Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle United: Blues survive early scare to move back atop table

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Diego Costa and Oscar made sure Newcastle paid for a wasteful first half-hour, as Chelsea got a bit of revenge for December’s road loss with a 2-0 win on Saturday.

Newcastle threatened throughout the first half hour but couldn’t find a goal — including a Moussa Sissoko shot off the post — and Oscar broke the hearts of the traveling Geordies before Costa doubled the lead.

Chelsea moves back into sole possession of first place with the win, while Newcastle remains 10th with 27 points.

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Sissoko tested Petr Cech within three minutes with a trademark cut-in from the right flank, as the big-name transfer target continued to be Newcastle’s engine.

Newcastle kept applying pressure, with Nemanja Matic blocking a Remy Cabella shot with his arm to give Newcastle a free kick about 24 yards from goal. Jack Colback’s shot was blocked.

And in truth Newcastle controlled the first 20 minutes, forcing Cech into saves and just missing crosses that felt destined to haunt them. Sissoko’s hard-hit free kickwas parried by Cech and Chelsea nearly found the opener as Willian sprung a brilliant counterattack that was thwarted by Colback.

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Sure enough, the home side found its breakthrough off a short corner just before halftime, as Oscar was the beneficiary of a short-corner play in the 43rd minute, with big help from Willian.

Chelsea came out hard, and the 49th minute saw Costa sky one over the goal from in-tight. He made amends in the 59th minute, firing home from just inside the 18. Newcastle’s defense let Costa walk across the 18 before shooting on Krul. Brutal.

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Azpilicueta (Filipe Luis, 37′), Matic, Fabregas, Willian, Oscar (Ramires, 79′), Hazard, Costa (Remy, 84′)

Goal: Oscar (43′), Costa (58′)

Newcastle: Krul; Janmaat, Coloccini, Williamson, Dummett; Sissoko (Riviere, 84′), Anita, Colback; Cabella, Perez, Gouffran (Ameobi, 63′)