James scores twice in Chelsea victory at Newcastle

Jorginho (pen)

Reece James scored twice as Chelsea won at St James’ Park to move three points clear at the top of the Premier League.

The opener came when Matt Ritchie cleared Callum Hudson-Odoi’s cross as far as James, who brilliantly fired into the far corner of the net.

And when Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow was left stranded after committing himself to a Ruben Loftus-Cheek shot which was blocked, James swept the ball home to double the lead – his third goal in his past two league matches.

Jorginho sealed the victory with a penalty after Darlow had hauled down Kai Havertz.

Chelsea, already without injured strikers Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner, lost Mason Mount to illness on the morning of the game.

Their absence showed as the Blues dominated possession in the first half but lacked a cutting edge.

They had a goal disallowed just before the half-hour mark when an offside Hakim Ziyech netted after being found by Jorginho’s brilliant pass.

As Chelsea continued to press, both Havertz and Ziyech failed to capitalise on James’ cross.

Havertz miscued and the ball then ran to Ziyech, who blasted over from near the edge of the six-yard box.

There was more frustration for Ziyech early in the second half when his shot deflected off Newcastle defender Jamaal Lascelles and against the post.

But Chelsea’s persistence was eventually rewarded and struggling Newcastle never seemed likely to recover.

Chelsea: Mendy, Christensen, Silva, Rudiger, James, Kante (Loftus-Cheek 64), Jorginho, Chilwell, Ziyech (Barkley 64), Hudson-Odoi (Saul 88), Havertz.
Subs not used: Kepa, Bettinelli, Alonso, Chalobah, Azpilicueta, Sarr.