Hazard, Kovacic start for Chelsea at Newcastle

Maurizio Sarri plans to stick with a back four

- Newcastle might be the worst passing team in the Premier League as the Magpies only completed a mere 200 passes against Chelsea.

With Marcos Alonso still charging forward from left back and the occasionally error-prone David Luiz back in favour under Sarri and one of the two centre backs, there are likely to be goals at both ends of the field when Chelsea play this season.

"All my life, I've liked to talk with players, so I talk with players, we decide what to do and then we stick with the plan, so everybody knows that", he said.

I am not anxious about the defensive phase because when I arrive in a new team I usually have problems for two or three months, so I think it's normal.

Benitez said a lack of options in his squad led him to opt for more defensive tactics, with Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles absent with an ankle injury.

"He has plenty of experience in Serie A and the Champions League and we know he is relishing the chance to work in the Premier League". "Maybe I have to do that [adapt my ideas], but I am better when I play my football, my way of football". Alonso's shot across goal from a free kick was heading wide but under pressure from Ross Barkley behind him, he knocked the ball into his own goal. I was watching and I don't agree with some decisions.

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For 75 minutes Chelsea had the ball and Newcastle lined up in a 5-4-1 formation, defending for their lives.

Rudiger was unfortunate not to score when he rattled the bar with a 30-yard thunderbolt, but the deadlock was broken with 76 minutes gone when Alonso went to ground under debutant Fabian Schar's challenge and referee Paul Tierney pointed to the spot, with Hazard obliging emphatically from 12 yards. "Starting from September, we play three games a week, so there will be space for everybody".

The Blues coach will now switch his attention to his side's crunch tie at St James' Park home to Newcastle United who coincidentally is coached by the man Sarri succeeded at Napoli.

"The match was very hard, they were so low and compact, it was impossible to have spaces". "But I think, in this case, with this team, there are very intelligent players".

"I have never seen a Rafa Benitez side play with five defenders", Sarri said. "He is talking about me because he is missing me", Sarri told reporters ahead of Sunday's trip to Newcastle United. We need to improve, and we want to reach our 100 per cent as soon as possible.

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