Where there’s Wil­lian, there’s a way for Blues

Sport360 - - Premier League - By Staff Re­porter @Sport360 ✉ ed­i­to­[email protected]

Chelsea ce­mented their grip on fourth place in the Premier League as Wil­lian’s sub­lime strike sealed a 2-1 win over strug­gling New­cas­tle.

Mau­r­izio Sarri’s side took the lead through Pe­dro’s early goal, but Ciaran Clark snatched a shock equaliser be­fore half-time.

With Chelsea fans be­gin­ning to lose pa­tience at their team’s lat­est splut­ter­ing home dis­play, Wil­lian lifted the mood in the nick of time with his su­perb sec­ond-half curler.

Chelsea have won five of their last seven league matches and sit six points clear of fifth-placed Arse­nal, who lost at West Ham.

But, while Sarri will be re­lieved to see Chelsea re­main in con­trol of the race to qual­ify for the Cham­pi­ons League, this far from con­vinc­ing per­for­mance raised fresh ques­tions about the for­mer Napoli man­ager’s tac­tics.

Labour­ing to beat third-bot­tom New­cas­tle showed how far Chelsea have to go to bridge the gap in class to lead­ers Liver­pool and cham­pi­ons Manch­ester City.

New­cas­tle find them­selves in the rel­e­ga­tion zone as a re­sult of wins for Southamp­ton and Burn­ley and an­other win­ter of dis­con­tent is brew­ing for the Mag­pies.

They have won only once in their last nine league games and fans again called for con­tro­ver­sial owner Mike Ash­ley to sell up.

Tues­day’s 1-0 de­feat against Tot­ten­ham in the League Cup semi­fi­nal first leg was the lat­est dis­play of at­tack­ing im­po­tence from mis­fir­ing Chelsea, who had failed to score in their last two home league games.

The win­ner was only Wil­lian’s fifth goal of a dis­ap­point­ing sea­son and the Brazil­ian’s first in the league since Oc­to­ber.

Pre­ci­sion: Wil­lian’s win­ner.

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