Alan Shearer is back with the Toon Army. To many Newcastle United fans, this fact has not yet sunk in, and coming hours before April Fool's day, there was a sense of surrealism to it. We will know if this is a marriage made in heaven in 8 matches but the romance will be good while it lasted, regardless of whether Newcastle are relegated.
On Saturday, Shearer led his charges into battle against Chelsea as his managerial debut. This was an epic mismatch as Shearer is a greenhorn who has passed most coaching badges but not received a FIFA Pro License. Conversely, Chelsea's coach, Guus Hiddink, has six Dutch league titles and two fourth-place finishes at the World Cup under his belt.
Based on form, even though Chelsea suffered a 1-0 defeat in their last game away to Tottenham Hotspur, they boast the best away record in the top flight. Chelsea are also motivated to win to maintain a shot at the Premier League title.
Nevertheless, romanticists held out the hope of an upset as Shearer was very much of a bogey-man for Hiddink, having humiliated the Dutchman twice as a player in Euro 96 and the Uefa Cup. Five years ago, Alan Shearer also netted his 173rd goal for Newcastle United as they won against Chelsea 2-1 to edge closer to a fifth-placed finish in the Premier League.
Alas, it was not to be. Chelsea strolled to a comfortable 2-0 victory and closed the gap with Premier League leaders Manchester United to a single point while Newcastle slipped deeper into relegation trouble. That is already a hat-trick of gift-wrapped points to top teams, including Manchester United and Arsenal in recent weeks.
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