Blues Pile On Misery For A Toon On The Slide  (Sky Sports)

Chelsea 3 Newcastle United 0

Gudjohnsen and Zola
Gudjohnsen and Zola celebrate Chelsea's opener
Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle
Gudjohnsen 14, 58    
Zola 26     
Barclaycard Premiership


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 dark days.

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 in doubt.

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 wide.

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 denied.

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 coincidence.

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 36-year-old. 

Chelsea: Cudicini, Melchiot, Gallas, Desailly, Stanic, De Lucas, Morris, Lampard, Zenden (Keenan 89), Gudjohnsen (Hasselbaink 81), Zola (Gronkjaer 81).
Subs Not Used: de Goey, Huth.
Booked: Gallas. 

Newcastle: Given, Hughes, Dabizas, O'Brien, Bernard, Solano (Jenas 77), Speed, Dyer, Robert (Viana 77), Shearer, Bellamy (Ameobi 77).
Subs Not Used: Harper, Bramble.
Booked: Shearer, Speed, Solano, Bernard.

Att: 39,746
Ref: B Knight (Kent).

The Soccerlinks Hit List