Werner drought finally over as Chelsea move into Champions League spots

Rob McCarthy
Timo Werner TEAMtalk

Chelsea moved into the Premier League’s top four as Timo Werner ended his goal drought in a 2-0 win over Newcastle at Stamford Bridge.

The German notched his first league goal since November 7, as he added to substitute Olivier Giroud’s strike.

The victory saw the Blues leapfrog Liverpool and West Ham into the top four, while Newcastle remain 17th – seven points above the drop zone.

Kepa Arrizabalaga made just his fourth Premier League start of the season as Thomas Tuchel’s men hosted the Magpies.

The under-fire Spain goalkeeper has played second-fiddle to summer signing Edouard Mendy in west London this term.

But Tuchel promised the £72million signing from 2018 a “new start”, and the Blues’ new boss has delivered on that pledge.

Kepa kept a clean sheet in Thursday’s 1-0 FA Cup win at Barnsley, and has earned himself a first league start since October.

Tammy Abraham started up front alongside Timo Werner, having notched the winner at Barnsley.

Dwight Gayle started up front for a Newcastle side looking to build on their 3-2 league win over Southampton last weekend.

Replacement Giroud tapped into an empty net to put Chelsea 1-0 up on the half-hour.

Giroud grabs the opener

Newcastle keeper Karl Darlow spilled Werner’s centre straight into Giroud’s path, and the World Cup-winning France striker gleefully converted the gift-wrapped opener.

Giroud had replaced the luckless Tammy Abraham, who had earlier hobbled off with an apparent shin problem.

Olivier Giroud TEAMtalk

Germany striker Werner’s Premier League dry spell finally ended on 14 matches, as the 24-year-old tapped in at the far post to put Chelsea 2-0 up.

Giroud could not reach a hanging cross, but dragged in sufficient defenders to allow Werner the easiest of far-post finishes.

Newcastle showed more intent at the start of the second period, although Chelsea were still creating at the other end with Mateo Kovavic clipping an effort over the bar.

Kepa produced a brilliant stop to deny the visitors a route back into the game with 17 minutes to go.

Ryan Fraser’s inswinging cross was met by the head of Joe Willock, but the Blues stopper dived full length to parry the effort.

The visitors turned to Andy Carroll off the bench with 10 minutes to go, but they failed to create anything of note as Chelsea eased to another win under Tuchel.