Chelsea Tighten Grip On Top-four With Win Over Newcastle
But Newcastle equalised through Ciaran Clark’s powerful header when he got between Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz from Matt Ritchie’s corner.
Willian won it for Chelsea in the second half with a fine curling finish after being played in by Eden Hazard.
The result leaves Maurizio Sarri’s side fourth, six points clear of Arsenal, who they face at Emirates Stadium in their next game on 19 January.
Chelsea had failed to score in their previous two league matches at Stamford Bridge – a 1-0 loss to Leicester and a goalless draw with Southampton – but they netted early on with Pedro’s seventh goal of the season in all competitions.
However, with Eden Hazard again featuring as a ‘false nine’ with Olivier Giroud on the bench and Alvaro Morata injured, they struggled to create further clear-cut chances before Clark equalised five minutes before the break.
There were boos heard inside Stamford Bridge at half-time, but Sarri’s side were greatly improved in the second half, with Hazard a much more prominent threat.
The Belgian led Chelsea’s attack, which resulted in their second goal as he ran at the Newcastle defence, offloaded to Willian who, from a tight angle, cut inside onto his right foot and curled a beautiful effort past Dubravka with the ball going in off the post.
With nine minutes left, 18-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi, the subject of a £35m bid from German champions Bayern Munich came on for only his second Premier League appearance.
The home fans chanted “we want you to stay” in the direction of the talented winger, who was part of England’s Under-17 World Cup triumph in 2017 and has 18 months left on his current Chelsea deal.