Chelsea took the game within the first 15 minutes at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening, as Diego Costa, Pedro and Willian took the game out of Newcastle’s site before we had even reached 6’o’clock.
Guus Hiddink’s side produced their best performance of his reign, whilst the Magpies were falling apart defensively from the minute that Diego Costa lost Steven Taylor to put Chelsea ahead within the first five minutes. Willian, as ever, was brilliant and his driving run past Cheick Tiote created the space to then assist Diego Costa before Pedro nipped the ball away from Daryl Janmaat to neatly tuck away a finish as the Blues counter attacked from a Newcastle set piece.
Newcastle are clearly in relegation peril and defending like this will only make sides attack more aggressively.
Willian capped off the splendid first half display with his goal in the 17th minute, as Costa dragged Fabricio Coloccini around and slipped an inch perfect pass into the Brazilian whilst Newcastle midfielders stood around like tracking runners wasn’t part of their job role.
Despite the joy of the result, the Blues’ day was hit hard with the injury to John Terry. The skipper is closing in on his 700th appearance for the club, but a clumsy clash with Mitrovic he was substituted and Chelsea face the terrifying prospect of Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill at centre-half against the might of Paris Saint Germain. Don’t forget if you want to get involved with some betting action you can find out more about using codes on Ladbrokes.
Although the horse had well and truly bolted, McClaren brought Jack Colback on at half-time as a damage limitation measure and Newcastle begun the second half with more of a threat than they possessed at any time during the first half. Chelsea, once they had taken their 3-0 lead, took their foot off the gas and looked comfortable to keep as much energy as possible before the Champions League Last 16 fixture on Tuesday.
A rare sighting of Bertrand Traore allowed Diego Costa to rest, before Pedro popped his second goal of the game in as the former Barca forward looks for some form as we head into the final games of the season. Unlike Mourinho’s days, Hiddink took the opportunity to give younger players minutes in a big league fixture, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek also featuring for the last 10 minutes or so.
Bertrand Traore tapped in a Cesar Azpilicueta cross late on to put the Blues 5 up, which was swiftly followed by Eden Hazard missing a clear cut chance to score his first league goal of the campaign.
Newcastle managed to secure themselves a late consolation as Andros Townsend scored a sharp solo effort as Chelsea, yet again, failed to keep a clean sheet. The Blues will have far bigger concerns this evening with the injuries to both Zouma and Terry leaving Hiddink very short on options at centre-back before the big game on Tuesday night.
Chelsea’s performance cannot be under mined by Newcastle’s lack of desire during the first half and the Blues should be congratulated for being so quick out of the blocks to capitalise on the Magpies’ sloppy defensive play. Cesc Fabregas was back to his creative best from deep, thanks to some lazy Newcastle pressing, but Eden Hazard’s form is still of concern as the Belgian was the least effective Chelsea forward.
Facing PSG could still be an utter humiliation, but this performance will at least give belief to a squad of players who have begun to show some grit in the last few matches. John Obi Mikel will play a significant role on Tuesday night and Diego Costa will need to remain focused on goals rather than stamps if the Blues are to have any chance of making the quarter finals of Europe’s premier club competition.
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