Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea moved into the top four with a comfortable 2-0 win over Newcastle at Stamford Bridge. Olivier Giroud and Timo Werner were both on the scoresheet as the Blues made it four straight victories in the Premier League.
The home side started the match as the better side and had chances to take the lead but struggled to take them. However, Chelsea soon found the breakthrough in the first half as substitute Giroud was on hand to put the ball into the back of the net. It got even better not long later as Werner at last ended his goal drought as he tapped home at the back post to double Chelsea’s advantage.
After the restart, Newcastle begun to threaten in front of goal and had a few chances to score. The closest they came was through a header from Joe Willock, which was saved by Kepa. Meanwhile, the home side had opportunities to add to their advantage but Toon ‘keeper Karl Darlow was on hand to prevent the Blues from going further ahead. In the end though, Chelsea saw out the match to continue Tuchel’s unbeaten start as manager.
Thomas Tuchel made six changes to the side that won away at Barnsley on Thursday night as Timo Werner and Mason Mount returned to the starting eleven having been rested for that game. Surprisingly, Kepa retained his place in between the stick which came as a surprise to many. Captain Cesar Azpilicueta and Antonio Rüdiger returned to the back three in place of Emerson and Kurt Zouma.
Meanwhile, the midfield pivot of Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic was back as N’Golo Kante dropped to the bench while Billy Gilmour was out of the matchday squad altogether. Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech had to settle for a place on the bench having both performed poorly at Oakwell.
As for Newcastle, four changes were made by Steve Bruce with the most notable change being Dwight Gayle starting up front in place of the injured Callum Wilson. However, club captain Jamaal Lascelles came back into the side for the Magpies following injury.
Isaac Hayden, who started in defence against Southampton, moved into midfield in place of the suspended Jeff Hendrick. Centre back Fabian Schär and right-back Javier Manquillo were both injured for this game which meant starts for Ciaran Clark and Emil Krafth respectively.
Two minutes into the game, the first real chance fell to the home side as Mateo Kovacic played the ball out wide to Marcos Alonso, whose effort proved easy for Karl Darlow. A few minutes later, Mason Mount delivered in a corner which reached Cesar Azpilicueta, whose header deflected off a Newcastle head and out for a corner.
From the resulting corner, Mount played a short one-two to Callum Hudson-Odoi as Tammy Abraham then headed wide. The home side continued to dominate early on and had yet another corner as Mount once again delivered with Werner heading off target. Chelsea felt as though they should have a penalty on 15 minutes as Abraham was brought down by Jamaal Lascelles but nothing was given despite a VAR check.
Following that tackle, Abraham’s night came to an end as he suffered a knock and was taken off and replaced by Olivier Giroud. On 25 minutes, the Blues had a glorious chance to break the deadlock as Alonso crossed the ball into the middle to Werner as the German just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net, striking wide.
However, with half an hour played, Chelsea’s dominance finally paid off as the deadlock was broken at Stamford Bridge. Werner did well on the left hand side off the area as his cross was palmed away by Darlow which fell kindly into the path of substitute Giroud, who slotted into an empty net. A few minutes after, it was almost 2-0 as the ball fell into the path of Werner, who fired just over the bar as his drought in front of goal continued.
However, seven minutes before the break, Werner at last found the back of the net. The corner was put in by Mount as it came all the way to the back-post as Werner was there to put the ball home. Darlow did save his effort but the ball had already over the line. After an agonising VAR check, it was Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle. A goal that will really boost his confidence.
A few moments after that goal, Mount had an effort on the edge of the area but the ball flew wide of the target.
Mount had another chance for the home side before the break as he was acres of space but struck well wide. That was the final chance of the a completely dominant first half as Chelsea went in at the break two goals to the good and looked on course for the three points. Newcastle, meanwhile, had to struggled to create any chances and did very little to threaten Kepa.
HT: Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle
Two minutes after the restart, Newcastle had a rare effort on goal as a free kick by Jonjo Shelvey was caught by Kepa. Meanwhile, up the other end, Hudson-Odoi cross-field ball deflected off Jamal Lewis and out for a corner. From that resulting set piece, an attempt on the far side from Mount was parried away by Darlow.
13 minutes into the second half, Alonso’s deflected pass came to Hudson-Odoi on the opposite side, who then laid it off to Kovacic as the Croatian struck inches over the bar. With a little over an hour played, Newcastle made their first change of the game as Dwight Gayle made way for Joelinton in the hope of the Magpies trying to find a way back in the game.
The home side continued to search for a third goal as Mount played the ball Hudson-Odoi, whose effort was kept out by Darlow. It was to be Mount’s last impact of the game as he was taken off with N’Golo Kanté coming on in his place. Meanwhile, for the visitors, Ryan Fraser came on with Allan Saint-Maximin making way.
With 16 minutes to go, Newcastle had a great chance as the ball was crossed into the middle by substitute Fraser to Joe Willock, whose header was kept out well by Kepa. Tuchel made one final change of the game as Reece James was brought on with Callum Hudson-Odoi coming off having put in a solid shift. The right-back almost made an instant impact after coming as his strike on goal was saved by Darlow.
Andy Carroll was the third and final substitution made by Steve Bruce as came on in place of Willock. With eight minute to go, Carroll flicked the ball onto Miguel Almirón, who could only volley wide in what was a wasted chance. However, in the end, Chelsea comfortably saw out the second half to pick up another three points.
FT: Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle
Chelsea (3-4-2-1): Kepa (GK); Azpilicueta (c), Christensen, Rüdiger; Hudson-Odoi, Jorginho, Kovacic, Alonso; Mount, Werner; Abraham
Subs used: Giroud (for Abraham, 19 mins), Kanté (for Mount, 70 mins), James (for Hudson-Odoi, 77 mins)
Goals: Giroud (31 mins), Werner (39 mins)
Newcastle (4-3-1-2): Darlow (GK); Krafth, Lascelles (c), Clark, Lewis; Willock, Hayden, Shelvey; Almirón; Gayle, Saint-Maximin
Subs used: Joelinton (for Gayle, 63 mins), Fraser (for Saint-Maximin, 72 mins), Carroll (for Willock, 79 mins)
Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle: Final Thoughts
Once again, it was a very good performance and a deserved victory from the Blues as we now move into the top four. Werner had a solid game again and it was pleasing to see him end his goal drought. Hopefully this will be the start of something big. Kepa had very little to do tonight but keeping a clean sheet will be a boost to his confidence whilst Kovacic had another good game. Giroud was another player that stood out getting on the scoresheet, having replaced Abraham early on in the game.
13 points from a possible 15 is a great start to life under Tuchel and I believe it’s a sign of good things to come. However, we do have a tough run of fixtures coming up including Atletico Madrid in the Champions League next week and Manchester United after that.
Next up for Chelsea is a trip to the South Coast to take on Southampton in the early kick-off on Saturday as we will look to continue our good run of form. As for Newcastle, Steve Bruce’s side head to Old Trafford to take on 2nd placed Manchester United.
Written by Matt North (@MattNorth_)
Edited by Rob Pratley