The Dutch international showed why he is being hailed as the best goalkeeper in the Premier League by denying Frank Lampard from the penalty spot and producing an array of cracking saves but could do nothing to repel Chelsea late on as his defence went AWOL.
He looked lost after Coloccini hobbled off and really should have been marking Drogba when the Ivorian nodded Chelsea in front with Newcastle in disarray and shirked the responsibilty of shackling the Blues dangerman.
It just shows how much they have come to rely on their captain that the ground fell silent when he trudged off injured as his exit was accompanied by a sudden loss of self-belief.
A torrid time. He was at sixes and sevens as he was given the run-around by Daniel Sturridge and while redeeming himself somewhat with a goalmouth clearance to thwart Didier Drogba but the makeshift left-back offered Chelsea easy pickings and was booked for recklessly fouling Sturridge.
The former Manchester United right-back is looking for more money and a new deal from his employers but showed little to suggest Mike Ashley should push the boat out for him at upwardly mobile Newcastle. Ordinary.
The former Liverpool midfielder produced a typically neat and tidy performance and teed up Demba Ba with sumptuous cross that forced Cech into a great save but too often found himself outnumbered.
H. Ben Arfa
He started off well with a few nice touches early on but was then conspicuous in his absence as Chelsea took a grip on the contest and his failure to harass Oriol Romeu saw him subbed at half-time following a disappointing display.
He might have worked hard for the cause but just once did the Manchester United old boy get the better of Ashley Cole and then he went and wasted possession.
Big things are expected of the France international here on Tyneside but he foolishly gave away a penalty and generally found himself over-run in midfield in what could be best put go down as an educational experience.
A real handful, the lively Senegalese striker would have added to his tally of nine goals this season but for a foul by David Luiz and brilliant save by Petr Cech.
This was only his second start of the season but the Dane produced an industrious performance down the Newcastle left as he proved an able stand-in for Jonas Gutierrez but failed to trouble Ivanovic enough for the Toon Army's liking.
It was a case of anything you can do I can do better as he followed Krul's penalty save by pulling off a stunning save to deny Demba Ba what could have been a crucial opener.
He never seems to let Chelsea down and a trademark performance saw him out-witted by Lovenkrands just once.
The England captain must be pulling his hair out alongside Luiz but he made up for his colleague's shortcomings with a robust display, capped by a goal-line clearance in the 74th minute.
Newcastle fans tried to knock him out his stride with a few choice taunts about his ex, local lass Cheryl Tweedy, but their ploy failed as he hardly put a foot wrong.
It is not exaggeration to say that Chelsea would have been better off without him had justice been done and he he been sent off early on for bringing down Demba Ba because he looks a liability.
The Spaniard flitted in and out of this one but when he suddenly raised his game Newcastle were undone as he set up Drogba's first-half winner.
They have been looking for the new Claude Makelele for years now at Stamford Bridge and the young Spaniard looked as though he could fit the bill with a polished show in the holding midfield role.
This will go down as his 500th Chelsea start but the England midfielder will not look back on the occasion too fondly as a missed penalty was the low-point of a forgettable afternoon.
It seems strange that there were once doubts as to whether or not he was cut out for English football because he gave the Chelsea midfield real zip with an energetic display.
He was given a standing ovation by Newcastle fans in the Gallowgate after his goal that capped a sublime performance from a player who seems certain to go to Euro 2012 with England if this is anything to go by. He also won the penalty that Lampard fluffed as he tormented the Newcastle defence.
Drogba has tormented Newcastle defenders since Sir Bobby Robson's reign as manager and the way he missed a sitter and rattled his own crossbar showed he is not at his best he was still head and shoulders above the Toon back four.
- 1 S. Harper
He had a hard act to follow when he replaced Coloccini and lost Drogba when the striker broke the deadlock before wilted in the face of mounting Chelsea pressure.
- 3 D. Santon
Denied an equaliser when Cech smothered his low shot in a vibrant cameo.
- 15 D. Gosling
- 20 L. Best
He added a bit of bite to Newcastle's attack when he replaced Ben Arfa at half-time and went close to equalising when his rising shot beat Cech but thudded against the crossbar.
- 22 R. Turnbull
- 17 José Bosingwa
- 34 R. Bertrand
Gave Chelsea a bit of extra impetus when replacing Lampard on the hour.
He put the game beyond doubt late to suggest that Torres might be in danger of slipping further down the pecking order.
- 15 F. Malouda
Set up fellow substitute Kalou's goal but the body language does not look too encouraging.