Joe Willock’s superb brace earned Newcastle a 1-0 win over Chelsea at St James’ Park and condemned Graham Potter’s side to a third straight Premier League defeat.
Neither goalkeeper was unduly troubled in a lackluster first half, Miguel Almiron volleying over at one end and Armando Broja forcing a routine save at the other as the first 45 minutes ended predictably goalless.
The Magpies, who sensed an opportunity to rob Chelsea from below par, were much the more forward after the restart, although Nick Pope was forced into a 65th-minute save to deny Conor Gallagher’s curling shot.
Newcastle, who took the lead two minutes later when Almiron made a quick save before finding Willock, will go into the World Cup break as the third-placed team. Chelsea, on the other hand, is in eighth place.
How Newcastle heaped more misery on Potter
Newcastle have now won five consecutive Premier League games for the first time since 2014, while they are unbeaten in 10 for the first time since 2011.
Potter, on the other hand, is the first Chelsea manager to lose three league games on the trot since Jose Mourinho in November 2015 – who coincidentally lost his job the following month.
Willock’s stunning strike – his second goal in as many games – came at the perfect time for the hosts as the momentum began to swing back to Chelsea, however briefly.
But an in-form Almiron managed to wrestle control as he easily evaded Kalidou Koulibaly’s half-volley, before pushing the ball into the path of Willock whose first-time shot was on target in the 67th minute.
Eddie Howe’s side have now collected 30 points this season, a total they did not reach until March last season, and sit two points clear of second-placed Man City.
Chelsea host Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on December 27 at 17.30 after the World Cup break Leicester host Newcastle same day at 3:00 p.m.