By Dan King - Newcastle United Club Reporter
Chelsea 2 (Hazard 22, Torres 45)
Newcastle United 0
SECOND HALF UPDATES
90+4mins: It's full-time and despite a battling second half display from United, they have lost 2-0 to the league leaders. Eden Hazard and Fernando Torres were the goalscorers and it wa fitting because they were the two best players on the pitch. Alan Pardew will be buoyed by the way his team played in the second period, though, and attention now turns to two home games: Atromitos on Thursday night and Aston Villa next Sunday. Newcastle are still on 998 Premier League goals but will be looking to hit the 1,000 mark against the Villans. Tickets for both games are available here.
90mins: There will be four minutes of added time at Stamford Bridge and those loyal Newcastle fans know the game's up now - but they're still singing their hearts out for the lads with Geordie voices drowning out the Cockney crowd despite the scoreline.
88mins: Raul Meireles makes way for Frank Lampard as Chelsea make a late change, and that shouldn't affect the home side's shape too much in these final few minutes.
84mins: A huge chance for Newcastle is squandered as Petr Cech comes to Chelsea's rescue. Marveaux got in a cross from the left and Ryan Taylor headed it back across goal to Ba, who went to hit it first time but miskicked. He got a second bite of the cherry, though, and this time looked certain to slot home from ten yards but as he went for placement over power, the Blues keeper got down well to deny him - and surely end any lingering hopes of a comeback.
80mins: Chelsea have been virtually non-existent as an attacking force in this second period, but Ryan Bertrand almost makes it 3-0 with a long-range strike. He advanced towards goal before letting fly and Krul got an important touch at full stretch to turn it around the post, with United defending well from the resulting corner.
74mins: Newcastle's second change sees another full-back replaced - this time Davide Santon, as Sylvain Marveaux is brought into the fray. Jonas Gutierrez will play as an attacking left-back with Marveaux tasked with bringing some new ideas to the Magpies midfield.
68mins: Ben Arfa - who is really carrying the fight for Newcastle - was fouled by the left touchline and Ryan Taylor swings over a good ball from the free-kick which Cisse gets underneath to head over from six yards out. That was a decent chance to get one back but it went begging.
67mins: Roberto Di Matteo responds with a change of his own, bringing on energetic midfielder Ramires in place of playmaker Mata. The Chelsea boss knows his team are under pressure and is aiming to shore things up to stem the tide.
64mins: Ryan Taylor is on in place of Danny Simpson and immediately runs on to take a corner, won by Ben Arfa in front of the away fans. It's well headed away by Mikel, though, and so the sub has to jog back into position which appears to be right-back, meaning it's a straight swap. Pardew clearly thinks the Scouser's dead ball expertise could come into play with United currently taking the game to Chelsea.
59mins: More Magpies pressure and another shot on goal which this time brings a save out of Cech. Cabaye saw his shot blocked by Gary Cahill but it dropped for Ba, who made space in the box and got in a low strike from an acute angle which the Chelsea keeper and captain blocked with his legs at the near post.
54mins: Danny Simpson sees an intial cross charged down but is alert enough to pick up the pieces and send over another right-wing delivery which is met by the head of Cisse on the penalty spot, but sadly the number nine's nod goes over the bar. A goal now would certainly make things interesting though - the momentum is currently with Alan Pardew's side as they try to find a route back into the match.
52mins: Newcastle have started this second half rather well and are passing the ball much better than they were in the first period, and Ben Arfa almost pulls one back. He produces a feint to beat a defender and then drills a left-footed strike from the edge of the box which zips agonisingly wide of the far post. Then good pressure from Gutierrez sees him get a sight of goal as he wins possession and instantly lets fly from 25 yards, but that effort didn't come close to finding the target.
46mins: The Magpies kick off the second period with no changes for either side. This evening's crowd has been announced as 41,718 and United are now kicking towards the stand where their fans are housed - the Shed End where Papiss Cisse scored THAT goal last season.
FIRST HALF UPDATES
45+4mins: Dowd's whistle blows and it's half-time, with Newcastle facing an uphill struggle in the second half against the European champions. During the half-time break, why not make sure you've got your tickets for the Magpies' next two games at home to Atromitos on Thursday and Aston Villa on Sunday? Prices for the Europa League tie are just £15 for adults and £5 concessions while the Villa clash has been designated as a category C fixture, meaning great value in all areas of the stadium. Don't miss out - get your seats here.
45+2mins - CHELSEA GOAL: There's nothing worse than conceding just before half-time but that's exactly what Newcastle have just done and Alan Pardew faces an even tougher team-talk now. It was some goal, to be fair, and there wasn't too much that anybody could do to prevent it. Slick, one-touch football from the hosts ended with Hazard beautifully backheeling to Torres for the Spaniard to thump a shot into the top corner from just inside the area. United have won two and drawn two of their last four visits to Stamford Bridge in all competitions, but than unbeaten run could be coming to an end unless they can stage a second half fightback.
