European roundup: Chelsea thrash Newcastle 5-1; PSG held by Lille
It took 4 minutes for Diego Costa to score for Chelsea. 10 minutes for Pedro to score for Chelsea and 20 minutes for Willian to do the same. The defending Champions began their home game against lowly Newcastle with style as they dismantled the Geordies within the first quarter of the game thanks to some incredible football and a shambolic opposition defense ultimately ending the game with a mammoth 5-1 scoreline.
With Jack Colback having just returned from injury and Cheick Tiote not in the best of form, Steve McLaren played Englishman Jonjo Shelvey and Dutchman Georgio Wijnaldum alongside the Ivorian but even the three of them could not keep out the slick passing and vision of Cesc Fabregas and Brasilian, Willian, who ran circles around the Newcastle defense all game long.
Later in the second half, former Barcelona winger Pedro scored his second goal of the night thanks to an incredibly accurate Fabregas through-ball but failed to take his chances to score a hat-trick with multiple chances presenting themselves to him. Debutant Bertrand Traore from Burkina Faso also scored a goal into the bottom right corner of the net after connecting sweetly to a Cesar Azpilicueta cross.
Eden Hazard – who even though played the full 90 minutes – struggled to impose himself and make his mark on the game. Pedro was spectacular, Willian was potent and Fabregas dictated the speed of the game but Hazard still doesn't look 100% and that'll worry Guus Hiddink for PSG will be no easy walkover.
The only downside to this Chelsea performance was the injury to Captain, John Terry – who after a collision with Serbian striker Aleksandar Mitrovi – walked off the field visibly in discomfort; he was replaced by Baba Rahman who slotted in on the left after Ivanovic moved into the center.
Newcastle scored a consolation goal in the 90th minute of the game thanks to a well-taken effort from Andros Townsend and with Newcastle not playing for the next 18 days, there's a lot for Steve Mclaren's men to work on. Meanwhile, Chelsea will travel to Paris on Tuesday and begin their knockout round of the Champions League.
PSG held by Lille at Parc des Princes
Laurent Blanc's PSG failed to win only their fourth game of the season as they stuttered through to a 0-0 draw at home against Lille. With the Champions League knockout stages on the horizon, a number of key players were rested to keep them fresh for when they face Londoners Chelsea.
Talismanic Swede, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and Brasilian centre-back Thiago Silva were amongst the players rested while youngsters Jean-Kevin Augustin and Layvin Kurzawa were given starts to play Lille. Edinson Cavani – who has eyed that centre-forward role since he signed for the Parisians – had the chance tonight to lead the line but had a game to forget as he missed an absolute sitter to give Blanc's side the lead.
Angel Di Maria also started for PSG and fed an immaculate through ball for Jean-Kevin Augustin in the first half but the latter's effort to score the goal was poor and Lille got away with one. Kurzawa had a great effort on target but his effort was blocked by Rio Mavuba on the line.
Lille – who succumbed to their 13th draw of the season – threatened every now and then with youngster Yassine Benzia but German keeper Kevin Trapp was more than resolute to keep his efforts off the back of the net.
PSG still remain unbeaten in the league and will now quickly draw their attention to the Champions League home fixture against Chelsea on Tuesday night.
Other notable results:
Borussia Dortmund 1 – 0 Hannover 96 (Bundesliga)
Carpi 1 – 3 Roma (Serie A)
Norwich City 2 – 2 West Ham
Swansea City 0 – 1 Southampton
Everton 0 – 1 West Bromwich Albion
Bournemouth 1 – 3 Stoke City