After a week that left Chelsea on the ropes, the sight of a resounding win at St James’ Park will have Blues fans sleeping a little sounder.
Daniel Sturridge and Juan Mata were the stars of the show in the North East as Andre Villas-Boas saw his side end Newcastle’s unbeaten home run.
Recent fortunes have been pretty awful for the Blues but the tide turned only four minutes into the game when David Luiz escaped with only a yellow card after hauling down Demba Ba when the in-form front man was clean through.
Referee Mike Dean later said that he felt Ba did not have control of the ball.
This escape seemed to spur on the visitors, who set about laying siege on the Newcastle goal, with Sturridge finding constant joy down the right, but also finding Tim Krul in fine form as he, combined with the woodwork saw the England international denied somewhere in the region of five times in the first half.
The hosts couldn’t live with the movement of Mata, and Oriol Romeu showed his emerging talent with a very sound showing in the ‘Makelele role’.
The Luiz incident wasn’t the only defensive mishap, and the back line remains an area of concern for AVB. John Terry and Luiz very nearly combined to score one of the worst own goals in history as the captain slammed the ball against the Brazilian while trying to clear after Ba had hit the post.
Then Didier Drogba slammed a header against his own bar in the second half, before Terry came to Cech’s rescue by clearing off the line from Ameobi after the keeper had flapped at a cross.
By this point the Blues had taken to lead through a bullet header from Drogba after more good movement from Mata saw him cross from Ashley Cole’s throw in.
The game plan in the second half appeared to be the counter attack, and after soaking up a fair amount of pressure from the home side, Chelsea made the game safe late on as Torres did well to set up Kalou, and then Sturridge finally got his reward by driving home in stoppage time. It was refreshing to see some menace about Chelsea going forward, with signs that the AVB philosophy might just be taking hold at last.
There was pace and creativity about most things the Blues did in attack, and although 3-0 was perhaps slightly harsh on Newcastle, back to back wins by this scoreline shows signs of recovery at a crucial time, with the Champions League showdown with Valencia looming, and league leaders Man City coming to Bridge next Monday night.
So performance wise this was a big improvement from Chelsea, and having moved back into the top four, AVB will be looking up at the surprise package of Spurs, as well as the Manchester clubs, and begin plotting how he can overhaul them.