It was the match week 13 of the Premier League when, Jose Mourinho’s top placed Chelsea travelled to the Stadium of Light to square up against Gus Poyet’s Sunderland.
Jose for the 3rd match in a row went with the unchanged squad, which was not a surprise considering the way boys have been performing over the last few matches.
Sunderland was the side which ended Portuguese’s unbeaten run at Bridge last year and with an eye set on revenge, here’s how the game panned out for us.
– Chelsea started the game where they left off against Schalke, passing the ball leisurely but, Sunderland did pose a decent threat going forward in early minutes. A couple of mistakes and mis-time passes from Ivanovic and John Terry respectively, in the opening 10 minutes caused a bit off scare among the fans.
– Chelsea slowly started growing into the game as Willian nearly collected our first goal in the 17th minute after a quick break in saw the Brazilian blazing his shot on the right side of the pole with Pantilimon thoroughly beaten.
– With much of the play happening in the Sunderland’s penalty area, Chelsea managed more than 70% opposition in the first 20 minutes. The Black Cats with 10 men behind the ball looked to just sit deep and absorb the pressure while, looking to hit us on the counter. Courtois had to make a decent save in the 29th minute after the Black Cats hit us on the counter while, Ivanovic forced a good save from Pantilimon on the other side of the pitch, after Willian found the fullback with a brilliant pass.
– The best chance of the match fell to Vergini and Sunderland in the 34th minute, after the ball fell to the right back from a deflected cross. The resulting shot from Vergini, however, hit the top post as we survived the scare. It would have been a shock lead for the hosts but fortunately, we came out unscathed.
– The first half ended 0-0 with both the teams having a decent chance to go 1-0 up, but denied by the woodwork. Chelsea dominated most part of the game in terms of possession but struggled to get past the Black Cats defense. The Blues had 12 attempts on goal and 66% possession, but nothing to show on the goal sheet. It was a frustrating half for the Blues fans but perhaps, a bit of Mourinho magic could turn things around in the second half.
– The second half started with Mourinho making no changes to the line-up. Chelsea started the second half in a similar fashion with Blues dominating the major part of the proceedings while trying to unlock the stubborn Sunderland defence.
– Diego Costa collected a yellow card in the 55th minute which means, the Spaniard will miss the game at home to Tottenham through suspension.
– As we reached the 65 minute mark, Chelsea enjoyed 75% of the possession on the pitch but still struggled to break down the firm and well drilled Gus Poyet’s defense. Sunderland, on the other hand, still didn’t have a shot on goal in the second half, as the Black Cats just looked to hit us on the counter. Poyet introduced Altidore at the hour mark to try something different as Fletcher couldn’t deliver the goods for the hosts.
– Jose Mourinho realizing our impotency at the front, decided to make a double change at the 75th minute mark as Remy and Drogba were introduced in place of Costa and Oscar as Chelsea reverted to something of a 4-3-3.
– The final ten minutes saw some end to end stuff from both the teams. Jozy Altidore and Connor Wickham combined to rob Chelsea from any point at the 81st minute before a bunch of Blue shirts came to the rescue. Couple of good chances fell for Johnson around the 85th-minute, but the midfielders pulled his shot wide on both the occasions. Mourinho made his final change in the 85th minute as he introduced Andre Schurrle for Willian to get the winner.
– The game ended with the frustrating scoreline of 0-0, as Chelsea failed to register a win for the 3rd game in the league season. Sunderland were brilliant in the defence as they made it impossible for the Blues shirt to score anything past them. We are still unbeaten and top of the league but perhaps, we should have done better considering, the form we were in.
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Edited By: Ankur Bhatt