A superb display from young England forward guided the Blues to three points on Tyneside despite controversial David Luiz decision and Frank Lampard's missed penaltyDaniel Sturridge capped an influential display with a goal as his strike, plus efforts from Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou, helped Chelsea past Newcastle in an end-to-end encounter at the Sports Direct Arena.
Both sides had chances but Andre Villas-Boas will feel his side deserved the three points, with Frank Lampard missing a first half penalty and Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul repeatedly denying Daniel Sturridge.
The atmosphere in the Sports Direct Arena was ignited before four minutes of play had passed. Referee Mike Dean produced only a yellow card when Demba Ba was hauled down by David Luiz – the Senegalese striker appeared to be through on goal as he raced on to Lovenkrands’ pass. Alan Pardew was furious but Ryan Taylor could only put the resulting free-kick into the wall.
Dean will not have improved the home manager’s mood when, minutes later, he awarded Chelsea a penalty. The call was correct – Yohan Cabaye had tripped Daniel Sturridge to goalkeeper Tim Krul’s left – but the Magpies might have felt that some semblance of justice was done when Lampard’s penalty was superbly turned away by the Dutchman between the posts.
Sturridge nearly corrected that miss shortly afterwards, again finding space in the penalty area before shooting powerfully against the post.
Chelsea were nearly punished for their early profligacy when more good work from Lovenkrands saw the Danish winger cross for Ba, who’s flicked effort forced an excellent save from Petr Cech.
Unfortunately for Pardew’s side, Ba’s opposite number was to do one better. A quickly taken throw-in deep into Newcastle territory found Mata who clipped a cross to the edge of the six-yard box. Drogba showed that there is still life in him yet as he powered his header into the roof of the net beyond Krul.
It could have been worse if not for the excellent Krul, who got down quickly to deny Sturridge after the young forward had raced on to Lampard’s defence-splitting pass.
Shola Ameobi was introduced in place of Hatem Ben Arfa, who had been closely watched by Oriol Romeu, after the interval in a move that suggested Newcastle might lengthen their passing in order to exploit Luiz, who had struggled with Ba’s physicality.
Pardew’s half-time switch seemed to be working, as Newcastle looked to have more of a grip on the game, but they struggled to make their possession count and create the chances that might lead to an equaliser. John Terry in particular was colossal at the heart of the Chelsea defence and the Blues started to look more and more comfortable as the half wore on.
It was not to be the Magpies' day. Torres, introduced late from the bench, saw his shot blocked but was able to recycle the ball to fellow sub Kalou who sealed the three points.
The Blues deserved the three points but the margin of victory was undoubtedly harsh on Pardew's team. Sturridge added a third in injury time to rub salt in the Magpies' wound, and cap an excellent display from the England international who continues to shine.