At least briefly, Chelsea went to the top of the heap, when Tammy Abraham gave the final touch to a quick victory at Newcastle.
The early Saturday start that Frank Lampard needs to scrap as they cruised to a 2-0 Premier League win at Newcastle United brushed off Chelsea.
Federico Fernandez’s own goal and Tammy Abraham’s second-half finish gave the visitors a comfortable victory over opponents who hardly threatened.
Victory took Chelsea to the top of the Premier League for at least a few hours when they returned from the international break to St James’ Park with a vibrant showing.
In the 10th minute, a stumbling Fernandez turned in a cross from Mason Mount for the opener, with the largely silent Abraham striking in the middle of the second half.
Karl Darlow made a sharp early save from the low shot of Timo Werner and the goalkeeper excelled for a second time when after an outstanding cross from the left by Hakim Ziyech, he touched Abraham’s powerful header over the wall.
Moments later, though the Newcastle goalkeeper didn’t get close to a whipped cross from Mount, as the ball came in from the right and Fernandez put the ball into his own net.
Newcastle had won five of their last seven Premier League home games against Chelsea, depleted by the loss of injured top scorer Callum Wilson.
But in the 30th minute, Werner could have doubled Chelsea’s lead only to slip the ball wide and half-chances started to come the way of the hosts, who had 78.9% of possession in the opening 45 minutes and played 439 passes against Newcastle’s meagre 109.
In the first half, Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles suffered a blow late and was substituted for the second 45 minutes by Fabian Schar, with the substitute quickly caught napping by Werner, who could have scored again.
International Germany raced in from the left and had only Darlow to beat, but he managed to make it easy for Ziyech to finish only to screw up his pass.
As he rifled home off the inside of the right post from Werner’s pass, Abraham’s shot effectively ended the game, with Sean Longstaff denied a sensational consolation as his effort bounced off the bar.
After rounding Darlow to the net, Werner was denied by an offside flag, but two was enough for Chelsea.