Chelsea 2 Newcastle 2: Steven Taylor strike leaves Carlo Ancelotti on the brink

15 May 2011 07:55
ShareThe latest episode in what appears to be the slow death of Carlo Ancelotti somehow epitomised his second campaign.

A lead surrendered, an indifferent performance and a manager looking on, glazed and isolated.

Steven Taylor scrambled Newcastle a deserved equaliser in stoppage time, a goal which condemns Chelsea to their worst haul of Barclays Premier League points since Roman Abramovich took over.

Taylor made: Newcastle defender Steven (left) leaves the Chelsea defence stunned

Ancelotti stood at the mouth of the tunnel, staring into the middle distance, as the teams left the pitch. Four of his players trudged past - no eye contact, no handshake - beforethe Italian spun on his heels and disappeared towards the dressing rooms.

He reappeared half an hour later, trundling reluctantly behind the players and their children on an end-of-season lap of appreciation as Branislav Ivanovic's son Stefan stole the show by bundling a couple of goals into an empty net in front of the Matthew Harding Stand.

Most fans had drained from Stamford Bridge by this point. Perhaps there were 10,000 left inside the stadium and they applauded the squad and sang the manager's name. Ever dignified, Ancelotti offered a gentle wave, lengthened his stride, cut afew corners and was the first back down the tunnel.

Pick that out: Branislav Ivanovic (left) volleys home Chelsea's first goal

Last year, he was Chelsea's first Double winning manager and led a mass choir of supporters from an open-top bus. Last night, he made his way home from the Bridge, unsure whether he will be back in charge of the team and unaware of any hard facts.

'I don't know what will happen,' saidAncelotti. 'Everyone can give an opinion about my job here. It is the club who have to judge. If my job was good, I will stay. If they think it was not good, I will have to go. In my opinion, sometimes I did a good job, sometimes I could do better.

'We have to wait just one week. A week is not a long period. You're asking questions I'm not able to answer. You have to propose this question to the club, not to me. I cannot give an answer.'

Back in the game: Ryan Taylor's (16) shot deflects off team-mate Jonas Gutierrez (18) and goes in

Rising high: Alex (second left) nods Chelsea back in front late on

Chelsea v Newcastle - match facts Chelsea (4-3-2-1): Cech 5; Ivanovic 6, Alex 7, Terry 6, Cole 6; Ramires 6 (Malouda 64min, 5), McEachran 6 (Essien 64, 6), Lampard 6; Benayoun 5 (Drogba 64, 6), Anelka 6; Torres 5. Subs not used: Turnbull, Ferreira, Luiz, Mikel. Booked: Terry, Ramires, Lampard, Ivanovic.

Newcastle (4-4-1-1): Krul 5; Simpson 5, Coloccini 7, S Taylor 7, Enrique 7; Lovenkrands 5(Sam Ameobi 83), R Taylor 6, Barton 6, Ferguson 6 (LuaLua 69, 6); Gutierrez 6 (Ranger 76); Shola Ameobi 6. Subs not used: Soderberg, Smith, Tavernier, Kuqi. Booked: Simpson, Enrique.

Referee: Lee Mason 5.

Man of the Match: Steven Taylor. 

Chelsea's backing for Ancelotti vanished in February, when chief executive Ron Gourlay revealed the manager's position would be assessed at the end of the season. Since then, the silence has been deafening.

The club, who end their campaign at Everton on Sunday, still look set to finish runners-up behind ManchesterUnited but they cannot surpass 74 points.

The previous low under Abramovich hadbeen in 2003-04 when Claudio Ranieri's team compiled 79. The same old problems were in evidence yesterday.

A proud and talented team nearing theend of their natural cycle, but a limited squad, undermined by a poor recent transfer policy and lacking variety to change direction when things went badly.

Ancelotti made six changes to the side beaten at Old Trafford the previous week, including giving a full Premier League debut for Josh McEachran, Yossi Benayoun's first League start for the club and a recall for Fernando Torres, but Chelsea found Newcastle spirited opponents.

Ivanovic used his knee to put the home side ahead in the second minute but the visitors soon levelled whenRyan Taylor's free-kick hit Jonas Gutierrez in the back and beat Petr Cech. Torres had a hand in the opener but it failed to inspire him.

Is this the way out? Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti watches on as his future grows increasingly uncertain

Firing blanks: Fernando Torres (right) failed to get on the scoresheet again

The Spaniard soon drifted out of touch, seemingly devoid of confidence and desperate for a rest. Abramovich winced as an early shot from his ?50million striker narrowly missed a corner flag. Ancelotti reverted to the old guard after the break.

On came the muscle of Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Florent Malouda and off went the craft of McEachran, Ramires and Benayoun.

No love lost: Joey Barton (front) and Frank Lampard go in for a crunching tackle

With seven minutes left, Alex driftedaway from his marker to head in a free-kick which was badly misjudged by Tim Krul. It ought to have been the winner but the visitors, who brought famous sibling substitutes Sammy Ameobi and Kazenga LuaLua from the bench, responded with another set-piece.

Ryan Taylor's deep corner reached Nile Ranger, who was free beyond the far post, and he headed the ball back into the goalmouth.

Steven Taylor was completely alone ashe headed powerfully inside the post. 'When you concede a lot of goals in the last minute, something is wrong,' mused Ancelotti.

Some bench: The arrival of Didier Drogba (left) was inevitable after Torres' poor performance

Next: Everton v CHELSEA, NEWCASTLE v West Bromwich (both Sunday)

 I will reveal all about the slump that cost Chelsea the title, warns AncelottiAncelotti warns against Chelsea clear-out and backs Torres to be a hitAll the latest Chelsea FC news, features and opinionAll the latest Newcastle United FC news, features and opinionPREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Chelsea 1 Newcastle 1 - the action from Stamford Bridge as it happened

 Explore more:People: Steven Taylor, Jonas Gutierrez, Petr Cech, Ryan Taylor, Carlo Ancelotti, John Terry, Michael Essien, Danny Simpson, Fernando Torres, Frank Lampard, Joey Barton, Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba, Roman Abramovich Places: Newcastle

Source: Daily_Mail

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