Magpies find Chelsea a Hazard
Written By: Robert Halter
After a vital 1-0 away win at title rivals Manchester City beginning of February it was the perfect tonic for Chelsea to continue their vein of form at Stamford Bridge against North East opponents Newcastle United, whose last outing was a 3-0 defeat at home to local rivals Sunderland. In the opening exchanges, Tim Krul had to catch hold of a low drive by Eden Hazard but on three minutes, the Blues edged closer as captain Frank Lampard drove a free kick narrowly wide of the left post, following an infringement by Steven Taylor on Samuel Eto’o. In the tenth minute, Lampard had another effort saved by Krul as his low drive was comfortably collected, after a neat lay off from Eto’o. A half hit shot by Hatem Ben Arfa, slightly troubled Petr Cech on sixteen minutes as Cech caught hold of the shot after letting the ball slip through his finger tips. Midway through the first half, a double footed block by Krul kept out a shot that cannoned off Hazard as Eto’o was ready to pounce, after a ball in from Willian. But on twenty five minutes, Oscar dragged his shot wide of the left post after failing to capitalise on a well placed pass from Eto’o. Finally the deadlock was broken on twenty seven minutes, when Hazard exchanged passes with Branislav Ivanovic and then in turn, Hazard drilled the ball low into the left hand pocket from outside the area. A minute later the Magpies went up field but Davide Santon’s long range effort failed to trouble Cech. On thirty three minutes, Santon put Newcastle captain, Moussa Sissoko through on goal but when one and one with Cech, it was the Blues keeper that stood tall to deflect the ball behind with his legs. The missed opportunity proved costly with Chelsea doubling their advantage a minute later, as Willian was instrumental in the move and Hazard was played back in by Eto’o before turning the ball into the right side of the net as Hazard notched up his second goal of the game. On thirty eight minutes, the Magpies tried to find a way back but Luuk De Jong’s header was plucked out of the air by Cech, after a floating cross from Sammy Ameobi. After struggling from an earlier injury in the game it was time up for Mathieu Debuch as Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa took over the Newcastle cause. A miss firing Hazard failed to keep the ball down with the target in range on forty three minutes. Six minutes into the second half, a crest fallen Krul was deceived in the wind after David Luiz pumped the ball forward from inside his own half but it was cruel luck on Krul, who required treatment and a strapped left ankle, having taken a clumsy fall. On fifty seven minutes, Eto’o was unable to convert from inside the area, after miscuing a well placed pass from Ivanovic. On the hour mark, Krul was forced to palm over Lampard’s well struck free kick, after Yanga-Mbiwa had fouled Hazard and from the resulting Lampard corner, Yanga-Mbiwa clipped Eto’o in the area and linesman Darren Cann alerted referee Howard Webb, who awarded the Blues a penalty in the sixty third minute, where Hazard completed his hat trick by tucking the ball into the right side of the goal. The Magpies made another change by taking off Ben Arfa for Dan Gosling before the Blues replaced Eto’o for Demba Ba. On seventy seven minutes, Ameobi played a ball over to Sissoko but his strike flew over the left side of the upright. After signing from Basel, Mohamed Salah made his first appearance in a Chelsea shirt in favour of Willian. There was still time for further reinforcements as the Magpies brought on Sylvain Marveaux for Vurnon Anita and then the Blues match winner Hazard made way for Andre Schurrle, who made an immediate impact as his pace down the left side troubled Newcastle before Salah drove wide and then moments later, Oscar paved the way for Salah, whose strike was deflected away by Krul’s feet but the Magpies should have got a consolation goal in the eighty seventh minute as Sissoko carved an opening for Marveaux but he wastefully struck wide of the right post.