knocked Newcastle off the top of the Premiership table as an Eidur
Gudjohnsen brace gave them a 2-1 victory at St James' Park.
The Blues took the lead through Gudjohnsen on 35 minutes, only for Alan
Shearer to equalise a minute later. Gudjohnsen again proved to be a thorn in
United's side, though, as he scored what proved to be the winner on the
stroke of half-time.
Newcastle, as expected, made most of the running in the early stages,
getting plenty of men forward and looking dangerous. Craig Bellamy found
himself with a good chance inside the opening 10 minutes as a Nolberto
Solano cross found him in the centre, and Chelsea needed a superb one-handed
save from Carlo Cudicini to keep him out.
The end-to-end nature of this clash, with plenty of chances for both teams,
was evident over the space of a minute as Gudjohnsen broke away for Chelsea
and coolly slipped the ball past Shay Given to hand the visitors the lead on
A minute later Newcastle were back on the attack and a free-kick from just
inside the corner flag was taken by Solano. His cross was floated to the
back post and was met by Magpies skipper Shearer, who buried his header to
make it 1-1 and put the home side right back into the game.
The game turned again, though, just before half-time as Gudjohnsen popped
up for his second goal seconds before the break. A good cross from Jimmy
Floyd Hasselbaink flashed across the United goal and Gudjohnsen was on hand
to get just enough of a touch ahead of the last defender to deflect the ball
home and give the visitors the lead at a crucial stage.
In a scrappier, but no less exciting second period, Gary Speed went close
early on for Newcastle and Frank Lampard missed a good opportunity at the
other end. Newcastle managed to gather themselves a little and put some more
concerted pressure on the visitors, as Shearer won a free-kick outside the
box. Shearer took the kick himself and Cudicini produced a fine save to stop
the United captainís dangerous low drive.
The home side continued to put immense pressure on Chelsea but Shearer again
found Cudicini in the visitors' goal in fine form. He had another chance 10
minutes from time as he connected with a header after a cross from the left,
but again the keeper was up to it.
Newcastle threw absolutely everything they had at Chelsea in the closing
minutes of the game, but it was not to be as the Blues defence held firm in
the face of immense pressure to take all three points back to London.
Arsenal move into pole position in the table ahead of Newcastle on goal