Jose Mourinho and his team visited the Stadium of Light on Saturday, to play what was supposed to be not just a normal Premier League match, but the revenge of the defeat in the corresponding fixture last season.
Little did the Blues know that they won’t be able to break the stubborn resistance of Sunderland’s defence. The Black Cats too had decent attempts on goal, but weren’t fortunate enough to find the net. The game thus ended at a final score of 0-0, with the Blues still unbeaten but the home side being more satisfied of the two.
From Sunderland’s unexpected good performance to Chelsea’s unexpected draw, there were many things we learned. Let’s have a look at them:
Diego Costa needs to work on his dribbling skills
When Chelsea desperately needed a goal last night, even their leading goal scorer was unable to get them one. There were two or three occasions in the game when Costa’s poor dribbling abilities came to haunt him as he lost possession in the Sunderland’s penalty area. Costa is a man of brute strength and has never been known to be a creative player. The Spain international is surely the best striker in the Premier League at present in terms of the number of goals scored, but to be a match winner, he needs to learn to get past defenders on his own. He cannot expect to be spoon-fed by Hazard, Oscar or Fabregas all the time.
Sunderland truly deserved a point
Gus Poyet’s men were excellent defensively, but on many occasions, looked good on attacking fronts as well. In fact, the best chance of the game went to Sunderland’s Santiago Vergini in the 34th minute when he received the ball from a deflected cross. Unfortunately for the Black Cats, his shot hit the post as Chelsea survived another threatening attempt on their goal. They also played some possession football in the early minutes of 2nd half and restricted the visitors to counter attacks. Due to their resilient defence, Sunderland became the first team to prevent Jose Mourinho’s side from scoring a goal in a Premier League match this season.
No Hazard-Oscar magic
Be it good defending by the home team, or a bad game for Hazard and Oscar, it is safe to say that our playmakers were nowhere to be seen for most of the game. Neither did Hazard produce anything special, nor did Oscar do any wonders against the highly determined and organized Sunderland team. There were simply no spaces they could find in between Sunderland’s defence owing to exceptional man marking, thus deeming Diego Costa ineffective. Moreover, Oscar looked to have fallen prey to fatigue in the second half until he was substituted in the 75th minute to bring on Didier Drogba.
Becoming the ‘New Invincibles’ won’t be easy
One thing that became very clear from last night’s fixture, was that there’s still a long way to go en-route to becoming the ‘New Invincibles’. It was a matter of fortune that the Blues were able to escape from conceding the goals on certain occasions last night against Sunderland. Chelsea had every chance of returning without any points last night. Not just England’s elite teams, but even the mid-table and bottom table teams can cause trouble to Jose’s men. With Tottenham coming up next in midweek and trip to Newcastle to follow on Saturday, the Blues should go into both games without any sort of overconfidence or complacency against weaker opponents.
‘November Curse’ wasn’t really a curse
To end this article and this month on a positive note, Chelsea are still unbeaten even after the poor show last night! No doubt that November could have finished in better style, but a draw in an away game is acceptable in a league as competitive as the Premier League. From an away win over Liverpool to 5-0 thrashing of FC Schalke in the Champions League, this month has in fact seen some of the best performances by the Blues this season. Let’s see what December and rest of the season has in store for us!
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Edited By: Vikram Vadiganeni