Chelsea 5-1 Newcastle: Preparing for Paris

Matt Stead

Newcastle were as terrible as Chelsea were excellent as the Blues eased to a 5-1 victory on Saturday.

The hosts scored three times in the opening 17 minutes at Stamford Bridge, with Diego Costa, Pedro and Willian all reaping the benefits from appalling Newcastle defending.

The visitors improved after half-time, but Pedro scored his second and Chelsea’s fourth just before the hour mark, while substitute Bertrand Traore added a fifth.

Andros Townsend scored his first Newcastle goal since joining in January, but it acted as a mere late consolation.

The Blues won their first Premier League home game of the season under Guus Hiddink as a result, and move up to 12th with victory, just two points behind Liverpool. Newcastle slip back into the relegation zone on goal difference.

Chelsea’s only major concern came when John Terry was withdrawn before half-time with an apparent hamstring injury.

The Magpies have more than two weeks to dwell on the defeat. They next play at Stoke on March 2.

Chelsea’s most recent home win in the Premier League was the 3-1 defeat of Sunderland on December 19, two days after Jose Mourinho’s sacking.

That was the start of the current 12-game unbeaten run, with 11 of those under interim boss Hiddink.

The Premier League champions climbed to 12th with Hiddink’s third Premier League win and first at home and, despite the emphatic result, their best chance of Champions League football remains by winning the European Cup.

Paris St Germain stand in the way in Tuesday’s last-16 first leg, with Terry’s participation possibly in doubt.

Costa showed no ill effects after breaking his nose in training on Thursday.

Hiddink joked Chelsea had a “Zorro team” after Costa joined Cesar Azpilicueta in requiring a face mask. Nemanja Matic and Gary Cahill have also worn the protection of late.

Zorro is also Spanish for fox and Costa pounced in the box after Willian burst down the right channel and fed the striker.

He stretched out a leg, beat Steven Taylor to the ball and flicked it across Rob Elliot and into the far corner.

Next Pedro intercepted Rolando Aarons’ pass towards Daryl Janmaat and executed a fine finish.

Chelsea fans turned their attentions to Terry, serenading the captain, who two weeks ago announced Chelsea would not be renewing his contract. The club maintain an offer may be forthcoming.

Chelsea had a third when Costa beat Fabricio Coloccini to the ball and fed Willian to score. Newcastle’s midfielders back-tracked at half pace.

Terry felt the back of his leg and hobbled away after an aerial challenge with Aleksandar Mitrovic. The pair exchanged words soon afterwards and Terry was withdrawn.

But Newcastle barely tested Chelsea’s reshuffled defence as the hosts had further chances.

Branislav Ivanovic had a shot blocked and Pedro fluffed a shot after Jonjo Shelvey gifted the ball to Costa.

Having lost their skipper, it appeared Chelsea might also have to withdraw Eden Hazard when Janmaat caught the Belgian from behind.

But Hazard, on his first Premier League start since January 3, continued.

Mitrovic was caught by Cesc Fabregas on the edge of Chelsea’s box, but no foul was given and Cahill blocked a Shelvey effort before Mitrovic fired wide across goal.

The brief flurry of attacking activity early in the second half amounted to a purple patch for the visitors, who soon conceded a fourth.

Taylor failed to reach Fabregas’ ball over the top and Pedro tucked in with ease.

A fifth followed when Traore tucked in Azpilicueta’s cross for his first Premier League goal.

Hazard contrived to miss from close range before Townsend struck late on.