Chelsea 2-1 Newcastle United
Willian fired a stunning winner for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge as they edged out plucky Newcastle 2-1 on Saturday evening.
Pedro had put the hosts ahead early in the game with a clever finish but the Magpies went in level at the interval after a towering header from Ciaran Clark.
Chelsea, despite looking tentative in the final third, found their winner and duly opened up a six-point gap on Arsenal in the race for a top-four place, with the Gunners having lost the lunchtime game across London at West Ham.
The hosts went in front on nine minutes when David Luiz launched a super high pass to find the darting run of Pedro, who had crept in behind the Newcastle cover. The Spaniard controlled well before lofting the ball over the advancing Martin Dubravka and into the Newcastle net.
Chelsea bossed possession with their lead but the visiting side were relatively comfortably, save for a header from Luiz and a long-distance effort from Pedro.
At the other end, Ayoze Perez had a glorious chance to restore parity after Solomon Rondon’s flick on sent him into the clear although his early shot went the wrong side of the upright.
With half-time in sight, Newcastle hit back. Matt Ritchie’s corner was met by a strong header from central defender Clark and, with Pedro having left his station on the near post, the ball flew home.
Chelsea didn’t exactly come out all guns blazing in the second half but they got the eventual winner just shy of the hour mark. Eden Hazard, who endured another quiet evening, rolled the ball to Willian on the left-hand side of Newcastle’s penalty box.
In typical fashion, the Brazilian left his marker with a swerve of his hips before unleashing a terrific curling shot that flew across Dubravka and into the corner of the goal.
With Newcastle unable to muster much of a response, Chelsea held out for their win and opened a favourable gap in the top-four chase.