Rafa Benitez set out his stall from the first whistle with a solid bank of five in front of Karl Darlow’s goal. But it was evident that his players weren’t used to this formation and cracks started to appear in the Magpies’ defence. This was really exploited for the first time by Pedro, who turned and fed a superb ball round the back of Chancel Mbemba into the path of Eden Hazard on the edge of the area. The Belgian played it into Marcos Alonso’s path and the left wing-back found Michy Batshuayi in acres of space to tap into an empty net.

Meanwhile, Chelsea were showing defensive frailties of their own and almost let Dwight Gayle in just minutes before Batshuayi’s opener but the Englishman couldn’t make the gifted opportunity count. Up the other end, Antonio Rudiger ventured forward, cut inside and bent a left-footed strike just wide of the far post when I think everyone in the ground was expecting it to hit the corner flag. Rudiger and the rest of his defensive teammates were living dangerously and almost gifted Newcastle an equaliser when Danny Drinkwater turned into trouble but Jonjo Shelvey saw his shot saved by Willy Caballero.

Michy Batshuayi doubled his side’s lead just before half time when Eden Hazard played him through and his low drive deflected off Jamal Lascelles, over Karl Darlow and into the net. Newcastle piled the pressure on before the break and forced two smart saves from Caballero from a flurry of corners but couldn’t get back into the game before the interval. Things continued in much the same fashion in the second period with Chelsea dominating possession and Newcastle rarely threatening Caballero’s clean sheet. Pedro came close but was frustrated to see his left-footed strike end up grazing the roof of the net after clearing the crossbar.

Marcos Alonso, who was a threat down the left side all afternoon, had a powerful volley saved by Darlow after a lofted ball into the box from Davide Zappacosta. The Spaniard did find the net later in the half with a trademark free kick. Davide Zappacosta heel-chopped his way past Henri Saivet and was brought down by the Newcastle man. Up stepped Alonso to curl it into the near side of the despairing Darlow’s goal. Ross Barkley made his Stamford Bridge bow immediately after the third goal and, with the game virtually wrapped up, Eden Hazard could come off to a standing ovation.

N’Golo Kante was given the same applause when he was replaced by Ethan Ampadu but perhaps the substitution that captured the most excitement of the Stamford Bridge crowd was the introduction of 17-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi with 10 minutes to go. Pedro, who’d missed a good chance just moments before, was replaced by the Chelsea academy product. Hudson-Odoi made an impression straight away with a couple of confident switches of play and looked to go forward every time he got the ball.

There was just enough time for Michy Batshuayi to try and grab his second hat-trick of the season but he was denied twice by Darlow before Kevin Friend brought an end to a very one-sided tie in which Chelsea progressed into the Fifth Round of the FA Cup at Newcastle’s expense. Antonio Conte turns his focus to Bournemouth at home on Wednesday and making further strides towards a top 4 spot in the Premier League.