LNTUP

Chelsea Came From Behind To Beat Newcastle United 3-1 At Stamford Bridge

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The victory takes Antonio Conte’s side level on points with Manchester United to put a little more pressure on Jose Mourinho’s team ahead of their clash with Arsenal on Saturday night.

Rafa Benitez’s side took a surprise lead in the 12th minute when Dwight Gayle, before Hazard struck back less than ten minutes later.

Chelsea, who won every match in December last season, have now extended their undefeated top flight run to seven matches.

Newcastle, who opened up with a five-man defensive rearguard, tested Chelsea in the very early stages with Matt Ritchie and Jacob Murphy whipping in crosses from either side, but neither ball into the box managed to trouble the home side.

The Magpies registered the game’s first shot on target when Ayoze Perez flicked the ball back to Mikel Merino before he curved an effort into the hands of Thibaut Courtois on the nine-minute mark.

Moments later, Alvaro Morata fired over the bar as the Blues quickly responded at the Shed End.

But Newcastle grabbed a deserved lead with 12 minutes on the clock.

Chelsea’s uncertain defending resulted in Marco Alonso clipping back to his goalkeeper, but Gayle latched on to the ball before Murphy attempted to round the goalkeeper.

Murphy was sent flying by Courtois before Gayle slotted home from close-range to hand United the lead.

However, just as the euphoria of the opening goal was starting to settle down for the United faithful, the Magpies needed to rely on a great save from Karl Darlow who rushed out to deny Eden Hazard.

Darlow then denied Alvaro Morata before Andreas Christensen struck the post.

But the game was tied up at 1-1 when Newcastle failed to clear their lines through Florian Lejeune before Hazard followed up and lashed home the loose ball with 21 minutes gone.

The Blues went ahead on 33 minutes when Matt Ritchie got himself in trouble on the left-hand side with a poor header before being unable to block Moses’ cross with Alvaro Morata heading home with ease.

With Chelsea in full control, Newcastle had to make the most of the few breaks they got.

Lejeune earned a corner on the left-hand side with a powerful volley but Ritchie’s corner was met with an unconvincing header from Merino.

Chelsea finished the first half strongly but Newcastle managed to get in at the break with a 2-1 scoreline.

But the Blues picked up where they left off in the second half and forced another early opening when Moses’ cross was clipped over his own bar by Mbemba.

On 56 minutes Ciaran Clark had to block Hazard’s shot before the Belgian was soon appealing for a penalty after Mbemba’s challenge in the penalty area.

Perez then responded for Newcastle when his shot whistled wide of the post after a long-range effort.

It proved to be Perez’s last contribution of the game with the Spaniard replaced seconds later by Isaac Hayden.

As the game drifted past the 67-minute mark, Darlow was tested again with efforts from Moses and the Hazard.

But just when Newcastle fans wondered if their side could possibly pinch a point, a needless challenge from Ritchie handed Chelsea the chance to seal off the game.

Moses got free on the right-hand side before Ritchie dived in too hastily and conceded a penalty to cap an unhappy afternoon in the capital.

Hazard stepped up and cheekily dinked his spot-kick down the middle to beat Darlow with 16 minutes left.

Although, Darlow maintained his focus on Chelsea’s next attack when Belgian ace Hazard burst forward again before the Toon goalkeeper rushed out to make a fine block.

Darlow was then on hand to keep out Alonso who fired in a shot on the turn to produce another fine save.

Chelsea, though, seemed to take their foot off the gas as the game entered the latter stages.

Jonjo Shelvey and Clark had late chances but the game had long gone.

Newcastle players trudged off and now must take something out of home games with Leicester City and Everton in the coming days.