Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle Match Report – 10th January 2015

Chelsea went out on their own at the top of the Premier League table with a 2-0 win over Newcastle. The Blues got revenge for their 2-1 defeat at St James’ Park earlier in the season with goals from Oscar and Diego Costa. They had gone in to this one as joint leaders with Manchester City, but the champions could only manage a 1-1 draw at Everton, which sees Chelsea go two points ahead at the top, as they extended their lead for the first time in months.

Jose Mourinho sprung a few surprises with his selection, keeping Petr Cech in goal ahead of Thibaut Courtois, and playing Kurt Zouma ahead of Gary Cahill. After the torrid time Cahill had against Spurs on New Year’s Day, Zouma deserved a shot at first team football. The rest of the team returned to normal, after the rotation for the FA Cup last weekend.

The first half was a mostly quiet affair, with Newcastle having the most of the early chances. Cech was busy in goal, but he proved that he’s still one of the best keepers the Premier League has to offer, denying Newcastle on several occasions. Things got worse for Chelsea, with Cesar Azpilicueta getting injured and having to come off for Felipe Luis. It was a poor performance from the Blues up until about 40 minutes, then they finally kicked into gear.

The Blues broke the deadlock from a corner late in the first half, when Willian took the corner short and found the run of Branislav Ivanovic. The Serbian took the ball down the right and pulled it back for Oscar. The Brazilian timed his run perfectly, and he was on hand to fire the ball home into the bottom corner. The home side ended the half strongly, with Willian coming close from a free kick.

The Blues doubled their lead just before the hour mark, after Costa added another goal to his impressive tally. Eden Hazard sent the ball into the box towards Oscar, and he pulled off a fantastic back heel flick to tee up Costa. The Spaniard was free in the box, and he found himself some space before firing past Tim Krul. That goal was enough to take him back on top of the goalscoring charts.

After that, the Blues kept control of possession as they probed for a third goal. Costa came close again, but Fabricio Coloccini cleared off the line. That was the last real action of the game, and in the end it was a comfortable win for Chelsea. Eden Hazard played a key part as the Blues went ahead of City in the table. They’ve now got to get back in to their rhythm of grinding out these 2-0 wins if they’re to kick on and win the title. Next up for Mourinho’s side is a trip to Swansea on Saturday.

LCN Man of the Match: Eden Hazard