Three And Easy Champions  (Sky Sports)

Chelsea 3 Newcastle United 0

Scene from today's gameChampions Chelsea eased their way to a 3-0 victory over Newcastle, which takes their lead at the top of The Premiership back to nine points.

The Blues were subdued in the opening half, although still they were better than Newcastle.

Once Newcastle's resistance was broken just after the break the result was never in doubt and Crespo added a second soon after.

The win was secured by Damien Duff's fine run and shot in the final minute to give his side victory which was deserved but far from inspiring.

A bright opening from both sides saw chances at either end, although Chelsea could have been ahead within the opening 60 seconds.

Titus Bramble attempted a backpass which always had Shay Given scrambling, but the Irishman just managed to put off Hernan Crespo who looked as if he was ready to lob the ball home.

Just minutes later and Bramble's central defensive partner Jean-Alain Boumsong was guilty of another defensive lapse as he tried to dribble his way out of defence, only to be dispossessed by Eidur Gudjohnsen - but the Icelander saw his shot blocked.

Lee Bowyer then took it upon himself to try and inspire his side and he almost did so twice in a matter of minutes.

Firstly he burst into the area to get onto the end of a Charles N'Zogbia cross but his glancing header flew just wide.

Then he had a very good claim for a penalty turned away by Mark Halsey, he again thrust his way into the area before beckoning John Terry into making a challenge - which he did very crudely - but fortunately for the England star the decision went his way.

From then on Chelsea dominated possession for the rest of the half, but they did little with it - although they were forced into a change just ten minutes in when Claude Makelele was forced off, with Michael Essien coming on.

There was a good chance for Ricardo Carvalho from a Duff free kick, but the Portuguese international headed well wide despite being unmarked just 10 yards from goal.

The Blues did actually manage to find the back of net ten minutes from the break - but this time the decision went Newcastle's way as the goal was ruled out for offside, but television replays confirmed that the officials were again wrong.

Frank Lampard had fired a shot at goal which rebounded off the Newcastle defence, the ball broke for Duff who cut it back for Crespo to convert from close range - but fortunately for the visitors the flag was up.

For Newcastle to get anything from the game it was always essential they defended well, but at the start of the second period another defensive error was punished by Chelsea.

Bramble again, like he was in the first minute of the opening half, was at fault - this time his poor pass fell straight for Gudjohnsen and his first time ball sent in Cole who made no mistake as he fired low past Given.

Newcastle failed to pick themselves up and Chelsea's next attack saw them extend their lead. This time the visitors backed off Lampard, he then found Crespo in the box and he curled the ball home with great aplomb despite the attentions of Bramble and Peter Ramage.

The match was now over as a contest and Lampard - breaking the record for consecutive Premiership appearances - was beginning to dominate, with Newcastle toiling - but Graeme Souness was limited as he had too few options on the bench.

N'Zogbia to his immense credit kept running throughout and he created a chance of his own as dribbled through to the edge of the area, but the previously untested Petr Cech was down smartly to save.

That only proved mere respite for Newcastle as Chelsea almost added to the lead on their next attack, but Gudjohnsen fired wildly wide.

N'Zogbia then tested Cech once more with a superb run and shot, which had the Czech ace at full stretch to tip wide.

But again, Chelsea broke at will - this time Asier Del Horno fed Duff and he cut inside before firing home - with his shot looping off Scott Parker and over Given.

Chelsea were far from their best, but they did not have to be to beat a poor Newcastle side - whose only saving grace was their battling midfield with Parker, Bowyer and N'Zogbia head and shoulders above their team-mates.

The win sees Chelsea increase their lead, and they again proved the old adage correct, in that it is a mark of a really good side that wins so easily without playing well.


Chelsea  Cech, Del Horno, Johnson (Gallas 60), Carvalho, Terry, J. Cole, Duff, Lampard, Makelele (Essien 13), Crespo (Wright-Phillips 79), Gudjohnsen
Subs Not Used  Cudicini, C. Cole
Booked  Terry, Lampard
Goals  J. Cole 47, Crespo 51, Duff 90

Newcastle United  Givem, Babayaro, Boumsong, Bramble, Ramage, Bowyer, Emre, NZogbia, Parker, Solano (Chopra 69), Ameobi
Subs Not Used  Harper, Brittain, Clark, Faye
Booked  Solano

Attendance  42,268

Referee   M. Halsey

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