Chelsea moved two points clear at the top of the table after securing a 2-0 win over Newcastle United.
The Blues made it ten straight home wins in the Premier League thanks to goals from Oscar and Diego Costa, as Jose Mourinho’s side capitalised on Manchester City’s 1-1 draw at Everton.
It was rough on Newcastle, who were lively in the opening 30 minutes. Moussa Sissoko hit the post with their best chance, whilst Petr Cech was called upon to make some important saves.
John Carver will have known that the Magpies should have taken their chances, and Oscar made them pay two minutes before the interval as he tapped home following a quick short corner.
Costa doubled the advantage on the hour, finishing a fine team goal with a low finish that Tim Krul had no chance stopping. That was that, but the result might have hid a few cracks within the Chelsea line-up.
Cesar Azpilicueta limped off in the first period, and John Terry was beaten with ease on a couple of occasions. Gary Cahill was axed after the defeat to Spurs, and Kurt Zouma impressed as his replacement.
The midfield did just about enough, although they can certainly play better and create more. On this day, it was a case of doing what was needed to get the win.
Chelsea player ratings vs Newcastle
Petr Cech - 7
Didn’t have much to do in the second-half, but produced some big saves in the first period to keep the sides level and eventually kept a clean sheet.
Branislav Ivanovic - 6
Picked up an assist for the opening goal but not quite as dangerous going forward and could have done more with the ball.
Kurt Zouma - 8
Came in for Gary Cahill and was the standout performer at the back. Kept the dangerous Perez in check.
John Terry - 4
Worryingly exposed when taken on at pace, and whilst he remains a worthy captain he may need to be rested from game-to-game.
Cesar Azpilicueta - N/A
Came off with a thigh injury inside 40 minutes.
Nemanja Matic - 6
Usual graft in midfield, picked up a booking. Unspectacular but did the job.
Cesc Fabregas - 6
Solid if unspectacular performance, past on the ball when required and kept things ticking over.
Willian - 6 and a half
An encouraging performance with good work-rate. All-round performance probably better than Oscar but a little wasteful.
Oscar - 7
One goal and one assist. Involved in the key moments but could have performed better.
Eden Hazard - 6
Expect so much from the Belgian, who showed glimpses in the second-half but was not his usual brilliant self.
Diego Costa - 7
Scored a lovely goal but, again, took time to get involved in the first-half. Tireless work for his team.
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