Willian scored a brilliant winner as Chelsea battled to a 2-1 Premier League victory over Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Pedro opened the scoring with the help of a classy assist from David Luiz, but the host was pegged back by a Ciaran Clark header shortly before half-time.
The points were Chelsea’s, however, thanks to Willian’s curling strike 12 minutes into the second half.
Flipping hell Willian??? pic.twitter.com/3eCETPxxjJ
— David Lueeeeez (@callmeBlu22) January 12, 2019
Newcastle offered little going forward after falling behind for a second time, as fourth-placed Chelsea pulled six points clear of Arsenal.
Chelsea took just nine minutes to go in front, with Pedro getting on the end of a wonderful David Luiz ball from his own half to delicately chip over the onrushing Martin Dubravka.
Luiz almost added his own name to the scoresheet in the 25th minute, when his close-range header deflected over the crossbar, before Florian Lejeune registered Newcastle’s first shot of any description – a tame volley from outside the box that was comfortably collected by Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Willian haters right now pic.twitter.com/KJQ9CNfNIM
— DanDanDanDan (@DanSilvs73) January 12, 2019
Salomon Rondon should have done better when he blazed wide following a neat exchange with Christian Atsu after half an hour, and Ayoze Perez stabbed a strike just off target as Newcastle threatened an equaliser.
The visitor had its leveller five minutes from half-time, when Ciaran Clark powered home a header from a Matt Ritchie corner.
Willian dragged wide with a chance at an instant reply and Dubravka produced a superb save to deny Pedro less than two minutes into the second half.
Hazard has now given 9 assists to Willian, the player that he assisted the most for Chelsea pic.twitter.com/HZL4osEJGK
— Hazard Stuff (@HazardStuff_) January 12, 2019
The Spanish winger then scuffed a shot from the centre of the box in the 56th minute but Willian had Chelsea back in front soon after.
Given the space and time to plot his next move on the left of the penalty area, Willian cut inside and curled a beautiful strike beyond Dubravka.
Newcastle had appeals for a penalty turned down after Perez went down softly under the challenge of Antonio Rudiger and, after Willian had a chip saved by Dubravka, Rondon headed wide from a rare opportunity to restore parity four minutes from time.
Arsenal’s defeat at West Ham earlier on Saturday, followed by a win for Chelsea, means there is now clear daylight between the top four and the chasing pack. Newcastle, meanwhile, will end the weekend in the relegation zone, a point behind 17th-placed Cardiff City.