On September 27, 2012, Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew signed a historic eight-year contract, which he is still just at the beginning of. All going well for him, he will remain at St James' Park until 2020, and the main reason behind the club's decision to commit their long-term future to the former West Ham United boss was their performance the season before, during which they managed a fifth-place Premier League finish.
After their result on this day in 2012, however, it was looking set to be so much better for the Magpies. The fixture list had thrown up a very intriguing clash with just three games to play as Chelsea, in fifth, took on Newcastle, who were fourth and just a point ahead. A win for the Magpies would put them right in contention for the impossible, that they would breach the Premier League's top four. In their favour they had January signing from Freiburg Papiss Cisse, who had 11 in 12 to his name before the trip to Stamford Bridge.
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Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo was trying to salvage what had to this point been a disappointing season for the Blues. They were still in the Champions League and into the final of the FA Cup, but a sixth-place finish, which was a very real possibility, would have been unheard of at the start of the season. He started with Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge up front, but neither was to have much say against a firing Magpies side.
Up next for Newcastle was Manchester City at home, so if they were to usurp Tottenham Hotspur, who before this game were three points ahead with a superior goal difference, then they would do it the hard way. With the cup final at the weekend Frank Lampard, Ashley Cole, Juan Mata and Didier Drogba were all left on the bench and it led to a disjointed display from the home side.
Even so, Torres was creating some threat in attack and looked more lively than at most points since his £50m move from Liverpool. However, on 19 minutes Cisse - the best player on the pitch across the 90 - gave his side the lead. Davide Santon found him, before Cisse teed himself up with a flick before flashing a strike past Petr Cech in the Chelsea goal. Chelsea were far from out of the game, but were guilty of wastefulness as Florent Malouda and Branislav Ivanovic both put chances wide.
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Just before the break Newcastle were inches away from doubling their lead. Demba Ba, now of Chelsea, had Cech beaten with a strike from the edge of the box but his effort came back off the bar. Mata made an appearance from the bench for the second half, but he was unable to weave the magic to get Chelsea back in the game as it looked increasingly like an away win.
If Cisse's first goal was good, then his second was a goal of the season contender for sure. The game was into the 10 minutes of stoppage time for an injury to Cheick Tiote when a throw-in from the left was touched on to Cisse by Shola Ameobi. The Senegalese caught Cech out with an outrageous curling attempt from the corner of the box that dipped and looped into the top corner to seal the points and maintain the Magpies' top-half charge.
In the end, they lost their last two games of the season to miss out on a top-four place, but Pardew had worked wonders and was rewarded with his new deal at the start of the next season. Chelsea ended up sixth but won the Champions League on penalties, which saved the embarrassment of a poor league season.