Sunday Observer - - SPORT - Daily Mail

LONDON - New­cas­tle’s big­gest er­ror? Hav­ing the temer­ity to take the lead. When Dwight Gayle tapped home in the 12th minute, Rafa Ben­itez was rub­bing his hands at the thought of get­ting one over a club - where on the whole - he is not re­mem­bered with much fond­ness.

In­stead, it was the beginning of the end for his team. Chelsea were riled. Chelsea re­sponded. Chelsea won.

Eden Haz­ard was the in­sti­ga­tor, the Bel­gian pro­duc­ing another scin­til­lat­ing dis­play to en­sure his team keep on the coat tails of lead­ers Manch­ester City. New­cas­tle tried mark­ing him, they tried kick­ing him. They tried ev­ery­thing. They couldn’t near him.

His dou­ble took his sea­son tally to eight, an im­pres­sive re­turn given he missed the open­ing month of the sea­son.


Sim­i­larly, An­to­nio Conte’s team are build­ing up a head of steam; this vic­tory their 19th point from a pos­si­ble 21 in the league.

Manch­ester City may be run­ning away with the ti­tle; Chelsea, though, aren’t will­ing to give up their tro­phy with a fight. As for Ben­itez, this was an al­to­gether for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence on this first re­turn to Stam­ford Bridge af­ter his in­terim spell in charge dur­ing the 2012-13 sea­son.

Chelsea fans don’t hold Ben­itez in the high­est es­teem, the boos that fol­lowed when his name was an­nounced over the tan­noy sys­tem il­lus­tra­tive for their dis­dain. Suf­fice to say their feel­ings to­wards the for­mer Blues man­ager didn’t im­prove in the 12th minute as New­cas­tle took a shock lead.

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