London: Michy Batshuayi scored twice as Chelsea beat Premier League rivals Newcastle 3-0 to advance into the fifth round of the FA Cup at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.
Batshuayi's goals in the 31st and 44th minutes and a Marcos Alonso free-kick 18 minutes from time were enough for Premier League champions Chelsea to see off Rafael Benitez's struggling side.
The Belgian's striker's first was the result of a neat team move, Pedro's superb through ball splitting the Newcastle defence and leading to Eden Hazard slipping a pass inside to Alonso.
Spaniard Alonso toed the ball first-time to Batshuayi, who made no mistake with a simple finish from eight yards out.
The Belgian forward scored his and Chelsea's second goal shortly before half-time when Pedro again initiated an attacking move, his pass releasing Hazard to run at a struggling defence.
Batshuayi, up in support, looked set to run across his man but instead moved away, creating the space for Hazard to play him in before his shot took a huge deflection off Newcastle's Jamaal Lascelles and looped over goalkeeper Karl Darlow.
Any lingering doubt about the result was settled in the 72nd minute when Alonso whipped a left-footed free-kick over the defensive wall to make it 3-0.
'Take the chance'
There have been suggestions that Batshuayi could be on his way out of Stamford Bridge during the closing days of the January transfer window.
But as for his immediate future, Batshuayi said he wanted to impress Blues manager Antonio Conte, telling BT Sport: "When I have a chance I take the chance and I work every day to be here. It's not for me to decide, it's the boss... it's best that you ask Conte!"
The Chelsea boss said he had no desire to see Batshuayi depart the club.
"Scoring goals is important for strikers' confidence. My task is to keep every single player happy and with Michy I think we are doing a good job," Conte said.
Chelsea are 15 points behind runaway league leaders Manchester City and, following their League Cup semi-final loss to Arsenal, the FA Cup offers Conte's men their best chance of a domestic trophy this season.
"There were some great performances, especially from this man next to me (Batshuayi) with two great goals," said Chelsea captain Gary Cahill.
"It (the FA Cup) a very important competition for us this year," the defender added.
By contrast, Premier League survival is the priority for a Newcastle side that are currently just one point above the relegation zone.
Newcastle manager Benitez, asked if he would be able to bring in a new striker before the transfer window shuts on Wednesday, replied: "I don't think so but we will see. We will try to do something.
"I have to prepare the team for the next game against Burnley and then we'll see if we can do something before the transfer window closes."
Sunday's other FA Cup tie sees Manchester City continue their quest for an unprecedented season quadruple of league, FA Cup, Champions League and League Cup titles away to second-tier Cardiff.
Liverpool, however, will not be in the last 16 after a 3-2 defeat by top-flight strugglers West Brom at Anfield on Saturday where Jay Rodriguez's two goals for the Baggies were overshadowed by several controversial incidents involving the video assistant referee system that is being trialled in English cup competitions this season.
Meanwhile Tottenham remain in the fifth-round draw, but only after an equaliser from Harry Kane eight minutes from time saw them to a 1-1 draw away to fourth-tier Newport on Saturday.
Published Date: Jan 28, 2018 22:17 PM | Updated Date: Jan 28, 2018 22:27 PM