just past his shoulder and into the top corner on the near side. A marksman with a rifle could not have pinpointed the target any better.

Glenn Hoddle, the Chelsea player-manager, wondered how his goalkeeper had been beaten at his near post but that was a curmudgeonly response to a thunderous strike. Surely Cole's own manager, Kevin Keegan, was nearer the point when he said: 'There have been around 250 goals scored by us since I arrived here and I can't remember a better one. It was a classic.'

Add to that another supreme piece of chance-taking, when he struck from Robert Lee's pass after 66 minutes, and the omission of Cole from the last England squad becomes more of a scandal by the match. Like the vast proportion of the football-watching public the Antwerp scout must have wondered what more the man must do to persuade Terry Venables. Isn't 59 goals in 62 games enough?

The questions perplexing Hoddle were how his team, which hitherto had a 100 per cent record, could play so well and yet be thoroughly thrashed and why Dennis Wise was sent off, allegedly for 'foul and abusive language'. The Sirens would have needed amplifiers to tempt sailors if they had been in competition with the Toon Army and Hoddle produced that as Exhibit A for the defence. 'Dennis is adamant he didn't swear,' he said, 'and anyway, no official was within 30 yards of him.'

As to the former mystery, Hoddle will not be the only manager perplexed by the speed and movement of Newcastle. After 19 goals and maximum points from five matches they are the closest thing to an unstoppable force in English football at the moment, and the prospect of the return of Peter Beardsley and Lee Clark is frightening to anyone not sworn to the black and white.

The last time they won their first five matches, in 1908, Newcastle were champions and it is going to take a very gifted team to stop them. That was probably in the Antwerp scout's report, too.

Goals: Cole (7) 1-0; Peacock (15) 1-1; Fox (21) 2-1; Furlong (27) 2-2; Lee (53) 3-2; Cole (66) 4-2.

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Hooper; Hottiger, D Peacock, Albert, Beresford; Watson, Venison, Lee, Sellars; Fox, Cole. Substitutes not used: Howey, Mathie, Burridge (gk).

Chelsea (4-4-2): Kharin; Clarke, Kjeldbjerg, Johnsen, Sinclair; Rocastle (Hoddle, 76), G Peacock, Spackman (Newton, 74), Wise; Furlong, Spencer. Substitute not used: Colgan (gk).

Referee: P Jones (Loughborough).

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
beauty
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BC2

£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Linux Systems Administrator

£33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice