Chelsea turned an inherently solid and controlled first-half performance into a well-earned 2-0 half-time lead, and that’s despite a fairly obvious penalty going uncalled on Tammy Abraham. Sure, Lascelles won the ball, but he went through Abraham’s ankle — and in fact, the young striker had to be taken off a few minutes later.
The cosmic scales were balanced a bit when Abraham’s replacement, Olivier Giroud opened the scoring not long after coming on, with Timo “bloody lips” Werner creating the chance with a nice low cross. Werner himself then got on the scoresheet after nearly a 1000 Premier League minutes, and it was all smiles for the men in Blue.
Newcastle came out with plenty of intention in the second half and caused a few nervy moments with their intense high press, but Chelsea eventually settled down and resumed control. A couple half-chances for Hudson-Odoi went begging, then Lascelles got away with another penalty, this time after pushing Werner over from behind.
But Chelsea maintained control and saw the rest of the game without too much trouble. Won’t win any awards for that, but we also avoided any heart-attacks.
Job done. Top four once again.
- Four changes from last weekend, with both wingbacks rotated, Abraham getting the nod ahead of Giroud, and Kepa getting a surprise start
- Kepa’s first Premier League start since the 3-3 against Southampton four months ago. Wasn’t tested much, if at all, which has been a consistent feature of Tuchel’s defensive setups
- Olivier Giroud’s 100th career Premier League substitute appearance. His 21st career goal as a PL substitute, good for second all time behind Jermain Defoe.
- Kanté for Mount meant a switch to a 3-5-2 for the final 20 minutes, with Jorginho the base of the Sarri-style midfield triangle.
- James for Hudson-Odoi switch at wing-back late on again the final change
- VAR, what is it good for again?
- Chelsea win four straight in the league for the first time this season. Tuchel still unbeaten, with 13 points from 15 in the league, five clean sheets from six in all competitions, and the only goal conceded an own goal.
- Chelsea up to fourth, just four points off second. Plenty others just behind.
- Next up: Southampton away on Saturday