YOAN Gouffran and Loic Remy lifted some of the gloom on Tyneside by firing Newcastle United to victory over Chelsea this afternoon.
Newcastle deservedly beat Jose Mourinho’s side 2-0 at St James’s Park thanks to to second-half goals from the pair.
United came to life after the break, having spent much of the first half on the back foot.
Gouffran opening the scoring with a diving header from a Yohan Cabaye free kick, and Remy wrapped up the points late in the game.
The result lifted Newcastle up to ninth in the Premier League ahead of this afternoon’s games.
United manager Alan Pardew surprisingly left forward Hatem Ben Arfa out of his starting XI. Shola Ameobi lead the line, and Cabaye and Remy were recalled to the team.
The first half, dominated by Chelsea, was played out at an eerily-silent St James’s Park.
The build-up to the game had been overshadowed by supporter discontent at the way the club is being run by owner Mike Ashley, who was not at the match.
There was little for United’s fans to cheer before the interval, though they saw their team limit Jose Mourinho’s side to a couple of chances, the best of which was a header from a Juan Mata corner which John Terry crashed against the crossbar.
Mata took a tumble in the box under a challenge from Mathieu Debuchy later in the half, but referee Lee Mason waved play on.
Cabaye forced a save from Petr Cech in the 30th minute. Newcastle midfielder Moussa Sissoko also tried his luck before the interval after a good break upfield from United, but Cech was equal to his near-post effort.
Otherwise, the half was uneventful, and it ended goalless.
Newcastle lost captain Cheik Tiote to injury early in the second half – he was replaced by Vurnon Anita – and Cabaye took the skipper’s armband for the rest of the game.
United upped their game, and Sissoko forced a fine save from a tight angle in the 60th minute, with Cech just diverting his shot to the far post out for a corner.
Cech denied Remy from the flag kick. The goalkeeper – who had had a quiet first half – also stopped a long-range shot from Gouffran.
Pardew sent on Papiss Demba Cisse in place of Shola Ameobi, while Mourinho replaced Mata and Fernando Torres with Samuel Eto’o and Willian, who had both of whom had faced United in the colours of Anzhi Makhachkala last season.
The second-half pressure from Newcastle’s finally told in the 68th minute.
Chelsea defender Ashley Cole brought down Sissoko 30 yards from goal, and Gouffran met Cabaye’s deep free kick with a diving header that had Cech well beaten.
Mourinho responded by replacing Frank Lampard with Andre Schurrle
With 10 minutes left, Tim Krul stopped a shot from Willian and Debuchy blocked an effort from Eto’o.
Eden Hazard pulled an 86th-minute shot just wide of the right-hand post.
And Remy ended any hopes of a Chelsea comeback by sweeping the ball home in the dying minutes, with the goal his sixth of the campaign.
NEWCASTLE UNITED: Krul; Debuchy, Williamson, Yanga-Mbiwa, Santon; Sissoko, Tiote (Anita, 53), Cabaye, Gouffran (Obertan, 85); Shola Ameobi (Cisse, 62), Remy. Subs not used: Elliot, Tavernier, Sammy Ameobi, Ben Arfa.
CHELSEA: Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Terry, Cole; Ramires, Lampard (Schurrle, 70), Oscar, Mata (Willian, 62), Hazard; Torres (Eto’o, 62). Subs not used: Schwarzer, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Mikel.
Goals: Gouffran 68, Remy 89
Bookings: Sissoko 47, Luiz 75, Ramires 77, Remy 89
Referee: Lee Mason (Bolton)
Attendance: 51,674 (3,200 Chelsea)