Goals from Pedro and Willian earned Chelsea a hard-fought 2-1 win over Newcastle which opened up a six-point gap to fifth-place Arsenal in the battle for a Champions League place.
Despite an impressive performance in the midweek defeat to Tottenham in the Carabao Cup semifinal, Chelsea Maurizio Sarri opted to leave Bayern Munich target Callum Hudson-Odoi on the bench.
And it was his replacement Pedro who opened the scoring on 10 minutes. The former Barcelona man collected David Luiz’s exquisite through ball and kept his composure to delicately lift the ball over on-rushing Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka.
The goal set the tone for the game as Chelsea dominated possession and it appeared just a matter of time before they scored their second.
However, they were pegged back on 40 minutes as Newcastle took advantage of a good spell to make it 1-1 with Ciaran Clark heading home from a corner.
The goal galvanised Newcastle and they ended the half on top, with Chelsea struggling to break them down — and there were even audible boos from the home crowd as Jorginho played the ball straight out of play early in the second period.
But Chelsea re-took the lead on 56 minutes through a sensational effort from Willian. The Brazil international received the ball from Eden Hazard and cut in from the left before powering an effort into the back of the net from the edge of the box.
Hudson-Odoi then replaced Pedro for the final minutes to make his second Premier League appearance of the season and received a warm reception from the home supporters.
The result leaves Chelsea just a point behind third place Tottenham, who have a game in hand, while Newcastle will end the weekend in the relegation zone.