Joe Willock’s stunning strike gave Newcastle a 1-0 victory over Chelsea at St James’ Park, condemning Graham Potter’s side to their third successive Premier League defeat.
Neither goalkeeper was unduly bothered during a lackluster first half, with Miguel Almiron volleying at one end and Armando Broja forcing a routine save at the other as the first 45 minutes ended predictably goalless.
The Magpies, sensing an opportunity to take advantage of a below-par Chelsea side, were much more progressive after the restart, although Nick Pope was forced to make a great save in the 65th minute to deny Conor Gallagher’s shot. .
Newcastle, who took the lead two minutes later when Almiron embarked on a malicious run before finding Willock, will enter the World Cup break as the third team in the top flight. Chelsea, however, languishes in the eighth.
How Newcastle heaped more misery on Potter
Newcastle have now won five consecutive Premier League games for the first time since 2014, while they are unbeaten in 10 for the first time since 2011.
Potter, by contrast, is the first Chelsea manager to lose three league games in a row since José Mourinho in November 2015, who incidentally lost his job the following month.
Willock’s resplendent strike, his second goal in as many games, came at the perfect time for the hosts as momentum had begun to turn Chelsea’s way, albeit briefly.
But Almiron, in top form, was able to control himself as he easily dodged a half-hearted challenge from Kalidou Koulibaly, before shoving the ball into the path of Willock, whose first shot was struck in the 67th minute.
Eddie Howe’s side have now collected 30 points this term, a total they did not reach until March of last season, and sit two points behind second-placed Man City.
chelsea host Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on December 27 at 5:30 pm after the World Cup break while leicester host newcastle the same day at 3 p.m.