Michy Batshuayi scored twice but went close to a hat-trick as Chelsea beat Newcastle United 3-0 to sail into the fifth round of the FA Cup.
In talkSPORT’s live commentary game on Sunday afternoon, Batshuayi staked his claim for more first-team action with two first-half goals at Stamford Bridge.
The Belgian is still on the peripheral in the Blues squad, but his brace against the Magpies took his tally for the season up to ten goals – not a bad return considering 14 of his 25 appearances have come off the substitutes’ bench, many in the dying embers.
Batshuayi was twice denied a hat-trick by Magpies goalkeeper Karl Darlow after the break, before another fine free-kick from Spanish full-back Marcos Alonso wrapped up a straightforward win for Chelsea.
Newcastle battled well and started the game impressively, with Chelsea struggling to hold on to the ball in the first half.
The hosts might have gifted a goal to Newcastle, but Dwight Gayle spurned the chance after Davide Zappacosta’s poor pass was intercepted, and Willy Caballero then saved a Jonjo Shelvey volley.
Chelsea could only muster half-chances, until a brilliant move saw Batshuayi break the deadlock on 31 minutes.
A lot of credit must go to Pedro, whose fine defence-splitting pass found Hazard on the right wing and led to the goal. Hazard held up the ball and laid it up for the on-rushing Alonso, who had the presence of mind to play the ball on for Batshuayi to tuck in unmarked at the back post.
There may have been a suspicion of offside, but without the Video Assistant Referee, there was no review and the goal stood.
Batshuayi, enjoyed further good fortune moments later as he made it 2-0 in the stroke of half-time – Pedro and Hazard combined to find the striker, whose shot ballooned up off the leg of Jamaal Lascelles, over the goalkeeper and into the net.
To their credit, Newcastle didn’t give up and they were frustrated by stand-in goalkeeper Caballero, who saved again from Shelvey and Chancel Mbemba in quick succession.
But Chelsea sealed the win in the 72nd minute when Alonso struck a brilliant 25-yard free-kick for his seventh goal of the season.