Chelsea 3 Newcastle United 0

Last updated : 19 November 2005 By Footymad Previewer
Joe Cole fired home the opener which unhinged Newcastle's rearguard and cemented Chelsea's place at the top of the Premiership as they moved nine points clear.

Cole repaid the faith Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has in him by producing an almost perfect midfield performance, eclipsing the extraordinary Frank Lampard on this occasion.

Hernan Crespo and Damien Duff scored the other goals which ended Newcastle's excellent recent run.

But for much of the first half, this was a Chelsea side that looked a shadow of their former selves.

Three second-half goals, the first within 90 seconds of the restart changed all that.

Cole's goal on 47 minutes was a result of a mistake by Titus Bramble, the Newcastle centre-back.

His mis-hit clearance fell straight to Eidur Gudjohnsen in the middle of the pitch. The Icelandic striker turned midfielder, sliced the perfect ball into the path of Cole, wide on the right.

Cole arrowed towards goal, keeping the ball under control all the time. With only Shay Given to beat, Cole inched into the penalty area before rifling home a low right-footer across the path of the keeper and into the far corner of the net.

Quite what Mourinho said to his side at half-time remains a mystery, but whatever it was, it certainly worked.

Bramble almost let his side down after 15 seconds of the start when a feeble back-pass let in Argentinian striker Crespo. But for the alertness of Given, Chelsea would have taken the earliest of leads.

Newcastle had a seemingly valid shout for a penalty on five minutes but referee Mark Halsey waved away the appeal much to the anger of Newcastle boss Graeme Souness on the touchline. But that was the best it got for United in the first half.

Chelsea suffered the loss of Claude Makelele after 10 minutes following a clash with Scott Parker and the hosts never fully recovered their rhythm.

Ricardo Carvalho missed a sitter of a header on 18 minutes following an excellent whipped free-kick by Duff.

And five minutes before the break, Asier Del Horno also screwed wide a header from close range.

But as the cliché says, goals change games, and Cole's opener changed the match in Chelsea's favour. On 52 minutes the game was effectively over.

A trademark quick counter-attack by Chelsea saw Frank Lampard bring the ball deep into the Newcastle half. He passed the ball perfectly to Crespo wide, inside the area.

In one swift movement, the striker turned the ball past the static Bramble and curved a right-footer wide of the outstretched dive of Given into the corner of the net.

It took until the 69th minute before Newcastle had their first effort on goal and it was the livewire Charles N'Zogbia who dummied John Terry before unleashing a fine left-footer from just inside the area which Petr Cech did well to get his body behind.

Chelsea were comfortably in charge and scored with the last kick of the game when Duff blasted towards goal. He saw his shot take a wicked deflection off Parker and looped over Given into the back of the net.

MAN OF THE MATCH: Joe Cole (Chelsea) - Twelve months after Mourinho blasted him for his poor team play, the midfielder showed why he is unrecognisable as the individual talent who played for himself and not the team. He produced a wonderful box-to box performance, coupled with individual flair and excellent tactical play.