Newcastle – Chelsea: Dominant Chelsea finished two of myriad chances in a 2-0 win over Newcastle United at St. James’ Park on Saturday.
The opening Federico Fernandez own goal might’ve not been legit, but Timo Werner’s late set-up of Tammy Abraham was on the level as the Blues moved atop the table on 18 points for the moment (As many as five teams are capable of passing or joining them by the end of the weekend).
[ MORE: How to watch PL in the USA ]
Chelsea had better than 70 percent possession and took 13 of the game’s 19 shots.
Newcastle remains on 11 points, good for 13th place at the start of the weekend.
Three things we learned from Newcastle – Chelsea
1. Average Werner still better than most: Werner could’ve had a hat trick of goals and a hat trick of assists but just didn’t have his A-game. He also had a goal pulled back for offside and was still a dark horse for Man of the Match. His first half wasn’t unlike the Liverpool match, which he couldn’t build on thanks in large part to Antonio Rudiger’s red card before halftime. He’s a very, very good player, even when he’s not having a day anywhere near his best.
2. Magpies midfield a problem: Jonjo Shelvey’s injury has joined in Sean Longstaff’s regression to further lay bare a major Newcastle issue, as the Magpies have been in need of a complete, box-to-box, difference-making midfielder since even before the Georginio Wijnaldum and Moussa Sissoko tandem left in 2016-17. Isaac Hayden is serviceable but serviceable isn’t going to help the Magpies challenge for anything of merit.
3. Mendy keeps it up: Chelsea backstop Edouard Mendy wasn’t required to do much aside from a late flying save when the score was 2-0 but his early weakness in a Chelsea shirt is pretty much gone: Mendy’s distribution has been much better (albeit under very little stress from a Newcastle side who didn’t, or couldn’t, press).
Man of the Match: Mateo Kovacic.
There wasn’t a true star in this game, so let’s go with the Croatian midfielder. He was steady and in control as usual.
Newcastle – Chelsea recap
Newcastle provided early pressure with a free kick from the left leading to two corner kicks, but Chelsea soon established danger.
Hakim Ziyech’s terrific cross to Tammy Abraham led to a great Karl Darlow save, but Chelsea was on the board through the Fernandez own goal when the Blues’ Ben Chilwell interfered with the Argentine’s bid to put a dangerous free kick out of bounds.
Chelsea could’ve had four or five goals by the break, Werner chipping a point-blank shot wide of the near post and several crosses to the back post going unanswered by the Blues.
Newcastle didn’t quit. Allan Saint-Maximin’s chopped backheel through ball was stymied by Eduoard Mendy and Antonio Rudiger thwarted a Saint-Maximin chance after Joelinton led a rush through the heart of Chelsea’s midfield.
[ MORE: Premier League table, box scores, stats ]
Werner should’ve had another one on the board in the 53rd but he opted to square the ball to a marked man rather than try his luck with Darlow 1v1.
Isaac Hayden could’ve had 1-1 out of nothing but sent his chance over the bar.
Chelsea got its second goal when Werner delivered on his attacking promise with a lay-off to Abraham.
Sean Longstaff let fly with a 25-yard bid to pull one back but it zipped over the bar.