Newcastle 0 - 2 Chelsea

Scorers: Ballack(61'), Malouda(82')

Starting Eleven:
Ferreira, Carvalho, Terry, Bridge
Ballack, Mikel, Essien
Anelka, Drogba, Malouda
subs: Hilario, Shevchenko, Alex, J.Cole, Lampard

With two well worked goals in the second half, Chelsea made sure the pressure remains on Manchester United till the final day of this season. The first half performance wasn't up to the mark but Chelsea came all guns blazing in the second half, with possession going upto 78% at one stage. With Chelsea on a roll, the only question was on what margin Magpies would lose.

Avram Grant made five changes from the side that began the Champions League semi-final triumph. Both fullbacks were changed with Bridge coming in for Cole and Ferreira for Essien. Essien was moved into the midfield to replace Lampard, who was rested because he had vey little practice in the last fortnight. John Mikel Obi took the place of Claude Makelele and up front, Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda replaced Kalou and J.Cole.

Most of the half's better chances fell to Newcastle, who perhaps made more of a lesser share of the possession. Owen left England team-mate Terry for dead with just six minutes gone to collect the imperious Nicky Butt's pass, but lifted his first-time effort over Petr Cech's crossbar. With 29 minutes gone, Terry made a great goal line clearance from Owen's shot. Ballack and Anelka missed the chances they got in the half, both shooting wide.

In the second half, Smith came on for Viduka but it was Chelsea who did most of the 'playing' in the second half. Terry hit the woodwork from a Malouda corner and the Blues were looking more and more threatening.
The first goal came when Ballack met Drogba's free-kick unmarked in front of goal to glance home a close-range header. Lampard replaced Anelka with 24 minutes remaining and Chelsea were dominating play even while leading. That was a refreshing sight.

Newcastle too got their chances. First Martins saw Carvalho deflect his shot inches wide with Cech stranded, and then Owen only just failed to connect with Butt's mis hit effort in front of goal. Carvalho was forced from the field, struggling with his back. Alex was the replacement. What a substitute defender to have on the bench. Let us hope Carvalho is not hurt from the two falls he had during the match.

Malouda's neat finish from Lampard's 82nd-minute pass after a series of passes in the midfield meant we were relieved of tension in the final minutes. The Frenchman haven't been in the scoresheets for long and him coming back to goalscoring form would be an added advantage for us. Now its upto Wigan to do the same to United, as they did to us last month. Anelka wouldnt feature in our match against Bolton on 11th due to some transfer related issues. More news about the issue is available here.