Timo Werner finally ended his Premier League goal drought as Chelsea eased past Newcastle with a 2-0 win to move into the top four.
The hosts, who named Kepa Arrizabalaga in goal for his first league game since October, took the lead in the 31st minute when substitute Olivier Giroud – on in place of the injured Tammy Abraham – struck from close range.
Werner (39) then doubled the advantage eight minutes later, ending a run of 14 games without a goal in the league.
1000 – Timo Werner has scored his first Premier League goal for Chelsea in exactly 1000 minutes – since netting against Sheffield United in November – ending a run of 31 attempts without finding the back of the net in the competition. Relief. #CHENEW pic.twitter.com/1DaodRBhBU
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 15, 2021
After the break, Arrizabalaga was called into action on a couple of occasions, saving Jonjo Shelvey’s free-kick before keeping out Joe Willock’s header, but Chelsea were comfortable as they secured a fourth straight league win under Thomas Tuchel.
Victory sees Chelsea move above Liverpool and West Ham, who beat Sheffield United 3-0 earlier on Monday, to move into fourth. They remain unbeaten in six games in all competitions since Tuchel’s arrival at Stamford Bridge.
Meanwhile, Newcastle stay 17th but they are now seven points clear of the relegation zone.
How Chelsea eased to victory…
Tuchel sprung a surprise before kick-off, naming Arrizabalaga in goal in place of Edouard Mendy, but the Spanish goalkeeper was a bystander for much of the first half as Chelsea dominated.
- Kepa Arrizabalaga made just his fourth Premier League start of the season. The under-fire Spain goalkeeper has played second-fiddle to summer signing Edouard Mendy in west London this term. But Thomas Tuchel promised the £72m signing from 2018 a “new start”, and the Blues’ new boss has delivered on that pledge. Kepa kept a clean sheet in Thursday’s 1-0 FA Cup win at Barnsley, and has earned himself a first league start since October. Tammy Abraham started up front alongside Timo Werner, having notched the winner at Barnsley.
- Dwight Gayle started up front for a Newcastle side looking to build on their 3-2 league win over Southampton last weekend.
Dwight Gayle cleared Cesar Azpilicueta’s goal-bound header off the line before Abraham headed wide at the far post after being picked out by Mason Mount.
Abraham was then brought down in the penalty area by Jamaal Lascelles, who was deemed to have got the ball by referee Peter Bankes, but the Newcastle defender did also catch the Chelsea striker. Abraham, who was seemingly in a lot of pain, attempted to run the injury off but he was forced off shortly afterwards with an ankle injury
Chelsea: Arrizabalaga (7), Azpilicueta (7), Christensen (7), Rudiger (7), Hudson-Odoi (8), Jorginho (7), Kovacic (7), Alonso (7), Werner (9), Mount (8), Abraham (6).
Subs: Giroud (7), Kante (6), James (n/a).
Newcastle: : Darlow (6), Krafth (5), Lascelles (6), Clark (6), Lewis (6), Hayden (6), Shelvey (6), Saint-Maximin (5), Willock (6), Almiron (5), Gayle (5).
Subs: Joelinton (6), Fraser (6), Carroll (n/a)
Man of the match: Timo Werner.
Grioud came on for Chelsea and their dominance continued as Werner poked wide at full stretch after Marcos Alonso’s header back into the Newcastle penalty area.
They eventually took the lead just after the half-hour mark as Karl Darlow spilled Werner’s cross to gift Giroud a simple finish from close range.
Werner then ended his goal drought, tapping in at the far post after Giroud had failed to connect with a corner at the near post.
Newcastle failed to cause Chelsea any real problems. Arrizabalaga comfortably saved Isaac Hayden’s deflected shot before keeping out Shelvey’s goal-bound free-kick.
Willock tested the Chelsea goalkeeper late on with a powerful header from Ryan Fraser’s cross, but the Spaniard was equal to the task as the hosts eased to victory.
Newcastle have lost six of their last seven away Premier League games (W1) after losing just one of the six before that (W2 D3).
Man of the match – Timo Werner
⭐️ Man of the Match, Timo Werner
4 shots, 1 on target, 1 goal
2 chances created
11 touches in opposition box (most in match)
🔵 He has the most PL goal involvements for @ChelseaFC this season – 10 (5 goals, 5 assists)#CHENEW pic.twitter.com/pceGpitMXH
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) February 15, 2021
Sky Sports’ Andy Hinchcliffe: “The man of the match has to be Timo Werner. He completely changed the complexion of the game. He has made one, scored one, and he does deserve a goal. His recent performances have been excellent. He is brave, he is always wanting to make use of the ball and make things happen. I am just really pleased for him that he has been able to find the back of the net, finally.”
Opta stats – Tuchel’s impressive start continues
- Chelsea have won four Premier League games in a row for the first time since November 2019 (a run of six under Frank Lampard).
- Thomas Tuchel has picked up 13 points from his first five Premier League games in charge of Chelsea (W4 D1), level with José Mourinho’s first five with the club and bettered only by Carlo Ancelotti and Maurizio Sarri (15 pts each).
- Thomas Tuchel is just the third manager to see his team concede just one goal in his first five games as a boss in the Premier League, after José Mourinho with Chelsea and Peter Taylor with Leicester (no manager has shipped no goals in their first five games in charge in the competition).
- Chelsea ‘keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga kept his first Premier League clean sheet in five appearances (11 goals conceded in previous four), since a shut-out against Norwich in July 2020.
Chelsea are back in action on Saturday, February 20 when they travel to St Mary’s to face Southampton in the Premier League; kick-off 12.30pm.
Meanwhile, Newcastle travel to Manchester United on Sunday, February 21; kick-off 7pm.