Kai Havertz, who escaped a sending off in the first half, pounced after 89 minutes and finished superbly to hand Chelsea all three points.
Chelsea edged Newcastle 1-0 on Sunday amid the ongoing uncertainty over the club’s ownership. Kai Havertz, who escaped a sending off in the first half, pounced after 89 minutes and finished superbly to hand Chelsea all three points and end Newcastle’s nine-match unbeaten run. While the result has ramifications in third-place Chelsea’s quest for a top-four finish, the match was played against an uncertain backdrop given Roman Abramovich’s alleged ties to Russia President Vladimir Putin.
Havertz told Sky Sports: “It’s tough, we players are privileged to train and continue to do what we love. We feel sorry for everyone. The supporters, the workers, not just us professionals. It’s a tough time for everyone. We try to give everything for them in the moment. We have to stand together, we try to do this and give them a good feeling.”
The Premier League disqualified owner Roman Abramovich on Saturday after the United Kingdom government sanctioned him in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It left the club facing a string of stringent regulations to adhere to, including the closure of the club shop, inability to sell merchandise or offer new contracts to players.
Abramovich can still sell the club if the government grant him a licence to do so, which would be on the proviso he does not personally profit from any sale. Sources have told ESPN that numerous parties remain keen on buying Chelsea, including New York Jets owner Robert “Woody” Johnson as well as Los Angeles Dodgers and LA Lakers part-owner Todd Boehly alongside Swiss billionaire Hansjorg Wyss.
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While there’s major uncertainty off the pitch, both teams had a job to do on it with Chelsea looking to consolidate their place in the top four and Newcastle keen to pull further away from relegation worries. Eddie Howe’s side impressed in spells in the first half, with Dan Burn going close with a header before he was felled by a stray elbow from Havertz. David Coote handed Havertz a yellow card and a VAR check confirmed his decision amid some controversy.
Newcastle wanted a penalty just before the hour mark when Trevoh Chalobah felled Jacob Murphy in the area but the referee waved away their calls before Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel introduced Romelu Lukaku in search for the breakthrough.