Chelsea climbed to the top of the Premier League for the first time in more than two years with a convincing 2-0 victory at Newcastle on Saturday. Frank Lampard’s side overtook Leicester on goal difference thanks to home side Federico Fernandez’s first-half goal and Tammy Abraham’s strike after the interval Chelsea are unbeaten in nine games in all competitions and no haven’t lost in their last six league games. With five clean sheets in their last six games in all competitions, Chelsea’s third straight league win was the perfect way to start a hectic period leading up to Christmas. Maurizio Sarri was in charge the last time Chelsea were on pole position in the Premier League in September 2018.
But Lampard’s side are more formidable than the fragile side of their predecessor and a serious challenge to the title seems more and more possible.
Chelsea could relinquish the top spot before the end of the day, with Aston Villa and Tottenham able to overtake them depending on their results.
West Londoners had won only once in their previous seven visits to Newcastle, but for once St James’ Park did not prove a house of horrors.
Lampard had complained about having to play in the kick-off on Saturday, when several of his players did not return from their international duties until Thursday.
Thiago Silva was not even available to appear on the bench after the 36-year-old played for Brazil in a World Cup qualifier against Uruguay on Tuesday.
German center-back Antonio Rudiger arrived for his first league start to the league, while left-back Ben Chilwell started despite limping out of England’s game against Belgium due to injury in the back.
– Chelsea pressure –
The tired Chelsea stars ignored their fatigue to get off to a good start as Timo Werner ran on a deep ball for a low shot which Karl Darlow pushed back for a corner kick.
Darlow was out of breath again when Abraham met Hakim Ziyech’s cross with a powerful header which the Newcastle keeper knocked down.
The pressure of the Blues was rewarded in the 10th minute when a short corner caught up to Newcastle caught off guard.
Mason Mount whipped out a low cross and Fernandez turned it into his own net under pressure from Chilwell at the far post.
The own fifth Premier League goal of Fernandez’s ill-fated career has not satiated Chelsea’s appetite.
With Lampard’s men monopolizing possession, Werner should have doubled their lead on Mount’s pass, but the German forward missed his shot by 10 yards.
Callum Wilson, who had scored six of Newcastle’s 10 league goals this season, was missing with a hamstring injury and the Magpies were toothless on offense without their top scorer.
Chelsea had a golden opportunity to kill them when Werner stole Fabian Schar and ran into the Newcastle area but instead of shooting he played a terrible pass that was easily wiped out.
Blues defender Kurt Zouma took the lead moments later before Chelsea momentarily faltered.
Isaac Hayden blazed up close as Newcastle finally got a sight of the goal and Joelinton curled up from the edge of the zone a moment later.
But Chelsea put the result beyond doubt in the 65th minute when Werner accelerated away from Newcastle’s defense and slipped a pass to Abraham, who guided his shot past Darlow and out of the post.
Abraham has now scored in three consecutive appearances in all competitions for the first time since September 2019.
Newcastle’s Sean Longstaff hit the bar from long distance but Chelsea’s lead was never threatened.
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