Three things we learned: Chelsea - Newcastle
Chelsea - Newcastle was a pretty straightforward home win at Stamford Bridge as Thomas Tuchel’s honeymoon period continues.
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The Blues have won four of his first five games in charge, and four in a row, as they’ve conceded just once and are unbeaten since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard. Newcastle had their moments, but Chelsea pretty much held them at arms length throughout.
Chelsea moved into the top four with the win and have 42 points, as they are four points off second place. Newcastle remain on 25 points.
3 things we learned: Chelsea - Newcastle
1. Werner impresses, ends drought: His first Premier League goal since November 7 saw him mobbed by his teammates and Werner deserved this. Even if his goals dried up, his endeavor didn’t. He never stops working and under Tuchel he’s played in a slightly different position underneath the main striker, coming off the left flank. It suits him well and he’s been great in recent weeks. Werner has won penalty kicks, created goals for his teammates and finally has a goal of his own. Werner is a workhorse and you got the sense that when his luck turns, he will score lots of goals. This scrappy goal will surely set him on his way to a long streak of success.
2. Kepa returns, looks okay: It was a surprise to see Kepa start over Mendy, but should it have been? The Spanish goalkeeper was made a scapegoat for Frank Lampard’s defensive problems but it seemed more like a lack of confidence than anything else. Kepa made one great save from Willock and was generally okay with the ball at his feet. There really isn’t much between Kepa and Mendy when it comes to Chelsea’s starting goalkeeper and Tuchel looks to be leaning towards the Spaniard.
3. New identity, but where does Pulisic fit in?: There is a clear identity for Chelsea now, with the 3-4-2-1 formation working well as wing backs Alonso and Hudson-Odoi are settled and Kovacic and Jorginho are keeping Kante out of the team. Mount and Werner playing underneath Abraham or Giroud works well and Pulisic and Ziyech are sort of the odd men out in attack, right now. Pulisic didn’t feature for the Blues against Newcastle and hasn’t started in the PL since Tuchel came in. Everyone thought he would be a favorite for the man who gave him his debut at Borussia Dortmund, but Tuchel can’t seem to find a place to slot the USMNT star into this team. That is a bit worrying for Pulisic and USMNT fans.
Man of the Match: Timo Werner - Got his goal and was a constant threat cutting in from the left. He’s found his best position for Chelsea after such an unlucky stretch.
Chelsea started off superbly and Timo Werner was a constant menace down the left flank.
Tammy Abraham wanted a penalty kick after going down in the box but nothing was given and he had to come off injured. Moments later Chelsea had the lead as his replacement came up with the goods.
Werner, who had taken a whack to the face, charged down the left and found Giroud who finished calmly to make a huge impact.
Before half time Werner then ended his long drought as he dragged the ball over the line to put Chelsea in a commanding position.
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Newcastle improved in the second half with Allan Saint-Maximin as tricky as ever and Joe Willock coming close on a few occasions but Kepa saved well.
Chelsea threatened on the break as Werner caused more problems and Callum Hudson-Odoi went close on several occasions.
N’Golo Kante came off the bench to help Chelsea see out the win as Miguel Almiron had a chance but flashed it over as Newcastle were better in the second half but couldn’t break through a stubborn Chelsea defense.