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Timo Werner scored and assisted as he ended a 14-game goal drought to help Chelsea to victory over Newcastle in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge.
Werner’s cross rebounded out to Olivier Giroud to net Chelsea’s opener in the first half, after the France striker replaced the injured Tammy Abraham.
Summer signing Werner then made it 2-0 eight minutes later, scrambling in a flick-on at the back post.
Victory sees Chelsea move back up to fourth place, ahead of West Ham.
The Hammers, who comfortably beat Sheffield United earlier on Monday night, are level on points with Chelsea but both sides sit above defending champions Liverpool as competition for Champions League places heats up.
“We knew we had the opportunity to jump into the top four,” Tuchel told BBC Sport. “We took this chance and the guys get a well deserved two days off now.
“There was a big gap between us when we started. It’s not over. Now we’ve made it and it’s the moment to hang in and keep on showing the hunger we had. We’ve made this big step today. We have to follow up and not lose any intensity or determination.”
1,000 minutes, 31 attempts, 14 games
Werner came into this match having not scored since a 4-1 win against bottom side Sheffield United on 7 November.
He had chances within the opening half an hour with the best coming from Marcos Alonso’s header which Werner poked wide.
It threatened to be a similar story for Werner, who has been creative for Chelsea this season but has failed to deliver goals following a high-profile move from RB Leipzig in the summer.
But after taking a whack in the face from Newcastle defender Jamal Lewis and running off to receive treatment, Werner returned to the pitch to provide a cross that ultimately came to Giroud to coolly thump into the net, and the German added Chelsea’s second from a corner before half-time.
It was Werner’s first goal in exactly 1,000 minutes of Premier League action for Chelsea and ended a run of 31 attempts without scoring – he even had to wait for a video assistant referee decision before being allowed to celebrate properly, which he did with a relieved smile.
His performance capped off another positive result for Chelsea under new boss Thomas Tuchel, who handed a start to out-of-favour goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga and came through unscathed.
It was Arrizabalaga’s first league start since a 3-3 draw with Southampton on 17 October after losing his position under former manager Frank Lampard.
The Blues have now picked up 13 points from a possible 15 under the new leadership, winning four successive league matches in a row for the first time since November 2019.
Tuchel described it as “the perfect evening” but admitted Abraham’s injury was “serious enough he had to go out and we worry about him”.
Newcastle struggle to compete
Newcastle had picked up two wins from their previous three league matches after a burst in form but they struggled to compete with an in-form Chelsea side at Stamford Bridge.
Abraham’s injury, as a result of Jamaal Lascelles’ strong recovery tackle in the box, saw the introduction of Giroud, who has enjoyed playing Newcastle and scored his ninth goal against them in the league.
Werner caused the defence problems too, and when Newcastle were able to get on the ball creative players Miguel Almiron and Allan Saint-Maximin were short of options.
Newcastle did ride a wave of pressure in the second half as Reece James, Werner and Mason Mount all came close to adding to Chelsea’s tally.
But the visitors’ best chance – Joe Willock’s header which was scrambled away by Arrizabalaga – did not come until the 74th minute, when Chelsea were in complete control.
Almiron drilled another effort wide minutes later and Newcastle had all four of their shots on target after the break but they never really threatened to get into game.
‘The perfect evening’ – what they said
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel to BBC Sport: “It was a very good night, the perfect evening. We knew we had the opportunity to jump into the top four. We took this chance.
“Now we’ve made this big step today we have to follow up and not lose any intensity or determination.”
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce to BBC Sport: “We were excellent in the second half and in the first half we found it very difficult. The way they played, the system they had, the two inside forwards – we didn’t deal with it well enough.
“Second half we got to grips with it and we were more aggressive – a lot of positives. First half was very difficult for us.”
Tuchel emulates Mourinho – the best of the stats
- Newcastle have lost six of their last seven away Premier League games after losing just one of the six before that.
- Chelsea have won eight consecutive home top-flight matches against an opponent (Newcastle) for the first time since winning nine in a row against West Brom between 1984 and 2013.
- Tuchel has picked up 13 points from his first five Premier League games in charge of Chelsea (W4 D1), level with Jose Mourinho’s first five with the club and bettered only by Carlo Ancelotti and Maurizio Sarri (15 pts each).
- He is just the third manager to see his team concede just one goal in his first five games as a boss in the Premier League, after Mourinho with Chelsea and Peter Taylor with Leicester.
- In his 100th Premier League appearance as a substitute, Giroud scored his 21st goal in the competition from the bench, with only Jermain Defoe netting more (24).
- Arrizabalaga kept his first Premier League clean sheet in five appearances (11 goals conceded in previous four), since a shut-out against Norwich in July 2020.
Chelsea travel to Southampton on Saturday, 20 February (12:30 GMT kick-off), while Newcastle go to Old Trafford to play Manchester United on Sunday, 21 February (19:00).
Source: BBC Sport