|Gudjohnsen and Zola celebrate
Gudjohnsen 14, 58
Bobby Robson's much-vaunted Newcastle side are firmly
rooted in the relegation zone after tamely succumbing to a 3-0 defeat
at Chelsea, a result which takes the west London side up to third.
Newcastle have now picked up just a solitary point in their last
four games - in the process turning back the clock to the pre-Robson
As for Chelsea, they have emerged as unlikely championship
contenders, although how much it is possible to read into a victory
over a desperately poor Newcastle side is debatable.
Newcastle arrived at Stamford Bridge with history very much against
them - they had not won here in their last 13 visits - stir in some
bad luck and a Chelsea side riding high on an unbeaten start to the
season and the result should come as no great surprise.
But it was the ease with which Chelsea strolled to victory which
shocked. Once Eidur Gudjohnsen had outjumped Nicos Dabizas to power
home Boudewijn Zenden's teasing left-wing cross, the result was rarely
Craig Bellamy was lively and Alan Shearer bustled purposefully, but
there was a lack of conviction about Newcastle. Whisper it softly, but
this looked like a team on the slide.
Shearer had a chance to haul his side back into the game on 22 minutes
when he turned on the edge of the box, but hooked his first-time shot
Four minutes later the contest was as good as settled. Mario Stanic
and Enrique De Lucas had both had appeals for free-kicks on the edge
of the Newcastle box waved away - despite hurling themselves
theatrically to the ground - but Gianfranco Zola was not to be
The veteran Italian had his heels clipped by Gary Speed and got up to
fire a free-kick against the wall and watch in delight as the ricochet
completely wrong-footed Shay Given.
Chelsea could have added a third before the break when Gudjohnsen
fired just wide after neat interplay with Zola and William Gallas was
denied a penalty when Olivier Bernard appeared to trip him in the box.
Shearer managed a header just over the bar as Newcastle threatened to
rally early in the second half, but moments later that
nascent threat was snubbed out by a dreadful mix-up between Aaron
Hughes and Given.
That resulted in Zola being presented with the ball and the Italian
calmly played a square pass for Gudjohnsen to tap into the empty net.
The closest Newcastle came to scoring were long-range efforts from
Speed and Bernard which found the side-netting, while Gudjohnsen was
only denied his hat-trick by the timely intervention of Bernard.
By the close Newcastle were chasing shadows as Chelsea enjoyed another
productive afternoon. The gloom is closing in around the Robson
revolution despite the millions spent in the summer. Chelsea are on
the up after spending nothing, which may, or may not, be a
Man of the match:
Gianfranco Zola: Some wonderful touches and impressive link-up play. A
goal and the coolest of assists. You can't ask for much more from a
Melchiot, Gallas, Desailly, Stanic, De Lucas, Morris, Lampard, Zenden
(Keenan 89), Gudjohnsen (Hasselbaink 81), Zola (Gronkjaer 81).
Subs Not Used: de Goey,
Hughes, Dabizas, O'Brien, Bernard, Solano (Jenas 77), Speed, Dyer,
Robert (Viana 77), Shearer, Bellamy (Ameobi 77).
Subs Not Used: Harper,
Booked: Shearer, Speed,
Ref: B Knight (Kent).