Blues Cruise At The Bridge (Sky Sports)
Chelsea 5 Newcastle 0
By Alex Livie
Chelsea produced a thoroughly professional display to comfortably see off Newcastle 5-0 at Stamford Bridge.
Newcastle were dealt a blow shortly before the game as talisman Alan Shearer was ruled out with a throat infection and The Magpies were never at the races after Glen Johnson netted his first Chelsea goal on 25 minutes.
Hernan Crespo and a Frank Lampard penalty had The Blues in control at the break and they cruised through the remaining 45 minutes, with Damien Duff and Eidur Gudjohnsen adding exquisite second half goals, as Claudio Ranieri's men fired an impressive warning to title rivals Arsenal and Manchester United.
Despite Chelsea's dominance, it was Newcastle who fashioned the first chance of the game as a slick move presented Hugo Viana with a shooting opportunity but the midfielder lacked conviction and his weak effort drifted disappointingly wide.
Chelsea steadily found their feet and gradually forced Newcastle deeper and deeper. Shots rained in on Shay Given's goal, with the Irishman forced to save from Damien Duff and then watch a Lampard effort fly inches wide.
Hernan Crespo and Adrian Mutu then got their wires crossed as they allowed a teasing Duff cross to go begging, but the opener was not long in coming.
The source of the goal was once again a Chelsea full back as Wayne Bridge's cross found its way to Johnson and he smashed home impressively from eight yards.
Newcastle were not without chances, as Laurent Robert, seeking his fourth goal in as many matches, was twice let down by his control and he also had a header well saved by Carlo Cudicini.
The blue tide, though, was unrelenting and Crespo tapped home from close range after a Johnson cross was returned with interest by Duff.
A moment of controversy took the game beyond Newcastle as Andy O'Brien was dismissed for a foul in the area on Adrian Mutu, although the offence, a minor one, appeared to take place outside the box. Lampard is not one to look a gift horse in the mouth and he duly rammed home the penalty.
The visitors regrouped after the break and to their credit the ten men of Newcastle showed a resilient streak, but Chelsea were content to control the game from the middle of the park and they added some gloss to the scoreline when Duff pounced on an awful clearance from Given before skipping past his marker and firing home.
The Blues were not done as Gudjohnsen climbed off the bench to head home a superb cross from Bridge to cap a memorable win.
Chelsea Cuducini, Bridge, Gallas,
Johnson (Huth 88), Terry, Duff, Lampard, Makelele, Veron, Crespo (Gudjohnsen
67), Mutu (Cole 63).
Subs Not Used Gronkjaer, Ambrosio
Goals Johnson (25), Crespo (40), Lampard (pen 42), Duff (78), Gudjohnsen (84)
Newcastle United Given, Bernard,
Bramble, Hughes, O'Brien, Bowyer, Jenas, Robert (Lualua (75), Speed, Ameobi,
Viani (Caldwell 45)
Subs Not Used Harper, Solano, Chopra
Sent Off O'Brien (42)
Referee P. Durkin