Newcastle started well enough, but found goalkeeper Willy Caballero at the top of his game in the first 45 minutes, and the visitors were unable to match their first-half chances after the break.
The first half an hour or so will give manager Rafa Benitez some comfort with Wednesday's visit of Burnley his main focus with Newcastle just a point above the relegation zone.
"We did well in the first half, had chances, put them under pressure. We made a mistake in the counter-attack for the first goal and after second goal we were unlucky. There is a big difference to play Chelsea at their home and be 2-0 down," said Benitez.
"I am pleased with the team in the first half and disappointed we lost the game, now we concentrate on the league."
A win at St James' Park would ensure Newcastle fans will quickly forget this disjointed display as they look to end a two-match winless run in the league following a draw with Swansea and defeat by Manchester City.
The transfer window will close not long after the full-time whistle on Wednesday but it remains to be seen if Benitez will add reinforcements to his squad with the club in limbo over a potential sale.
One thing is for certain, Benitez will want to hold onto Jonjo Shelvey, who was somewhat unlucky not to score in the first half.
The former Liverpool and Swansea midfielder has been linked with a move away in January, but while not a guarantee, hopes of Premier League survival will receive a significant boost should Shelvey remain in black and white come February 1.
"I hope we can do something," said Benitez when asked about his transfer plans over the coming days.