Chelsea slumped into the World Cup break after a 1-0 loss to Newcastle at St James' Park on Saturday evening.
Graham Potter's men, like they have been in recent weeks, were utterly pitiful in a pathetic performance which offered precisely zero glimpses of hope or quality.
To say the first period wasn't a classic would be the understatement of the century, with neither team carving out a chance of any notable merit. A wild hack over the bar from in-form Miguel Almiron was the sum of a truly dismal 45 minutes.
Potter will have hoped for things to click into gear pretty sharpish, after having the best seat in the house to watch his side so devoid of creativity in the first half.
Things only went from bad to worse after the break, compounded by a well-taken long range drive from Joe Willock in the 67th minute to put the Magpies in front and clinch the win as it transpired. The Pensioners were to muster up no real answer.
This was a miserable day at the office, a performance for which spineless and gutless doesn't quite cover it. Chelsea will return on Boxing Day when they face Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge, with the World Cup interval offering up some respite and mercy for Chelsea supporters. In the meantime, here is how Absolute Chelsea rated the players’ performances against Newcastle...
Edouard Mendy - 5/10
One real assignment of note and he couldn't rise to it, although he stood very little chance in stopping Joe Willock's sweetly taken strike. Generally poor in his distribution, which was certainly of no help on this difficult evening in particular.
Cesar Azpilicueta - 5/10 
Swiftly shifted into wing-back to cover for Ruben Loftus-Cheek's early injury, and it was a tough half of football all told before he was withdrawn at the break. One moment in particular when Joe Willock left him all ends up and the Spaniard desperately scrambled back was evidence enough it is not his most suitable role these days.
Trevoh Chalobah - 6/10
Did a decent enough job in the tackles and battles, although seemingly immune to playing forward which really stifled Chelsea in being too predictable in their patterns playing out from the back.
Kalidou Koulibaly - 4/10
Shaky and bothered under the duress of the Newcastle press. Poor to effectively lose out to the diminutive Almiron in a high ball, which led to the hosts' goal. Must do better.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek - N/A 
Jorginho - 5/10
Utterly suffocated in the midfield battle and without space to impress his rhythm upon the fixture. A couple of nice ideas to play forward here and there, with none coming to fruition.
Mateo Kovacic - 4/10
If he was anonymous at best during the midweek fixture at Manchester City, he was outright sloppy here. Careless in possession on a number of occasions and his passing radar was all off. One can only hope the Croatian plays himself into form at the World Cup, because the last few weeks have been pretty drab by his lofty standards.
Lewis Hall - 7/10 
Eighteen years of age and the lone spark in a beleaguered Blues outfit - it doesn't bode well, does it? Quite clearly not his natural position with a few moments of defensive naivety, but he looked about the only man in blue playing with any pride and with quality in the locker.
Conor Gallagher - 5/10
Put in a real shift in during the defensive phase, which was important in the large periods in which Chelsea had to dig in. Yet his offensive contribution was effectively blunted, unable to exert any element of control on the game - or the ball, for that matter - beyond Nick Pope being equal to his attempt midway through the second half. Dished out enough grief to the referee, which he would perhaps have been better served channelling into something more constructive.
Mason Mount - 4/10 
Looked industrious without threatening to launch anything resembling a dangerous attack, or even an attack would have sufficed. Physically bullied by Eddie Howe's men in what was just the latest torrid performance from a player who has completely lost his way this season.
Armando Broja - 6/10 
Really did work his socks off, making himself available in the channels and trying his level best to alleviate some pressure by stretching the play. But he may as well have been marooned on a desert island, for all the support he had at his disposal.
Thiago Silva - 6/10 
A little mystifying as to how he didn't start the game, the World Cup notwithstanding. Perfectly adequate in his role at the back and probably wondering how he's ended up spending his twilight years suffering alongside colleagues of such little accountability.
Christian Pulisic - 6/10 
The biggest compliment you could afford the American was that he was the most proactive member of the forward unit, and actively tried to make something happen - but he doesn't get enough opportunities to get enough momentum going, so he often comes into games cold.
Hakim Ziyech - N/A 
Marc Cucurella - N/A 
Kai Havertz - N/A 
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