Newcastle slip into bottom three after thrashing at five-star Chelsea
Published 13/02/2016 | 19:36
Chelsea tore through Newcastle to send the Magpies spiralling into the Premier League relegation zone.
Diego Costa struck his eighth goal in 10 games, Pedro scored twice and Willian and Bertrand Traore were also on target in a 5-1 win. Andros Townsend scored a late consolation for the Magpies.
Chelsea's only major concern came when John Terry was withdrawn before half-time with an apparent hamstring injury.
The Blues were 3-0 up inside 17 minutes and looked like champions, but that was mainly down to Newcastle's calamitous defending as Steve McClaren's men lost for the sixth straight away game to fall below Norwich on goal difference.
The Magpies have more than two weeks to dwell on the defeat. They next play at Stoke on March 2.
Chelsea's most recent home win in the Premier League was the 3-1 defeat of Sunderland on December 19, two days after Jose Mourinho's sacking.
That was the start of the current 12-game unbeaten run, with 11 of those under interim boss Guus Hiddink.
The Premier League champions climbed to 12th with Hiddink's third Premier League win and first at home and, despite the emphatic result, their best chance of Champions League football remains by winning the European Cup.
Paris St Germain stand in the way in Tuesday's last-16 first leg, with Terry's participation possibly in doubt.
Costa showed no ill effects after breaking his nose in training on Thursday.
Hiddink joked Chelsea had a "Zorro team" after Costa joined Cesar Azpilicueta in requiring a face mask. Nemanja Matic and Gary Cahill have also worn the protection of late.
Zorro is also Spanish for fox and Costa pounced in the box after Willian burst down the right channel and fed the striker.
He stretched out a leg, beat Steven Taylor to the ball and flicked it across Rob Elliot and into the far corner.
Next Pedro intercepted Rolando Aarons' pass towards Daryl Janmaat and executed a fine finish.
Chelsea fans turned their attentions to Terry, serenading the captain, who two weeks ago announced Chelsea would not be renewing his contract. The club maintain an offer may be forthcoming.
Chelsea had a third when Costa beat Fabricio Coloccini to the ball and fed Willian to score. Newcastle's midfielders back-tracked at half pace.
Terry felt the back of his leg and hobbled away after an aerial challenge with Aleksandar Mitrovic. The pair exchanged words soon afterwards and Terry was withdrawn.
But Newcastle barely tested Chelsea's reshuffled defence as the hosts had further chances.
Branislav Ivanovic had a shot blocked and Pedro fluffed a shot after Jonjo Shelvey gifted the ball to Costa.
Having lost their skipper, it appeared Chelsea might also have to withdraw Eden Hazard when Janmaat caught the Belgian from behind.
But Hazard, on his first Premier League start since January 3, continued.
Mitrovic was caught by Cesc Fabregas on the edge of Chelsea's box, but no foul was given and Cahill blocked a Shelvey effort before Mitrovic fired wide across goal.
The brief flurry of attacking activity early in the second half amounted to a purple patch for the visitors, who soon conceded a fourth.
Taylor failed to reach Fabregas' ball over the top and Pedro tucked in with ease.
A fifth followed when Traore tucked in Azpilicueta's cross for his first Premier League goal.
Hazard contrived to miss from close range before Townsend struck late on.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
"How can you pretend to stay in @premierleague playing at this level @NUFC"
Faustino Asprilla @TinoasprillaH
Thibaut Courtois: 6 (out of 10)
Branislav Ivanovic: 6
Cesar Azpilicueta: 7
Gary Cahill: 7
John Terry: 6
Nemanja Matic: 6
Cesc Fabregas: 8
Diego Costa: 8
Eden Hazard: 7
Baba Rahman (for Terry, 37 minutes): 6
Bertrand Traore (for Costa, 60): 7
Ruben Loftus-Cheek (for Willian, 80): 5
Rob Elliot: 5
Daryl Janmaat: 4
Steven Taylor: 3
Fabricio Coloccini: 3
Rolando Aarons: 4
Cheick Tiote: 4
Jonjo Shelvey: 4
Moussa Sissoko: 5
Andros Townsend: 6
Georginio Wijnaldum: 4
Aleksandar Mitrovic: 6
Jack Colback (for Wijnaldum, 45): 5
Jamaal Lascelles (for Tiote, 67): 5
Seydou Doumbia (for Mitrovic, 70): 5
Pedro. The Spain winger likes playing against teams from the West Midlands and the North East. He has five Chelsea goals now (two v Newcastle, one v Sunderland, Walsall and West Brom).
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Fabregas adopted the quarter-back role in laying on the assist for Pedro with a sublime pass over the top which Taylor failed to intercept. Fabregas tried to do the same for Hazard. The Belgian brought the ball down, but then contrived to fluff it when the goal was gaping.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
After naming the same starting XI for three straight games, Hiddink made three changes, with Kurt Zouma's absence enforced by a season-ending knee injury. In came Cahill, Pedro and Hazard, starting for the first time in the Premier League since January 3. Terry departed with an apparent hamstring problem before the interval, forcing a defensive reshuffle. Rahman came on at left-back, with Azpilicueta switching flanks and Ivanovic moving into the centre. Newcastle were unchanged after their win over West Brom, but Jack Colback replaced the ineffective Wijnaldum at half-time. McClaren made further changes, but the match was already beyond his side.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
Newcastle's defending was abysmal. Taylor, Coloccini, Janmaat and Aarons were all culpable as the Magpies imploded at Stamford Bridge.
WHO'S UP NEXT
Paris St Germain v Chelsea (UEFA Champions League, Tuesday, February 16)
Stoke v Newcastle (Barclays Premier League, Wednesday, March 2)
Newcastle head coach McClaren refused to be too critical of his side, pointing to a patched-up defence that included makeshift left-back Rolando Aarons and Steven Taylor still working his way back to fitness from a serious injury.
He told Sky Sports 1: "Our defensive frailties, we're playing Rolando at left-back and Steven Taylor, that's his second game in six months, and we got a little bit exposed by quality players.
"As soon as I saw the team sheet, I thought, 'We have to defend very well'. We didn't do that.
"Unfortunately we've been exposed tonight by a very, very good team. That can happen, but we've just got to dust ourselves down."
McClaren remains confident they will avoid relegation, although he has demanded a reaction when they next take to the field after an 18-day break.
"Absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt," he said when asked if he can lead the Magpies to safety. "They've proved that before in their performances and we'll do it again.
"We can't let this derail us, this can happen any time, but we've just got to stay calm, stable and carry one. Eighteen days we need a reaction and that reaction has to last for 12 games."
Interim Chelsea boss Hiddink is fretting over the availability of Terry for their midweek fixture against PSG.
"Tomorrow we'll know how serious he is," said the Dutchman
"Midweek is already Tuesday and we have just two days to recover, I think teams need at least three days, but we don't have so we'll see what will be the outcome tomorrow."
Of Chelsea's near flawless performance, Hiddink added: "I think we had a great start, we tried to press from the first minute to surprise them and I think we did.
"We had an early goal and an early second goal so that made them very unstable.
"What, for me, is the importance is the good organisation defensively, and not dropping back but try to defend as soon as possible forward. That's what we have to do even more."