Newcastle United 3-0 Chelsea: Magpies secure Premier League top ten finish

Newcastle United 3-0 Chelsea: Magpies secure Premier League top ten finish

A first-half goal from Dwight Gayle and a second-half brace from Ayoze Perez secured a 3-0 win over Chelsea, who missed out on the top four places

Jordan Cronin
Newcastle UnitedDubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Diame, Shelvey, Ritchie (Hayden min 72), Perez, Murphy, Gayle (Joselu min 48)
ChelseaCourtois, Azpilicueta, Christensen, Cahill, Emerson, Kante, Bakayoko, Moses, Barkley (Willian min 76), Hazard (Pedro min 82), Giroud (Morata min 76).
SCORE1-0 Gayle min 24 2-0 Perez min 59 3-0 Perez min 63
REFEREEMartin Atkinson

Ayoze Perez' second-half double guided Newcastle United to a top 10 Premier League finish after embarrassing Chelsea 3-0 in their faint quest for a Champions League place. 

Rafael Benitez' men were faultless throughout after 16 shots on goal brought three goals from the hosts.

The Blues failed to register a noticeable shot in the first-half as Dwight Gayle's goal on 24 minutes was nothing more than the Magpies deserved. 

Martin Dubravka pulled off two magnificent saves at key times in the second-half as Perez wrapped up an empathic win on a glorious afternoon in the North East.

Chelsea's defeat did not impact the top four race as Liverpool won 4-0 against Brighton and Hove Albion to claim the final spot.  

Team news

With Kenedy illegible to face his parent club, Benitez was forced into one change to the side that lost to Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday and decided to opt with Jacob Murphy in the wide left position.

Blues boss Antonio Conte unleashed eight changes to his starting 11 after the 1-1 draw with Huddersfield Town in midweek. Thibaut Courtois, Gary Cahill, Victor Moses, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Emerson, Ross Barkley, Eden Hazard and Oliver Giroud all coming in. 

Newcastle registered 10 first-half efforts on goal - compared to Chelsea's 0

Inspired by the glowing Gallowgate Flags display with the message “Where there is unity, there is always victory” - coupled with the home supporter's love for Benitez and their desperation for him to stay - the Magpies were at it from the start against a Chelsea side who failed to register a clear shot on goal in the first-half.  

Eleven minutes in, the hosts kick-started their dominant first-half performance with Jonjo Shelvey’s swerving volley from outside the area stinging the palms of Courtois in the middle of the target.

Newcastle instantly had their noses up, and moments later, Courtois had barely recovered from Shelvey’s stinger when he dived low to prevent Mohammed Diame’s strike from finding the bottom right-hand corner.

Diame and Shelvey were bossing the midfield battle, and that gave room for Perez to roll the ball out to Matt Ritchie on 27 minutes. The former Bournemouth man delivered from wide right to the near post, and it almost found its way past Courtois via the foot of N’Golo Kante. Luckily, the Blues keeper was well positioned.

One of the reasons the Magpies had secured Premier League survival with five games to go was the work ethic that Benitez has implemented into his side.

Since Christmas, Diame has been the epitome of that, and he troubled Courtois for a second time with a low drive that almost crept into the bottom corner.

Many times before have the Magpies supporters saw their side create numerous of chances and not score, however on this occasion the Toon Army did the break the deadlock, and it presented itself through Gayle - his first goal since February 24. 

Courtois did well to punch Murphy’s dipping effort off the line, though was unfortunate that his clearance fell perfectly for Gayle, who headed home from close range.

St James’ Park was rocking, and United immediately searched for a second, and Shelvey should have perhaps done better with his shot from 18 yards out, shortly before Gayle was smartly denied a second the left hand of Courtois. 

Newcastle had a remarkable nine shots on goal with half an hour played. And as the fourth official indicated for two minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first period, Perez might have handed the Magpies a 2-0 advantage had his effort been on target from the edge of the D. 

Dubravka save - Newcastle goal - Dubravka save - Newcastle goal 

The second-half began with goal scorer Gayle having to depart with a foot injury – Joselu followed in place of him.

And the Magpies cruised to their top 10 finish, but things might have been different if it weren’t for Dubravka.

On 52 minutes, the Sparta Prague loanee somehow managed tip Olivier Giroud’s dipping header over the crossbar.

Dubravka’s brilliance was virtually instantly repaid when Perez doubled the Magpies lead when he produced the faintness of touches to divert Shelvey’s low shot past Courtois.

Still, United had Dubravka to thank once more with a save that bettered his first when his outstretched foot prevented Ross Barkley from reducing the deficit from six yards out.

The same routine followed – another key save – another Toon goal as Shelvey’s deep free-kick to the back post was cushioned down by Florian Lejeune into the path of Perez, who simply couldn’t miss.

The noise around Tyneside was immense as the Magpies secured a top ten top-flight finish for the first time since the 2013-14 season.

For Chelsea, it was confirmed for only the second time in 14 years that they had failed to secure a top-four place.