Newcastle United 0 Chelsea 2
- Craig Pawson
A Federico Fernández own goal and a second-half strike from Tammy Abraham saw Newcastle United beaten comfortably by Chelsea at St. James’ Park on Saturday lunchtime.
The Magpies again saw little of the ball and were chasing the game from the moment Fernández put through his own net ten minutes in. The visitors dominated after that, but didn’t put the outcome beyond doubt until Abraham capped off a swift break midway through the second period.
Allan Saint-Maximin and Joelinton – the latter recalled to the team after Callum Wilson failed a late fitness test – saw half-chances come and go for United but, in truth, Steve Bruce’s side could have few complaints as the Blues coasted over the finishing line and moved to the top of the Premier League table.
Newcastle started reasonably – seeing a couple of early set-pieces go begging – but the pattern for much of the game was established soon after that. As the Blues started to get a foothold, the Magpies dropped off, allowing Frank Lampard’s side to dominate possession even more. Timo Werner was the first to threaten for the visitors, forcing Karl Darlow into a fine low stop at the ‘keeper’s far post.
Darlow’s next save was yet more impressive, denying Abraham after the frontman connected with Hakim Ziyech’s well-weighted ball in. Chelsea played the resultant corner short and, from it, they took the lead. Werner and Mason Mount linked up down the right and the England midfielder played a delicious cross across the face of goal. Fernández, at the back post, lost his bearings, and bundled the ball into his own net.
United failed to offer anything in response, with the Blues continuing to make all of the running. They ought to have doubled their advantage through Werner on the half-hour mark after the German international found a pocket of space inside the Magpies’ penalty area. However, he was unable to make the net bulge, instead dragging a tame shot wide of the upright.
Newcastle’s only real opportunity of the opening half fell the way of Saint-Maximin. The Frenchman gathered Joelinton’s pass after a rare Magpies foray into the Chelsea half, but after skipping past a couple of challenges, the winger saw his attempt deflect off N’Golo Kanté and drop wide for a corner, which came to nothing.
The Magpies lost skipper Jamaal Lascelles to injury at the interval, with Fabian Schär coming on in his place. The Swiss defender got away with one within minutes of his introduction, carelessly losing possession to Werner in his own half and allowing the attacker a run at goal. Rather than shoot, though, Werner instead tried to square for Ziyech, but saw a weak pass cut out.
United then enjoyed what was to prove their most promising spell of the game. Saint-Maximin turned provider for Joelinton after an hour, with the Chelsea backline standing off the Brazilian on the edge of the penalty area. He got plenty of power behind his strike but not the accuracy, and Blues goalkeeper Édouard Mendy watched the ball fly high of the target. Just seconds before that, Isaac Hayden had blazed over the top with just Mendy to beat, though a handball in the build-up ultimately rendered the miss academic.
It was following another Magpies attack, however, that the Blues put the game beyond doubt. They broke quick after a United move broke down, with Werner carrying the ball forward. He glided unchallenged past Fernández and Sean Longstaff before playing Abraham through, and the Blues frontman slid the ball home via the near post.
That was pretty much game, set and match. Longstaff nearly pulled one back, rattling the crossbar from 20 yards after the Magpies played a corner short themselves, while Mount came close to adding a third for Chelsea late on. 2-0 it finished, though, as the Blues won at St. James’ for just the second time in their last eight visits.