BY PAUL LAGAN
Marcos Alonso was mocked by the Newcastle fans all game for having played for fellow North-East outfit Sunderland, but he had the last word when he smacked home the only goal to give Chelsea three vital Premier League points against hard-working Newcastle United this afternoon.
It was only the west Londoners’ second league win at home this term but they are third in the table tonight.
It was a deserved victory, especially for a second half performance which they dominated – the Toon wilted under sustained pressure and looked tired after their energetic opening 45 minutes.
Newcastle started the brighter, forcing the home side back. A drive from Allan Saint-Maximin, on 10 minutes, while off target, signalled the attacking the intent of the vistitors.
Chelsea finally got a hand on the game on 16 minutes. Callum Hudson-Odoi weaved some magic on the left, before clipping his byline ball to the far post where Willian was free, but his header was just wide of Martin Dubravka’s goal.
The Toon stopper was on the spot to party away a Mason Mount twist, turn and shot, three minutes later. The venom on the shot must has stung the goalkeeper.
Ross Barkley, who hadn’t had a great game hobbled off the turf on 42 minutes, to be replaced by Mateo Kovacic.
There were no further changes at half time by either side.
The Blues were desperately unlucky not to open the scoring on 56 minutes when after a period of sustained pressure Tammy Abraham rattled the Newcastle crossbar.
While the home side dominated possession, they were not created clear-cut chances.
head coach Frank Lampard opted to bring pm American, Christian Pulisic for Mount.
Following a quick break away inspired by Willian and Hudson-Odoi, the Blues fell to Pulisic, who scuffed a close-range effort, but even so, it was goal-bound, but Dubravka was equal to the task, parrying the ball away on 67 minutes.
But the pressure finally told, and it came on 74 minutes. The ball was worked well on the right, but fore being tucked across the Toon penalty area to Hudson-Odoi. He pirouetted 180 degrees and slide the ball to in-running Marcus Alonso. The Spain left-back fizzed a low, left-footer into the back of the net, Up to then unbeatable Dubravka, who had thwarted a Willian blaster seconds earlier, failed to divert then ball and it nestled into the back of his net.
Chelsea face Ajax in Amsterdam on Wednesday in a Champions League group match.
Abraham thought he had tucked away number two on 80 minutes but a brilliant last-ditch block by DeAndre Yedlin prevented the simple tap-in.
Teams: Chelsea, Kepa, Alonso, Jorginho, Barkley, Abraham, Willian, Zouma, Mount, Hudson-Odoi, Azpilicueta Tomori
Subs, Caballero, Kovacic, Giroud, Pulisic, Batshuayi, James, Guehi
Newcastle, Dubravka, Clark, Schaefer, Lascelles, Joelinton, Allan Saint-Maximin, Willems, Yedlin, Almiron, S Longstaff, M Longstaff
Sub, Darlow, Dummett, Carroll, Shelvey, Gayle, Kraft, Atsu
Referee: Andre Marriner