45mins: There will be four minutes of stoppage time at the end of the half, as indicated by fourth official Chris Foy.
44mins: After David Luiz won the ball from Cisse in the box and casually strode out, Danny Simpson snaps into a challenge to dispossess him on the edge of the area. The ball breaks to Cisse, with the Chelsea defender out of position, and he gets in a snapshot on the turn but it's straight down Petr Cech's throat. Either side of him and that would have been an equaliser.
41mins: Papiss Cisse does well on the right to deliver a decent cross towards Ba, whose header drops over the bar. It was a difficult chance for him as there wasn't a great deal of pace on the delivery and he had to try to generate all the power himself - and ended up getting a little too much on it.
40mins: Torres becomes the first player booked for what Phil Dowd thought was a dive from the Spaniard, but it did appear that Coloccini had tripped him and the referee has made a couple of puzzling calls now after denying Newcastle what looked a blantant free-kick on the edge of the box a few minutes earlier when Ba went to ground.
35mins: Great play from Juan Mata sees the Spaniard draw Danny Simpson in and then release Hazard, who in turn slips in Mata again to deliver a dangerous low cross which Coloccini does well to defend. Then Steven Taylor's weak defensive header falls kindly for Hazard, who lashes the ball high and wide. The Belgian is posing a real threat to the Magpies though and at the moment they'll probably be happy to go into the break just one goal down.
31mins: Ashley Cole does well down the left, right in front of the Newcastle fans in that corner, and sends over a cross for Branislav Ivanovic to attack. The defender gets above Davide Santon with a superb leap and only a smart stop from Krul, who not only kept it out but held onto the ball, denies him a third goal in three games so far this term. The two Chelsea full-backs almost combined for a second Blues goal there and they're on top at the moment.
22mins - CHELSEA GOAL (1-0): Eden Hazard tucks away the penalty for his first goal for the Blues. Krul went the right way but it was struck into the bottom corner, to the keeper's right, and there was no saving it. The hosts lead after what had been a fairly even start to the match.
21mins: Chelsea have a penalty. Torres, who looks like the player of old at the moment, took the ball down and jinked into the box, where he was clipped by Anita and went to ground. It was an easy decision for Phil Dowd and Newcastle could have no real complaints about that one. Anita escapes a yellow card.
18mins: Bertrand's main job may be to nullify Ben Arfa but he almost gave Chelsea the lead as Torres held the ball up well and cut the ball back for him to strike from 14 yards. Fabricio Coloccini slides in, though, and does just enough as the England under-21 man hurries his shot and puts it too close to Krul. That was the best opportunity yet in these opening exchanges.
13mins: Ben Arfa strides upfield with a couple of defenders at his heels and chips over a clever pass for Demba Ba to hit first time inside the area. The striker's shot is off target and he was under pressure when he struck it, but it was a good move from the Magpies. At the other end, Eden Hazard runs at the defence and gets in a low effort from outside the area but it's straight at Tim Krul who collects with ease.
9mins: Fernando Torres races forward and gets into the box but has to square the ball after good pressure from Fabricio Coloccini and Mikel blazes wildly over from 20 yards out. For United, Hatem Ben Arfa has made a bright start, leaving Ashley Cole for dead with one superb piece of skill, and it would appear that Roberto Di Matteo has asked Ryan Bertrand to double up on the Frenchman in an attempt to keep him quiet.
7mins: The Blues have dictated play so far, keeping possession well with Newcastle sitting deep and looking to hit them on the break. Vurnon Anita could have a pivotal role to play in the defensive midfield role and so far he's made a couple of superb tackles to win the ball for Alan Pardew's men despite playing the full 90 minutes against Atromitos less than 48 hours ago.
5mins: After John Obi Mikel held off Demba Ba with what looked a clear obstruction near the halfway line, the Chelsea man fed Raul Meireles and with nothing much on, the Portuguese midfielder lets fly from 30 yards but it skews off his boot and swerves well off target.
1min: At one point this afternoon there were genuine fears that this game might not be on, but we're underway now with Newcastle attacking towards the Matthew Harding Stand in this first half. There was thunder and lightning above Stamford Bridge a couple of hours before kick-off and standing water had started to form on the pitch, but the weather has improved dramatically and Chelsea have got us started with the hosts in their blue kit and the Magpies in black and white (home shirt available here).
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Petr Cech (c); Branislav Ivanovic, Gary Cahill, David Luiz, Ashley Cole; John Obi Mikel, Raul Meireles (Frank Lampard 88); Juan Mata (Ramires 67), Eden Hazard, Ryan Bertrand; Fernando Torres
Substitutes: Ross Turnbull, Oriol Romeu, Michael Essien, Oscar, Daniel Sturridge
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson (Ryan Taylor 64), Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon (Sylvain Marveaux 74); Hatem Ben Arfa, Vurnon Anita, Yohan Cabaye (James Perch 77), Jonas Gutierrez; Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse
Referee: Phil Dowd