CHELSEA condemned managerless Newcastle United to another defeat at Stamford Bridge this afternoon.
Goals from Oscar and Diego Costa gave Jose Mourinho’s Premier League leaders a 2-0 win.
But the scoreline didn’t tell the whole story, with Newcastle having dominated the game until Oscar’s 43nd-minute breakthrough.
United’s Remy Cabella was also bright up to the break, but he had his team-mates faded in the second half.
And once Chelsea took the lead, they never looked like surrendering it.
Caretaker manager restored fit-again Fabricio Coloccini, Daryl Janmaat, Moussa Sissoko and Jack Colback to his starting XI.
The quartet, along with the rested Ayoze Perez, had contrversially missed the previous weekend’s 1-0 FA Cup defeat to Leicester City.
Newcastle started well, though Cabella should have done better with an early cross, meant for Mike Williamson at the far post, which was easily gathered by Petr Cech.
Mourinho wasn’t happy with his team’s start.
The pace of Perez and power of Sissoko were causing Chelsea problems, and the lively Cabella had a shot deflected wide in the 19th minute.
Mourinho’s side were flat by comparison, and Cech did well to palm away a free-kick from Yoan Gouffran.
Cabella forced a good save from Cech just past the half-hour mark, and Sissoko struck the outside the post with a fierce right-footed shot after strolling past home captain John Terry.
And Chelsea’s tough was tough on United given their domination.
They took a quick corner after Fabricio Coloccini put the ball out of play.
Willian rolled the ball to Branislav Ivanovic, who pulled it back for Oscar. Krul and Daryl Janmaat couldn’t keep out Janmaat’s sidefooted effort
Chelsea took control of the game after the break.
Referee George East waved away a penalty appeal after Coloccini inadvertently handled a Costa cross, but their second goal wasn’t long in coming.
Costa was given too much time and space as he ran across the United box in the 59th minute, and the striker turned and shot past Krul.
Chelsea – who brought ex-United loanee Loic Remy off the bench, pressed for a third goal, and Coloccini cleared a Costa shot off the line with 11 minutes left on the clock.
And the game ended without anonther goal.
The result saw Chelsea move two points clear of Manchester City at the top of the Premier League.
Newcastle remained in 10th place.
CHELSEA: Cech; Ivanovic, Zouma, Terry, Azpilicueta (Filipe Luis, 37); Matic, Fabregas; Willian, Oscar (Ramires, 78), Hazard; Diego Costa (Remy, 84). Subs not used: Courtois, Cahill, Mikel, Drogba.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul; Janmaat, Coloccini, Williamson, Dummett; Sissoko (Riviere, 84), Anita, Colback; Cabella, Perez, Gouffran (Ameobi, 63). Subs not used: Woodman, Santon, Haidara, Vuckic, Satka.
Goals: Oscar 43, Costa 59
Bookings: Williamson 45, Colback 58, Dummett 65, Matic 71, Oscar 76
Referee: Roger East (Wiltshire)