Chelsea 3-0 Newcastle: Michy Batshuayi scores twice as Blues cruise in FA Cup
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 28/01/18 8:42pm
Michy Batshuayi scored twice as Chelsea booked their place in the FA Cup fifth round with a comfortable 3-0 win over Newcastle at Stamford Bridge.
Marcos Alonso completed the routine victory in style with a sublime free-kick (72) as Newcastle's poor record in the competition continued in the capital.
The Magpies have won just four FA Cup ties in the past decade, and manager Rafa Benitez will now turn his focus to keeping the club in the Premier League, but the result is welcome respite for Antonio Conte.
Chelsea: Caballero (7), Rudiger (7), Christensen (7), Cahill (7), Zappacosta (7), Drinkwater (6), Kante (6), Alonso (7); Pedro (7), Batshuayi (8), Hazard (8).
Subs: Ampadu (6), Hudson-Odoi (6), Barkley (6)
Newcastle: Darlow (7), Manquillo (6), Mbemba (6), Lascelles (6), Clark (6), Haïdara (6), Shelvey (7), Saivet (5), Hayden (6), Ritchie (6), Gayle (5).
Subs: Atsu (6), Murphy (6), Joselu (6)
Man of the match: Michy Batshuayi
The Chelsea boss fielded a strong team following his side's Carabao Cup semi-final exit at the hands of Arsenal, with his side strolling into the draw for round five to end a difficult week on a high note.
Newcastle made the brighter start and were denied the opener after Willy Caballero made a fine save with his feet to deny Jonjo Shelvey from Massadio Haïdara's low cross.
Chelsea looked short on confidence in a subdued opening half an hour, but Conte's side took the lead after breaking Newcastle's high press. Pedro's delicious long ball found Eden Hazard down the left, and his low cross was helped on by Alonso for Batshuayi to fire beyond Karl Darlow.
The Blues nearly doubled their lead after Antonio Rudiger bent a superb left-footed effort just wide of the post, but the hosts nearly gifted Newcastle an equaliser after Danny Drinkwater was caught in possession but Shelvey's shot was easily saved by Caballero.
Chelsea made four changes: Gary Cahill, Davide Zappacosta, Danny Drinkwater and Michy Batshuayi replaced Cesar Azpilicueta, Victor Moses, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Willian. Newcastle made five switches: Chancel Mbemba came into defence in place of Paul Dummett while Massadio Haidara, Matt Ritchie, Dwight Gayle and Henri Saivet all started. Jacob Murphy, Christian Atsu, Mohamed Diame and Joselu all dropped out.
Four minutes before the interval, Chelsea extended their lead as Newcastle lost their defensive discipline. Haidara was caught in possession and with Ciaran Clark stranded upfield, Hazard was able to tee up Batshuayi for a second - albeit via a heavy deflection off Jamaal Lascelles.
Shelvey forced Caballero into another smart save while there was still time for Chancel Mbemba to stretch the Argentine into another stop from close range before the break.
But the second half was a far more one-sided affair as Pedro wasted a glorious chance to extend Chelsea's lead, blazing over six minutes after the interval while Alonso's fierce volley tested Darlow from Zappacosta's deep cross.
Alonso was not to be denied his seventh goal of another impressive season after the full-back curled in a brilliant 25-yard free-kick beyond the despairing dive of Darlow, as Chelsea booked their place in Monday's draw.
Man of the match - Michy Batshuayi
Batshuayi endured a quiet start to his afternoon, taking 22 minutes to have his second touch having taken the kick-off, but he sparked into life thereafter.
The Belgian is deemed unfancied by Antonio Conte - he impressed in the win over Brighton before he was dropped for the defeat by Arsenal - but his two goals will now put pressure on Alvaro Morata.
Batshuayi was denied a hat-trick on two occasions late on by Karl Darlow, but he has now scored more FA Cup goals for Chelsea (five) than any other player under Conte's tutelage.
- Chelsea have now reached the FA Cup fifth round in 18 of their last 20 seasons, only failing to do so in 2011 and 2015.
- Batshuayi is the third Chelsea player to reach double figures for goals in all competitions this season for Chelsea after Morata and Eden Hazard (12 each).
- Newcastle have now lost six consecutive games at Stamford Bridge in all competitions, conceding 18 goals while scoring just twice themselves.
- Marcos Alonso has been directly involved in 10 goals this season in all competitions (7 goals, 3 assists), more than any other defender in the Premier League.
- Alonso has scored three goals from direct free-kicks in all competitions this season, more than any other Premier League player. Philippe Coutinho (2) is the only other player to have scored more than one.
- Eden Hazard has been directly involved in nine goals in his last nine games against Newcastle United in all competitions (6 goals, 3 assists).
Antonio Conte: "I think it was a good performance. It wasn't easy because Newcastle prepared a very defensive game with a lot of players on the edge of the box and the three midfielders deep.
"It was very important to score the first goal. Pedro and Hazard created a fantastic chance with their ability and Michy scored. After the goal the situation was more simple, we controlled the game."
Rafa Benitez: "You have to play against Chelsea away, the difference between the top six is difficult. We tried to put them under pressure, but the key moments went against us.
"The fans know what is going on and we have to not let them down. I'm a professional and I want to do well. I can see the potential of the club. We will continue to try to improve the team."
Chelsea host Bournemouth in the Premier League on Wednesday night with Newcastle taking on Burnley at St James' Park on the same evening.
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