Chelsea boss boosted by resounding win

Newcastle 0 Chelsea 3

Chelsea moved above Newcastle and up to third spot in the Premier League with a desperately needed victory in a barnstorming encounter.

Didier Drogba’s towering header set the Blues on the way in the first period and tidy strikes from substitute Salomon Kalou and the superb Daniel Sturridge gave the scoreline an emphatic if slightly flattering look.

It could have been even worse for the Magpies had Frank Lampard’s penalty not been saved by Tim Krul, and Sturridge missed at least five decent chances.

And although Newcastle hit the woodwork three times and will bemoan the fact David Luiz was lucky not to be sent off, Chelsea were good value and deserved to become the first team to pick up three points on the Toon Army’s home turf this season.

Lampard saw his first-half penalty saved, but Chelsea battled on.

The hosts will rightly feel aggrieved that Luiz stayed on the pitch after bundling over Demba Ba over as the big striker bore down on goal.

Referee Mike Dean, no doubt mindful that there was only four minutes on the clock, took the easy option and only issued a yellow card.

Or maybe it was the footballing gods making up for Jose Bosingwa’s harsh red card against QPR.

But Dean’s uncertainty as to whether Ba would have collected the pass gave Chelsea a much-needed reprieve and they seemed intent on taking full advantage.

Sturridge terrorised the home defence and, with the elusive and equally excellent Juan Mata orchestrating the play in the midfield, the Blues could have had five goals in the first half.

Sturridge was beating his man on the right at will and had three excellent chances and also won a penalty after being felled by Yohan Cabaye.

But Lampard saw his low spot-kick superbly saved Krul and Sturridge found the post, side netting and Krul’s chest with his attempts.

Drogba also directed a difficult first-time shot over the bar after a sublime piece of skill and brilliant cross from Mata.

The Ivorian finally gave Chelsea the lead when Newcastle drifted off at a throw-in, Cole finding Mata whose delightful cross was powerfully headed home by Drogba for only his third goal of the season.

But Chelsea’s desperate search for goals and willingness to commit men forward meant the game was refreshingly open.

Newcastle, although not able to gain or retain as much possession, were equally dangerous when they could attack.

Before Drogba’s opener, Ba nearly made the visitors pay for their sloppy finishing when he climbed above Luiz and saw a fine header come back off the post.

After the break Drogba smashed a header into his own bar under pressure from Ba and seconds later a brilliant Blues counter-attack saw Ramires denied by the inspirational Krul after great work by Sturridge.

Newcastle substitute Sammy Ameobi had a strike cleared off the line by John Terry and his brother Shola also hit the bar with a thunderous 20-yard strike.

At the other end, Mata also poked an effort just wide and Sturridge was denied when one-on-one.

Chelsea finally made their goals-to-chances ratio look respectable in the final few minutes.

Kalou shot home via Krul’s arm when Torres found him after seeing his own route to goal blocked.

And Sturridge got the the goal his performance so richly deserved when he cut in from the right and found the far corner from the edge of the box.

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