Miles Starforth’s match analysis: Chelsea 5 Newcastle 1

Diego Costa slides in to score his Chelsea's first goal in the fifth minute against Newcastle United.
Diego Costa slides in to score his Chelsea's first goal in the fifth minute against Newcastle United.

“You’re worse than Sunderland.”

That was the chant from Chelsea’s fans after Willian put their team 3-0 ahead.

And you know what? They’re probably right.

We all thought Newcastle United’s defeat to Everton was bad.

But this was worse, much worse, and Saturday’s 5-1 defeat at Stamford Bridge was embarrassing as it was shocking.

Newcastle, on this evidence, are going down.

Where was the cohesion and coherence?

Newcastle lacked shape, discipline and leadership, and eight months after Steve McClaren’s appointment as head coach, the team does not appear to be any better.

So how can we expect the necessary improvement to come in the final 12 games of the season?

If McClaren hasn’t been able to have an impact so far, then it’s a stretch to think he can turn the team’s fortunes around between now and the end of the campaign.

Will owner Mike Ashley act? There’s a compelling case for him to make a change before it’s too late.

Charnley – who appointed McClaren and oversaw an £80million spend – must also be concerned about his position given that he staked so much on McClaren being a success.

Up to now, McClaren’s appointment has been anything but successful.

And Newcastle, having won half a dozen games all season, must somehow take 16 points from their remaining dozen fixtures if they are to stay in the Premier League.

Chelsea might be languishing in the bottom half of the league, but they are the reigning champions.

United made them look like swaggering champions again.

Diego Costa gave Chelsea a fifth-minute lead after Willian skipped past Cheick Tiote and played him in.

Four minutes later, Newcastle were 2-0 down. Pedro intercepted a square pass from makeshift full-back Rolando Aarons and ran upfield and scored.

Willian saw United off in the 17th minute with a third goal for Chelsea.

It was unbelievably bad, but actually quite believable given some of the teams performances away from home this season.

Newcastle weren’t able to play as a team, and the frustrations of individuals, notably Jonjo Shelvey, quickly became apparent.

Shelvey – who was poor for the third successive away game – was involved in a verbal exchange with McClaren and Paul Simpson, his assistant, during the first half.

Other players, including Georginio Wijnaldum, Moussa Sissoko and Aleksandar Mitrovic, simply went missing.

McClaren replaced Wijnaldum with Jack Colback for the second half, but things didn’t get much better.

Pedro added a fourth goal in the 59th minute. Steven Taylor misjudged Cesc Fabregas’ long ball forward, and he ran on to score.

Strangely, McClaren chose to throw on Seydou Doumbia, a player who was new to the league and hadn’t had a competitive game in two months, ahead of Ayoze Perez with 20 minutes left.

United, if anything, needed Perez’s energy and enthusiasm.

Doumbia might be a “finisher”, according to McClaren, but his team hadn’t got anywhere near Chelsea’s box, so Perez looked a better bet.

Substitute Bertrand Traore added a fifth from a Cesar Azpilicueta cross with seven minutes left on the clock.

Andros Townsend netted an 89th-minute goal for Newcastle, but it wasn’t even a consolation for the club’s 1,500 travelling fans.

The players, gingerly at first, went to the away end to applaud them at the final whistle.

Remarkably, United’s supporters – who had paid up to £55 for a ticket – hadn’t turned on McClaren or the players during the preceding 90 minutes.

The fact that they didn’t turn on McClaren wasn’t exactly a show of faith in the 54-year-old, who will take his players to La Manga, Spain, tomorrow for a training camp and a friendly against Lillestrom.

McClaren bristled at a question about the trip after the match.

He took exception to claims that it was a “warm-weather trip” – as it could “pour down”.

McClaren’s right. There is some rain forecast in Murcia this week, but it’ll be warmer than Tyneside.

But fans will question what use will be double sessions in Spain when the work done at the club’s Benton training ground has so far failed to produce an upturn in fortunes.

Few fans, it seems, still believe he can keep the club in the Premier League.

Four of the club’s next six games are away from home, and the Newcastle’s predicament could get a lot worse before it gets better.

United are deservedly in the relegation zone.

Unless anything dramatic happens, they will stay there.

Sunderland could well climb out of the bottom three over the coming weeks, and the Tyne-Wear derby on March 20 has already taken on an even greater significance.

And Chelsea’s fans at a point.

Right now, you wouldn’t bet against Sam Allaryce’s team in that fixture.