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  • Writer's pictureBy Paul Lagan at St James’ Park

James’ thunderous double and Jorginho penalty see Blues cruise past the Toon - winning 3-0

By Paul Lagan at St James’ Park

Newcastle United 0 v Chelsea 3

Reece James showed ruthless finishing power to ram home the first two goals as Chelsea systematically dismantled winless Newcastle United at St James’ Park this afternoon.

Moneybags Newcastle are stuck between a rock and a hard place. The players known that the majority will find themselves surplus to requirements once the next few transfer windows are completed - so why should they fight for their Toon futures?

But Graeme Jones, in charge for now, opted for the Steve Bruce’s tactics of sit back and hope on the break.

It worked for the first 45 minutes, without the hope on the break.

But the sheer class from the bench of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley elevated the Blues’ creativity and they visitors struck in clinical fashion seconds after their introduction.

A left-footed blaster by James on 65 minutes was followed 12 minutes later by a right-footed blaster. A Jorginho penalty provided a respectable scoreline that keeps the west Londoners top of the Premier League.

Newcastle broke swiftly from the whistle and a quick counter-attack saw Ryan Fraser whip in a left byline cross. But there was no striker in position to take advantage.

Thomas Tuchel was flabbergasted on five minutes, when the Blues kept possession well and advanced deep into the Newcastle half. But he was furious when Hakim Ziyech, on the right, elected to lob the ball back to centre-half Thiago Silva instead of hitting the opposition’s penalty area.

A glancing header by Callum Wilson from a Matt Richie free-kick on 13 minutes, didn’t trouble Mendy’s goal - the ball sailed over his crossbar, but it did reveal a set-piece weakness in Chelsea’s rearguard as the striker met the header with little opposition.

Issac Hayden was yellow-carded by referee Paul Tierney when he was more forceful in his challenge for the ball just in front of the dugouts that crashed into Andreas Christensen on 18 minutes.

Tuchel in the touch line became increasingly frustrated withNewcastle’s time-wasting tactics and the occasional flailing of the arms at the performance of Hakim Zurich who not for the first time was offside. - He hit the ball in the back of the net with a deft curler on 28 minutes, but was adjudged by the linesman to have being once again offside.

Ziyech missed a sitter on 32 minutes when a fast counter involving a host of players saw Reece James arrow a right byline cross across the goal. Ziyech was free at the far post but thrashed his first-time effort over Karl Darlow’s crossbar.

Tierney had enough of the time-wasting by the home side and booked Richie for a deleted throw-in on 39 minutes.

The absence of Mason Mount due to illness on Friday, meant the Blues were short of the predatory nature of his free-kicks. The visitors got one a minute before half-time, but Ziyech’s powerful dipper could not drop closer too goal.

There were no changes by either side at half-time.

But Ziyech almost redeemed himself two minutes after the restart when a long-range left-footer took a slight deflection off and rammed against Darlow’s right post and bounced clear.

N’Golo Kante was booked on 53 minutes for a needless challenge which only gave the home side respite from dealing with a substantial lack of possession.

Sean Longstaff became the third Newcastle player to enter Tierney’s book - again for a foul.

Then it was Ziyech’s turn. This time, fully deserved for hacking down Allan Saint-Maximin.

Tuchel had seen south of the possession without the finish and took off Kante and inevitably Ziyech - on came Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ross Barkley to inject some powerful creativity into the side.

Within seconds of that, on 65 minutes, the Blues took the lead when James, free on the right, produced a bullet left-footer that smashed into the top far corner of Darlow’s net. The goalkeeper had absolutely no chance. Newcastle, while it was 0-0 were comfortable to sit back and absorb pressure. But once they went behind, they looked lost and unsure if or even how to attack.

This left them frustrated and impotent and the European champions took full advantage - once again James showed what a powerful player he is by blasting a right-footer that almost bust the back of Darlow’s net.

Darlow then upended otherwise anonymous Kai Havertz for a penalty on 78 minutes.

Up stepped Jorginho - the first choice spot-taker and he sent Darlow the wrong way to make it 3-0 to the visitors.

Boos echoed round the stadium at the final whistle but in general, they was a sense of dread for the home side and delight from the travelling thousands high up in the top tier.

Teams: Chelsea, Mendy, Rudiger, Christensen, Jorginho, Silva, Kante, HudsonOdoi, Chilwell, Ziyech, James, Havertz

Subs: Kepa, Bettinelli, Alonso, Loftus-Cheek, Chalobah, Saul, Barkley, Azpilicueta, Sarr

Newcastle, Darlow, Clark, Lascelles, Wilson, Saint-Maximin, Ritchie, Hayden, Krafts, Manquillo, Fraser, Longstaff

Subs: Dubravka, Schar, Joelinton, Shelvey, Lewis, Murphy, Almiron, Willock, Gayle

Referee: Paul Tierney


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