Newcastle's desperate need for a striker highlighted by FA Cup defeat to Chelsea
Newcastle United's need for a new striker was highlighted at Stamford Bridge as the club crashed out of the FA Cup.
Rafa Benitez's side were beaten 3-0 by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.
Michy Batshuayi netted twice, and Marcus Alonso also scored, in what turned out to be a convincing win for Antonio Conte's side.
Benitez had made five changes for the fourth-round tie, which had followed the club's 3-1 win over Luton Town earlier this month.
Matt Ritchie, Henri Saivet, Massadio Haidara, Chancel Mbemba and Dwight Gayle were brought into United's starting XI, and Benitez's side gave as good as they got in the first half-hour.
Newcastle, confident and comfortable on the ball, created a series of half-chances, but they couldn't take them.
Chelsea's first goal changed the game. A superb ball from Pedro found Hazard, who played it inside to Alonso. Alonso found Batshuayi, who shot into an empty net from eight yards.
Conte's team all but killed the tie off just before the break. Chelsea quickly broke forward after a mistake from Saivet, and Batshuayi's shot took a deflection off captain Jamaal Lascelles on its way past Karl Darlow.
The game was gone, and it was just a case of how many more goals the Premier League champions would score in the second half.
Alonso netted a 72nd-minute free-kick to confirm Newcastle's fate ahead of Wednesday night's home league game against Burnley.
In the meantime, the club, which has had two bids for Feyenoord's Nicolai Jorgensen, simply had to sign a striker before the transfer deadline.
This defeat, like so many before it this season, underlined the need for more quality up front.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Darlow; Manquillo (Murphy, 77), Mbemba, Lascelles, Clark, Haidara; Shelvey, Saivet, Hayden (Atsu, 83); Ritchie; Gayle (Joselu, 64). Subs not used: Woodman, Yedlin, Dummett, Diame.
CHELSEA: Caballero; Rudiger, Christensen, Cahill; Zappacosta, Drinkwater, Kante (Ampadu, 77), Alonso; Pedro (Hudson-Odoi, 81), Batshuayi, Hazard (Barkley, 73). Subs not used: Eduardo, Moses, Fabregas, , Musonda.
Goals: Batshuayi 31, 44, Alonso 72
Booking: Mbemba 17
Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire)