Chelsea vaulted to the top of the Premier League table after a convincing 2-0 win over Newcastle United on Saturday afternoon. The visitors took the lead after just 10 minutes, when Newcastle defender Federico Fernandez clumsily turned Mason Mount’s cross into his own net. Chelsea continued to dominate proceedings and would finally double their lead on the hour mark, with Tammy Abraham smartly finishing off a well-worked counterattack.
The Blues now sit in first place, level on points with Leicester City, who face Liverpool tomorrow night.
– Report: Chelsea go top after beating Newcastle
When it came to rehearsed set-pieces, Chelsea looked notably dangerous. Their opening goal, in fact, came directly from a quickly taken corner. Later in the game, Kurt Zouma missed a header from another well-taken corner kick.
In addition, the away side also threatened massively in transition, with the likes of Mount and Timo Werner causing all kinds of problems down the left channel. If the German forward had have been slightly more clinical, the win would have already been sealed in the first half.
The opening half of play was so easy at times for Chelsea that the game almost resembled a training match. This appeared to breed some complacency within the Blues’ XI as in the second period, Newcastle grew in confidence and very nearly got back on level terms. However, Frank Lampard’s side wouldn’t have been in such a position if his players had their shooting boots on. Werner, Abraham and Kurt Zouma all missed excellent chances to score, which presented the Magpies with a way back into the game, despite being very poor for the vast majority.
Manager rating out of 10
7 — with a couple of first-team regulars absent due to injury or lack of match fitness, Lampard opted to bring the likes of Antonio Rudiger and Mateo Kovacic back into the fold. Both did relatively well, though it was the players around them that really impressed.
The front three of Werner, Abraham and Ziyech shows plenty of promise while at full-back, the gaffer appears to have two players who could potentially hold down those positions for the next decade in Ben Chilwell and Reece James. Much like Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, a great deal of invention and creativity comes from the Chelsea full-backs, for which Lampard must be given some credit.
Abraham, left, was wasteful at times but also capped a bright display with the crucial second goal for Chelsea. Lee Smith – Pool/Getty Images
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Edouard Mendy, 7– Had very little to do, but when the former Rennes star was called into action, he looked comfortable.
DF Reece James, 8 — A wonderful outing from the young Englishman, whose consistency of late is a joy to behold. He crossed with pin-point accuracy from the right side, linking up superbly with Ziyech in the process.
DF Kurt Zouma, 7 — Solid, if unspectacular. Read the game well whenever Newcastle did manage to mount an attack in Chelsea’s half.
DF Antonio Rudiger, 6 — Despite some wayward distribution, the German’s return to the starting XI was a largely successful one. Made a handful of crucial blocks in the first half.
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DF Ben Chilwell, 7 — A menace down the left for Chelsea, the former Leicester man looked at ease in both defence and attack. Played a peripheral role in Chelsea’s slightly fortuitous opener.
MF Mateo Kovacic, 6 — A mixed display from the midfielder, who was selected by Lampard after a prolonged period on the sidelines. Was impressive in spells, but often gave the ball away cheaply.
MF N’Golo Kante, 7 — Impressive as ever, collecting loose balls and stray passes with ease while managing to launch many a counterattack. It seems as if his match-winning exploits for France in the week have had a positive impact.
MF Mason Mount, 8 — Playing as the side’s most advanced midfielder, the 21-year-old was in sparking form. It was his cross that forced Fernandez into a goal-scoring mistake, while his excellently weighted through-balls to Werner should have yielded more.
FW Hakim Ziyech, 6 — Showed flashes of brilliance, but generally was slightly off this afternoon. That said, he seems to have already struck up a good understanding with James.
FW Tammy Abraham, 8 — Led the line well, holding the ball up and bringing his teammates into the game very effectively. Like Werner, he also missed a couple of scoring chances, but made up for that on the hour mark by adding Chelsea’s decisive second goal.
FW Timo Werner, 7 — Missed a couple of golden opportunities in front of goal. His movement was sharp, but a finisher as accomplished as Werner really should be converting with more regularity. Assisted Abraham’s goal.
FW Callum Hudson-Odoi, 6 — Looked sharp on the left after coming on. Tried cutting inside whenever the opportunity presented itself.
DF Emerson Palmieri, N/R — Replaced the impressive Ben Chilwell with 10 minutes to go.
FW Olivier Giroud, N/R — The Frenchman fired wide with a volley attempt in what was his only real shooting opportunity.