Timo Werner scored his first Premier League goal since November as his instrumental display helped Chelsea to a 2-0 Premier League win over Newcastle United. (More Football News)
Werner's drought, which stretched back to a 4-1 win over Sheffield United on November 7, has been well documented but he got the goal his performance deserved in a routine victory.
His strike followed a 31st-minute Olivier Giroud opener set up by Werner, with Newcastle never threatening a fightback after two goals in the space of eight minutes.
Chelsea comfortably completed a league double over Newcastle and move into the top four as a result of a fifth successive win under Thomas Tuchel, who is unbeaten in six since taking over from Frank Lampard.
A bright Chelsea start saw Dwight Gayle forced to head Cesar Azpilicueta's goal-bound header behind for a corner from which Tammy Abraham sent a free header well wide.
Abraham was forced off through injury in the 20th minute having earlier gone down under a strong but fair challenge from Jamaal Lascelles, with VAR rejecting claims for a penalty.
Werner spurned an excellent chance when he stretched to meet Marcos Alonso's headed pass but only succeeded in skewing it wide.
But he created Chelsea's opener on the half-hour, his low cross falling into the path of Giroud, who lashed into an unguarded net on his 100th Premier League appearance as a substitute.
Werner then lifted a half-volley narrowly over the crossbar but his drought was finally ended as Mason Mount's corner deflected into his path at the far post and he got just enough contact to turn the ball over the line before Karl Darlow could claw it away.
Newcastle were more of a threat in the second half, Kepa Arrizabalaga forced into a diving save from Joe Willock, but the three points were never in doubt for Chelsea.
What does it mean? Tuchel continues turnaround
Tougher tests await Chelsea, who were in command here from the kick-off, notably next week when they will face Atletico Madrid in the Champions League before meeting Manchester United.
But the manner in which they swept Newcastle aside is cause for further optimism that the good form under Tuchel can be sustained. A meek display from the visitors suggests at a prolonged fight against relegation, with Fulham gaining ground on the 17th-placed Magpies.
Wait over for Werner
Werner's goal was his first in exactly 1,000 minutes in the league and ended a run of 31 attempts without finding the net. It was just reward for an energetic all-round display from the Germany international.
1000 - Timo Werner has scored his first Premier League goal for Chelsea in exactly 1000 minutes - since netting against Sheffield United in November - ending a run of 31 attempts without finding the back of the net in the competition. Relief. #CHENEW pic.twitter.com/1DaodRBhBU— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 15, 2021
Newcastle offer nothing
Newcastle have experienced something of a revival in fortunes in recent weeks but their lack of an attacking threat here was stark. Steve Bruce's men failed to muster a shot on target in the first half and signs of life after the restart did not yield anything tangible.
Key Opta Facts:
- Chelsea have won eight consecutive home top-flight matches against an opponent (Newcastle) for the first time since winning nine in a row against West Brom between 1984 and 2013.
- Thomas Tuchel has picked up 13 points from his first five Premier League games in charge of Chelsea (W4 D1), level with Jose Mourinho's first five with the club and bettered only by Carlo Ancelotti and Maurizio Sarri (15 pts each).
- The German is just the third manager to see his team concede just one goal in his first five games as a boss in the Premier League, after Mourinho with Chelsea and Peter Taylor with Leicester (no manager has shipped no goals in their first five games in charge in the competition).
- In his 100th Premier League appearance as a substitute, Chelsea's Olivier Giroud scored his 21st goal in the competition from the bench, with only Jermain Defoe netting more (24).
- Giroud has netted nine Premier League goals against Newcastle, his joint-best return against an opponent in the competition (also 9 v Aston Villa).
Saturday sees Chelsea visit Southampton, Newcastle visit Old Trafford to take on Manchester United a day later.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine