Under-par Chelsea earn win

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:17

Under-par Chelsea earn win

Oscar tapped home as the hosts took a quick corner to catch out the visitors, before Diego Costa fired home early near the hour mark to double the lead.
Remy Cabella had a volley blocked while Moussa Sissoko hit the woodwork as Newcastle enjoyed a bright opening spell, with the hosts looking decidedly nervy in possession.
But Chelsea slowly improved throughout the game to do enough to take victory and pick up their first Premier League win in three.
Both sides made a host of changes. Petr Cech and Kurt Zouma kept their places for Chelsea, but John Terry returned to make his 648th appearance and move equal with Frank Lampard on the all-time list for the Blues.
It was a nervy opening period from the hosts, who were wary of the need for a good result after going two without a win in the Premier League.
Newcastle almost took advantage of Chelsea’s nerves when Yoan Gouffran tested Cech with a rasping free kick which the goalkeeper managed to parry away.
Cabella then saw a 20-yard volley blocked by Cesar Azpilicueta before Sissoko charged forward for the visitors, rifling a stunning effort against the corner of post and crossbar, much to Cech’s relief.
But it was Chelsea who took the lead after Willian forced a corner off Coloccini. The Brazilian thought quickly to play it short to Ivanovic and, with the visitors still tracking back, the defender played it across for Oscar, who tapped in at the far post to score with the Blues’ first shot on target.
It was a sucker punch for Newcastle, who had impressed and threatened throughout the first half, with Cabella causing the hosts all sorts of problems down the flank.
The Magpies’ misery was nearly doubled after Mike Williamson brought down Diego Costa on the edge of the box. Willian stepped up and Krul did well to parry away the resulting free kick, which was bound for the top corner.
Decisive blow
Chelsea were much improved after the break and kept possession well as Newcastle’s challenge seemed to fade.
Costa lead the line well for the hosts and sparked claims of handball as his cross from the left appeared to hit Coloccini’s arm, but the referee decided it was not enough to warrant a penalty.
The decisive blow then came just before the hour mark as Costa worked hard to win the ball out on the left before he laid it back to Hazard. The Blues played some wonderful intricate passes before it was flicked into the area. Oscar played a backheel into the path of Costa, who worked some space before drilling low into the net.
Costa nearly added a superb second goal as Fabregas won the ball off Colback and played it into the striker, who skipped past several challenges with some stunning skill before scuffing his shot, allowing Coloccini to slide in and deflect it over the bar.
But it wouldn’t affect the overall result as Newcastle’s challenge had long since faded, and the hosts took a much-needed victory to keep their place at the top of the pile.
Soccer Saturday analysis – Paul Merson
Newcastle were outstanding in the first half. They attacked with flair and Chelsea couldn’t get going. Usually Chelsea have good protection at the back, but Newcastle were running into little pockets and Cabella was getting past John Terry. I haven’t seen players running at him like that for a long, long time. When you’re on top you need to score, but they didn’t. After Costa’s goal the game was over. Chelsea do know how to kill a game, there’s no doubt about that.
Player Ratings
Chelsea: Cech (6), Ivanovic (7), Zouma (7), Terry (6), Azpilicueta (4), Matic (7), Fabregas (8), Willian (7), Oscar (7), Hazard (8), Costa (8). 
Used subs: Luis (6), Ramires (6), Remy (6).
Newcastle: Krul (6), Janmaat (5), Coloccini (7), Williamson (5), Dummett (5), Sissoko (5), Anita (4), Colback (6), Cabella (8), Perez (5), Gouffran (6). 
Used subs:  Ameobi (6), Riviere (6).
Man of the Match: Diego Costa

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