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CHELSEA barely stepped out of second gear as they swept Newcastle United aside on Saturday, running out 2-0 winners at St James’s Park.
Federico Fernandez’s early own goal was added to by Tammy Abraham in the second half, but the Blues created enough chances to be out of sight well before they were.
Frank Lampard admitted that he was pleased to right the wrongs of a defeat on Tyneside back in January, but said his side could have been more convincing.
“We showed [we were focused] in our preparation and performance,” the Blues boss said. “It is a difficult game to come here and play against a team we lost against last year while dominating possession.
“Today we dominated possession and we scored our goals. We could have scored more and we kept a clean sheet, so I can be very happy with that.”
Newcastle started well, but the first chances of the game fell to Chelsea. Timo Werner forced Karl Darlow into a good save with a shot from a tight angle before the goalkeeper tipped Abraham’s header over the bar.
It was third time lucky for Lampard’s side. Following a short corner with 10 minutes gone, Fernandez inadvertently deflected the ball into the net under pressure from Ben Chilwell.
Moments later Werner got in again and flashed an effort across goal, but Abraham couldn’t latch onto it. By the half-hour mark the German striker had squandered another opportunity as he missed the target from close range.
The Magpies, camped in their own half, were struggling for a foothold. Allan Saint-Maximin did test the Chelsea defence with a shot that deflected wide, but the Blues headed into the break sitting comfortably — if cursing the fact that they weren’t further ahead.
With Fabian Schar arriving after half time, and Isaac Hayden and Joelinton looking to punish the visitors for poor finishing, Newcastle were still within striking distance of an equaliser.
But Chelsea soon reasserted themselves, and Abraham finally settled the tie with just over 25 minutes remaining as he scored in his third successive game. Werner led a blistering counter attack, ghosting across the turf untouched, before playing in his strike partner who finished emphatically off the post.
Sean Longstaff almost halved the deficit late on; his superb drive from distance left Edouard Mendy stranded, only for it to crash against the bar.
But for every Newcastle chance, Chelsea seemed to create two more at the other end. Werner’s goal was disallowed for offside before Mason Mount’s shot drifted narrowly wide.
In truth, Newcastle looked beaten long before that as they suffered back-to-back league defeats for the first time this season.
Steve Bruce said that his team must arrest a worrying theme of conceding early goals.
“There was lots to like about the second half. We’ve got to give ourselves a chance,” he said. “That is the fifth time we have gone one down with five or 10 minutes played. We have to address that.”
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