Timo Werner’s first goal in 15 Premier League games sent Chelsea back into the top four as the Blues saw off Newcastle 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Olivier Giroud also found the net as Chelsea coasted past a worryingly-limited Newcastle, although the Blues lost Tammy Abraham to a nasty-looking ankle injury.
Werner’s first league strike since November 7 meant the Germany hitman’s top-flight goal drought lasted exactly 1,000 minutes.
— Premier League (@premierleague) February 15, 2021
New Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel had insisted only a goal could restore Werner’s shattered confidence and now the west Londoners will hope the £53million man can rediscover top form.
The former RB Leipzig striker backed up his first league goal since the 4-1 win over Sheffield United with an assist for Giroud in an encouraging all-round showing.
Chelsea’s win pushed West Ham down to fifth on goal difference, with defending champions Liverpool slipping to sixth place.
The Blues will face plenty of tougher top-flight tests, but new manager Tuchel has now overseen four straight league wins.
Newcastle looked a far cry from their morale-boosting recent wins over Everton and Southampton and must improve markedly from this lacklustre showing to avoid a relegation battle that runs right to the wire.
Chelsea’s constant dominance owed as much to Newcastle’s startlingly-limited approach and ability as the hosts’ quality.
Tuchel handed under-fire goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga his first league start since October, having insisted the Spain star has a “new start” under him at Stamford Bridge.
Kepa would have been hard pressed to deliver anything other than a clean sheet amid Newcastle’s derisory attack, but the 26-year-old will doubtless be boosted by the shut-out.
Dwight Gayle flicked over his own bar to thwart Cesar Azpilicueta’s goal-bound header early on.
The unmarked Tammy Abraham nodded Mason Mount’s cross wide and then Jamaal Lascelles felled the England striker in the box.
Lascelles avoided censure for his scissors tackle on Abraham, breathing a sigh of relief when no penalty was awarded.
Abraham attempted to play through the pain of a clear ankle problem but was forced to concede defeat only moments later.
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) February 15, 2021
Werner prodded wide at full stretch after Marcos Alonso’s smart header back across the box as Chelsea’s chances stacked up.
Finally the hosts hit the target and took the lead as Karl Darlow spilled Werner’s cross to gift Giroud the opener.
The France striker swept home gleefully for an easy finish.
Werner then finally ended his goal drought, tapping in at the far post after Giroud had failed to connect with a high, hanging cross.
Chelsea took that 2-0 lead into the break, with the Blues more than comfortable amid Newcastle’s laboured and too often muddled approach.
The hosts had the opportunity to coast through a meandering second half and seized it with relish.
Joe Willock tested Kepa with a flicked header from Ryan Fraser’s cross, but the Spaniard was easily equal to the task.