Chelsea rose to the top of the table, at least temporarily, when Tammy Abraham put the finishing touches to an easy victory at Newcastle.
Chelsea shrugged off the early start on Saturday that Frank Lampard wants to dismiss as they clinched a 2-0 win at Newcastle United in the Premier League.
An own goal by Federico Fernández and a second-half shot by Tammy Abraham gave the visitors a comfortable victory against opponents who were barely threatening.
The victory brought Chelsea to the top of the Premier League, at least for a few hours, when they returned from the international break with a lively display at St James’ Park.
Fernandez stumbled into a Mason Mount cross for Game 1 in the 10th minute, with Abraham, largely quiet, scoring midway through the second half.
5 – Since his debut in September 2014, no Premier League player has scored more own goals in the competition than Federico Fernández (level 5 with Lewis Dunk). Misfortune. pic.twitter.com/p6Op0uHwa7— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 21, 2020
Karl Darlow made a quick save with a low shot from Timo Werner and the keeper stood out for the second time when he tapped Abraham’s powerful header over the crossbar after an excellent cross from the left by Hakim Ziyech.
However, the Newcastle keeper missed a cross pass from Mount moments later when the ball went in from the right and Fernández shoved the ball into his own net.
Newcastle, weakened by the absence of injured top scorer Callum Wilson, had won five of their last seven Premier League home games against Chelsea.
But Werner should have doubled Chelsea’s lead in the 30th minute only to slide the ball wide and half chances continued to appear in the way of the visitors, who had 78.9 percent possession in the first 45 minutes and played 439. passes against a meager 109 from Newcastle.
Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles took a hit late in the first half and was replaced by Fabian Schar for the second 45 minutes, and the replacement was soon surprised by Werner, who should once again have scored.
The German international ran from the left and had only Darlow to beat, but he tried to give Ziyech an easier finish and ruined his pass.
Abraham’s goal essentially ended the contest as he hit the inside of the right post off a Werner pass, and Sean Longstaff denied impressive comfort when his shot bounced off the bar.
Werner was rejected by an offside flag after rounding Darlow to the net, but two were enough for Chelsea.
What does that mean?
Lampard noted in his pregame press conference Thursday that he is not a fan of the early weekend, suggesting they were an unnecessary inconvenience. It’s unlikely her point of view was affected by this Tyneside walk, but at least she had no reason for a new complaint. Most of their squad have been away with their national teams over the past fortnight, but Chelsea were once again a cohesive unit and now have seven unbeaten matches for them in the Premier League. Mid-table Newcastle were not in the races and were grateful that Chelsea’s finish was not always as sharp as it could have been.
Chelsea keep it clean
Former Blues midfielder Joe Cole told BT Sport after the game: “I don’t think Frank will thank me for it, but if you look at that, you’re looking at a team of title contenders.”
Perhaps the key to his chances of staying in the silver frame is Chelsea’s defense, which last season has been a weak link. The remembered Antonio Rudiger paired with Kurt Zouma in the center of the back, with Thiago Silva rested, and showed that he can have a great role to play. Rudiger hit two of the Chelsea players’ three blocks and also had three punts, while Zouma stood out with six punts and at the same time won nine of his 12 aerial duels.
Hit a tonic for Tammy
Abraham was curiously off-beat and largely a passenger in the first half, when he had only 13 touches, 17 fewer than any other Chelsea outfield player. He played just six passes in those first 45 minutes, the lowest total of all on the field, and only three of those passes were successful. His early header almost gave Chelsea the lead, but he has to offer more than that to be a regular starter for Lampard. The goal helps their cause, no doubt, but this was not Abraham’s best day for the Blues.
Opta key facts:
– Chelsea have won 26 Premier League games against Newcastle United; Only against Tottenham (30) has he won more games in the competition.
– Timo Werner has directly participated in 11 goals in his last 10 appearances in all competitions (8 goals, 3 assists).
– Since the start of last season, Tammy Abraham has scored 23 goals in all competitions, 11 more than any other Chelsea player.
– Since his debut in September 2014, no Premier League player has scored more own goals in the competition than Federico Fernández (level 5 with Lewis Dunk).
Newcastle will travel to Crystal Palace on Friday night for their next Premier League assignment. Chelsea are busy before then, with a trip to French club Rennes for Tuesday’s Champions League game.
source: – target