Alan Shearer’s first game in charge of Newcastle ended with a 2-0 defeat to Chelsea to leave the north-east giants deep in relegation trouble in the Premier League.
Second half goals from Frank Lampard and Florent Malouda earned title challengers Chelsea a valuable three points which lifted them to second place ahead of Liverpool’s match later on Saturday at Fullham. Shearer, who was appointed in midweek for the remaining eight games of the season, now knows the scale of the challenge facing him and Newcastle remain in the final relegation spot, three points behind local rivals Sunderland, who lost 2-0 at seventh-placed West Ham. His side matched the visitors for the first half minutes at St James’ Park, but a defensive mistake led to Chelsea’s breakthrough after 56 minutes. Nicolas Anelka was given the chance to shoot and after his mis-hit effort hit the post Lampard followed up to score with a header. England international star Lampard then set up Malouda for the second just 10 minutes later. Michael Owen, back in the Newcastle starting line-up after injury, should have scored a late goal for the home side but his effort, which appeared to cross the line despite the efforts of Ashley Cole, was ruled out. Newcastle’s fight against relegation was hardly helped by wins for fellow strugglers Blackburn and Stoke. Blackburn beat Tottenham 2-1, who were leading through a Robbie Keane penalty, until they had Wilson Palacios sent off with 10 minutes to go. Stoke moved nearer safety with a 2-0 win at rock-bottom West Bromwich Albion, while 19th-placed Middlesbrough are five points adrift of safety after going down 4-1 at Bolton. Another relegation battle saw Hull held 0-0 at home by Portsmouth, with both sides still in danger of the drop. At the other end of the table, Arsenal beat Manchester City 2-0 with returning striker Emmanuel Adebayor scoring both goals. Arsenal are six points clear of fourth-placed rivals Aston Villa who play at leaders Manchester United on Sunday.