There was a period here when Chelsea were in danger of being induced to coma by Newcastle, whose best tactic of late is to bore an opponent towards complacency.
The Blues had taken an early lead and were so dominant that cattle from the nearby Town Moor could have wandered into their vacant half and not interfered with play. Indeed, Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy was left to graze alone for the entirety of the opening half hour.
But entering the final 25 minutes they had allowed the game to drift. It helps, then, when you have a player like Timo Werner to drag you from a slumber.
Just after the hour mark Tammy Abraham was slotted in by Timo Werner to place a cool finish past Newcastle’s Karl Darlow
The England international timed his run to stay onside before curling a right-footed effort into the bottom corner of the net
Abraham punched the air in celebration after finding the back of the net to double Chelsea’s margin in the north east
MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS
Newcastle United: Darlow 6.5, Manquillo 5.5 (Almiron 65′ 6), Fernandez 5, Lascelles 5 (Schar 45′ 4.5), Clark 5.5, Lewis 5.5, Murphy 5.5, Hayden 5, Sean Longstaff 6.5, Saint-Maximin 6 (Carroll 74′ 5), Joelinton 5
Subs: Shelvey, Hendrick, Krafth, Gillespie
Booked: Murphy, Hayden
Chelsea: Mendy 6, James 7, Zouma 6.5, Rudiger 6.5, Chilwell 6.5 (Emerson 82′), Kovacic 6.5, Kante 7.5, Mount 7, Ziyech 6.5 (Giroud 86′), Abraham 7, Werner 8 (Hudson-Odoi 76′ 6)
Subs not used: Arrizabalaga, Christensen, Jorginho, Azpilicueta
Goal: Fernandez (OG) 10, Abraham 65
Referee: Craig Pawson 7
The manner of what he did next had an element of ‘enough is enough’ about it. He knew it would be a travesty were his side to emerge with anything less than three points. And so he embarked on one of the finest solo assists we will see this season.
The German collected the ball in his own half, some 70 yards from goal, darting between two black-and-white jerseys, skipping by a third and rolling the perfect pass into Tammy Abraham, who applied the perfect finish to complement the creator’s flourish. Game over.
‘You need players of that quality to win games,’ said Frank Lampard, whose side moved momentarily top of the Premier League.
‘The pace he travels with the ball is something special. He was so unselfish and you rely on those players who are top-class.’
Beating Newcastle in this state is perhaps not the best barometer of your title credentials. But another clean sheet – their fourth on the spin away from home – coupled with the chances created and Werner’s brilliance was evidence enough of a team heading in the right direction.
Chelsea had started the first half brilliantly but finished it a bit like Newcastle. That happens when exposed to Steve Bruce’s side, a contagious levelling that saps you of energy and ideas the longer a game goes on.
That is not to be facetious, it really does work. Just ask the likes of Spurs and Wolves, superior teams who have opened full of life before being put to sleep, woken only by the sound of the full-time whistle, two points shy of the three they had taken for granted.
And Chelsea were so good during the opening 30 minutes. They were 82-per-cent possession good, and had the chances to decorate their dominance.
Early Chelsea pressure saw Federico Fernandez turn Mason Mount’s cross into the back of his own goal after just 10 minutes
The Newcastle man lost his bearings as the ball flicked up and off his leg and headed towards the goalmouth to make it 1-0
Ben Chilwell peeled away to celebrate after pressuring the Newcastle defender into making the error inside his own area
The £50million man was mobbed by his team-mates for his role in the opening goal of the contest at St James’ Park
Werner was searching a fifth consecutive game with a goal – not since Didier Drogba in 2009 has a Chelsea player achieved that – and he very nearly had it within four minutes only for Karl Darlow to brush his low steer around the post.
Darlow sure does have the opportunity to shine in this side – no goalkeeper has made more saves in the division this season – and he produced another magnificent stop in turning Abraham’s close-range header over the crossbar.
But he was left brutally exposed for Chelsea’s opener on 10 minutes. It was easy, so easy. Mason Mount worked a one-two on the right and strode unopposed into the penalty area before crossing to the far post, where defender Federico Fernandez bundled into his own net under pressure from Ben Chilwell.
Was there a push? VAR checked it. But Fernandez’s indiscretion had came before contact from Chilwell.
Werner then somehow scuffed wide when in on goal after yet more generous home defending on the half hour.
But Chelsea, by now becoming bored of the ball, were beginning to doze. Newcastle should have entered the break level when Allan Saint-Maximin escaped in the box only for his shot to be blocked by Antonio Rudiger, the defender making a desperate lunge in the goalmouth.
Mere moments into the game fellow summer signing Timo Werner fizzed a low shot to test Newcastle stopper Darlow
Joelinton was afforded few chances on the ball in the opening 45 minutes as the visitors held the lion’s share of possession
The second half continued in much the same manner with Newcastle, to be fair, growing in confidence. At least, that was, until Werner’s intervention.
Chelsea are now unbeaten in 12 in all competitions, and Lampard said: ‘It’s nice to be in the position we are and to have gained confidence from the clean sheets, which were a problem for us earlier in this season and parts of last.
‘But it’s important to be humble, we know it’s a long race. We need to keep working and be consistent. The international break was challenging but we came here against a team we lost to last year. We dominated possession and we scored our goals, and we could have scored more.’
With the likes of Werner, Chelsea are sure to score a helluva lot more.
Scroll below to relive how the action from St James’ Park unfolded with Sportsmail’s Ieuan Ivett.