Timo Werner ended his Premier League goal drought as Chelsea cruised to a fifth successive win in all competitions under new boss Thomas Tuchel with a 2-0 success over Newcastle.
Olivier Giroud, who came off the bench early on to make his 100th Premier League appearance as a substitute, replacing the injured Tammy Abraham, opened the scoring in the 31st minute, Werner playing a key role in creating the chance.
The German’s evening was about to get even better as he nudged home at the far post seven minutes later to score his first Premier League goal in exactly 1000 minutes of football to make it two.
Opinion: Hudson-Odoi must make this the start of something bigger
Chelsea took their foot off the gas in the second half and saw out the win with ease to move above Liverpool and into fourth spot.
Olivier Giroud, buteur pour Chelsea contre Newcastle en Premier League le 15 février 2021
Image credit: Getty Images
Kepa Arrizabalaga made a surprise start in goal, his first in the league since October, but he had very little to do all evening. Chelsea came into the match unbeaten under Tuchel, having conceded just one goal, and they never really looked troubled by Newcastle, who looked a shadow of their recently-improved selves without the injured Callum Wilson.
Werner was causing plenty of problems with his intelligent runs, Newcastle were constantly on the back foot, and after Abraham’s game ended prematurely as he picking up a knock as a result of a goal-saving Jamaal Lascelles challenge, Giroud stepped off the bench and was quickly among the goals, with Werner’s pace and low cross creating the opening.
Werner’s goal was more of a poacher’s finish, alert at the far post after poor Newcastle defending from a corner, with the relief palpable as he netted in the Premier League for the first time since November 7.
After the break, the match was a mere procession, as Newcastle could not muster a response, slipping to their eighth-straight defeat at Stamford Bridge, leaving them languishing down in 17th, seven points above the dropzone.
TALKING POINT – Tuchel system is safe and steady
In Frank Lampard’s last league match as Chelsea manager, his midfield may as well not have been there as Leicester cut through their porous engine-room time and again, with Mateo Kovacic the lone holding midfielder.
One of the things Tuchel has improved in his short time in London is to make Chelsea a more cohesive defensive unit, without losing their potency up front.
His system against Newcastle, with the wing-backs encouraged to get forward, while still having plenty of protection for the back line through Jorginho and Kovacic, was equally impressive defensively and in attack. It has not taken Tuchel long to get a system that can get Chelsea back competing at the top of the table again. It is not perfect, but an in-form Werner can certainly help matters, too.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Timo Werner (Chelsea)
Perhaps he will be a success in the Premier League after all. It has been a tough start to life in England for Werner, but the Germany international showed just how much talent he possesses in his magical feet against the Magpies. He just needs more goals to get the confidence levels back up and we will really see Werner kick on.
Chelsea: Kepa 6, Azpilicueta 7, Christensen 6, Rudiger 6, Hudson-Odoi 6, Jorginho 7, Kovacic 7, Alonso 7, Werner 8, Mount 7, Abraham 6. Subs: Giroud 7.
Newcastle: Darlow 7, Krafth 6, Lascelles 6, Clark 6, Lewis 6, Hayden 5, Shelvey 5, Saint-Maximin 6, Willock 6, Almiron 5, Gayle 4. Subs: Carroll 6, Joelinton 6, Fraser 6.
26’ - WIDE! Big chance for Werner on the stretch, but he cannot find the target. He perhaps had more time than he realised and could have brought Alonso's header under control.
31’ - GOAL! Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle (Giroud): Giroud is on hand to put Chelsea in front. Great play from Werner to get to the byline, he drills a low cross into the box, Darlow can only palm the ball out, and Giroud is there to fire home the loose ball. His fourth league goal of the season.
34’ - OVER! Lovely movement from Werner as he darts into the box, but his first time effort flies just over.
39’ - GOAL! Chelsea 2-0 Newcastle (Werner): Werner on the scoresheeet himself this time to make it two. The drought is over for Werner as he scores his fifth league goal of the season at the far post, after he was left alone from a corner. Poor defending from Newcastle, as Lascelles cannot get the ball clear, and Werner pounces. His first league goal since early November
75’ - SAVE! Willock gets up really well to glance a header towards goal, but Kepa springs across to claw the ball out.
- Chelsea have won four Premier League games in a row for the first time since November 2019 (a run of six under Frank Lampard).
- Newcastle have lost six of their last seven away Premier League games (W1) after losing just one of the six before that (W2 D3).
- Thomas Tuchel has picked up 13 points from his first five Premier League games in charge of Chelsea (W4 D1), level with José Mourinho’s first five with the club and bettered only by Carlo Ancelotti and Maurizio Sarri (15 pts each).
- Thomas Tuchel is just the third manager to see his team concede just one goal in his first five games as a boss in the Premier League, after José Mourinho with Chelsea and Peter Taylor with Leicester (no manager has shipped no goals in their first five games in charge in the competition).
- Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud has netted nine Premier League goals against Newcastle, his joint-best return against an opponent in the competition (also 9 v Aston Villa).
- Chelsea ‘keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga kept his first Premier League clean sheet in five appearances (11 goals conceded in previous four), since a shut-out against Norwich in July 2020.
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