Chelsea vs. Newcastle United: 6 Things We Learned
Jose Mourinho’s men rarely needed to step out of first gear against the lacklustre Magpies, who were missing a number of key players through injury and suspension.
So as the West Londoners move to the summit with just 13 games remaining, we look at six things that were learned at Stamford Bridge this weekend.
Eden Hazard Is Fast Becoming the Premier League’s Player of the Season
For the opening 25 minutes or so, it seemed Newcastle United had a handle on their clash with Chelsea, and they looked reasonably comfortable as the minutes ticked by.
Enter Eden Hazard, who had patiently waited for an opening before painting his name in 50-foot letters all over the fixture in devastating fashion.
Following on from his breathtaking performance against Manchester City on Monday, the little Belgian ran rings around the Magpies to score twice in seven first-half minutes.
And his perfect afternoon was complete when he tucked away his third from the penalty spot after the break.
In Hazard, Jose Mourinho has the ideal weapon through the middle, and on this showing, the 23-year-old could be amongst the end-of-season awards in a few months time.
Newcastle United’s Failings in the Transfer Window Are There for All to See
Without Yohan Cabaye pulling the strings in the middle of the park, Newcastle United looked devoid of ideas at Chelsea, and there are gaping holes in their starting XI.
A lack of investment has left Alan Pardew’s men short of ideas going forward, and through no lack of effort, loan-signing Luuk De Jong cut an isolated figure up front.
Prior to the closing of January’s window, over half of the Magpies’ Premier League goals had come courtesy of Cabaye and their other on-loan striker Loic Remy.
But with the former sold, and Remy currently suspended, the Toon looked toothless in attack, and they are paying the price for their gutless performance in the transfer market.
Willian Is Enjoying a New Lease of Life
Chelsea’s rise to the top of the Premier League table can be attributed to a number of factors, but the form of Willian has to be one of the most prominent.
In Willian, Mourinho has a player that can affect fixtures from a number of different positions, and his advanced role at Manchester City on Monday was vital.
Against Newcastle United, the Brazilian international picked up where he left off at the Etihad Stadium, and his presence could be crucial over the next few months.
Alan Pardew’s Squad Is More Threadbare Than Ever
As well as Yohan Cabaye’s absence following his move to Paris Saint-Germain, Newcastle United were down to the bare bones at Chelsea on Saturday, and they simply didn’t have quality cover in vital areas.
At the back, skipper Fabricio Coloccini was missing, while Cheick Tiote’s absence was noticeable in the middle of the park—as were Loic Remy and Yoan Gouffran in an attacking sense.
Forgotten men Dan Gosling and Sylvain Marveaux were drafted in to plug the gaps, with the latter missing a glorious opportunity to pull a goal back for the visitors late on.
But given their status as outcasts so far this season, the fact the pair were involved at all speaks volumes about manager Alan Pardew’s options.
Mourinho’s “Little Horses” Are Showing Their Pedigree
As easy as their victory over Newcastle United was, Feb. 8 could turn out to be a red-letter day for Chelsea come the end of the season.
The Blues’ 3-0 win saw them overtake Arsenal at the top of the Premier League table, and coupled with their impressive triumph at Manchester City five days earlier, they are worthy leaders.
Manager Jose Mourinho labelled his team “little horses” in the title race after Monday’s game at the Etihad Stadium, as reported by James Dickinson in the Daily Express.
But judging by the way they’ve taken the initiative, the West Londoners are looking more and more like pedigrees as the weeks go by.
The Toon’s Slump Needs to Be Addressed
Newcastle United have now lost six of their last eight fixtures in all competitions, and their slump needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
With key figures missing, the Magpies were simply outplayed for long spells against Chelsea, but they need to find a win from somewhere to stop their season from disintegrating further.
The Toon have endured a turbulent spell of late, but the best way to remedy such turmoil is by beating the Spurs at St. James’ Park on Wednesday.