The race for the final Champions League spot appeared almost run ahead of Sunday’s fixtures and Chelsea quickly showed they no longer had the stomach for the fight.
The draw against Huddersfield on Wednesday night ensured the Blues would need a massive favour from Brighton at Anfield on Sunday, and that never really looked like materialising.
But Chelsea’s priority was to do their bit and win against a Newcastle side that hadn’t picked up a point in four games.
Rafa Benitez clearly sent his players out with a warning about the level of performance he expected, and it was the Magpies that looked like the team in desperate need of three points.
They were first to the ball and forced their opponents to focus on defence at the start of the game, with Jonjo Shelvey and Mo Diame both testing Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois early on.
The home side took the lead in the 23rd minute with Victor Moses’ defensive deficiencies exposed as Jacob Murphy forced Courtois to push his effort into the path of Dwight Gayle who headed home from six yards.
Instead of a team working hard to get back into the game the travelling support were treated to much of the same, with many scratching their heads at Antonio Conte’s decision to make eight changes to his side - Ross Barkley and Tiemoue Bakayoko surprise starters.
No shots at goal in the first half and it wasn’t until the 52nd minute that Olivier Giroud drew a save from Martin Dubravka.
It was no surprise when Newcastle went further ahead through Ayoze Perez just before the hour mark, and the Spaniard added his second four minutes later.
Conte may have been thinking ahead to the FA Cup Final and decided before the trip to Tyneside that Liverpool wouldn’t slip-up, but the limp performance was not worthy of the fans that travelled 300 miles to see their team.
"I believe that when one day I look back, certainly I will be very proud of what I have done."-Arsene Wenger pic.twitter.com/LY0pkK8Gh7— Danny WelBeast (@WelBeast) April 21, 2018
Passion, respect and success- that is what Arsene Wenger is all about. Thank u for what you've done for us at @Arsenal and the football world. ⚽️ I'm grateful for everything you've taught me & all the trust you've put in me no matter how difficult the situation was.Merci Boss! pic.twitter.com/2KyoLyWrVT— Mesut Özil (@MesutOzil1088) April 20, 2018