Blues bounce back against Black Cats
Written By: Robert Halter
The arrival on new Sunderland boss, Martin O’ Neill prompted a turn of fortune for the Black Cats with thirteen points out of a possible eighteen secured since his arrival and with this immediate impact, Chelsea were determined to prevent another shock defeat at home having lost 3-0 to Sunderland at Stamford Bridge last season but the Blues had already recorded a 2-1 win in the Stadium of Light during September and aimed to complete the double when both teams met again during January 2012. The Black Cats broke early on, when James McClean’s effort was deflected wide off Jose Bosingwa after good build up play between Stephane Sessegnon and David Vaughan. Sunderland pressed again on eight minutes when Sebastian Larsson’s free kick was parried away by Petr Cech following an infringement from David Luiz on Nicklas Bendtner. But it was Chelsea that took the lead on thirteen minutes, when from a Juan Mata cross on the right flank, Fernando Torres produced a spectacular scissors kick which rebounded off the underside of the crossbar and Frank Lampard was at hand to roll the ball off his knee into the centre of the net. It was Chelsea’s turn to try at a free kick in the twenty sixth minute, after Mata tested Simon Mignolet at distance, but the Black Cats keeper reacted at full stretch to defuse the situation, following Vaughan’s foul on Luiz. However, Bendtner was a whisker away from brining the game level on thirty three minutes, as he cut inside Ashley Cole and drove the ball inches wide of the far post after Sessegnon had presented Bendtner with a goal scoring opportunity. Torres went close for the Blues five minutes later, when on the turn he hit a low strike from outside the box, which drifted wide of the left post. A nasty fall by Matthew Kilgallon when challenging Torres, ended his involvement in the match towards the end of the first half, as Sunderland brought on Michael Turner. Torres threatened again six minutes into the re-start as a near post block by Mignolet kept out his close range effort, after Mata’s ball through. The Blues had a penalty appeal turned away on fifty seven minutes following John O’ Shea’s challenge on Torres. Three minutes later, Vaughan created danger up field as he unleashed a low long range strike that moved away from the right post. Sunderland pressed again on sixty three minutes, with Sessegnon out wide to Larsson, whose cross to McClean was wasted by a misguided shot. Michael Essien returned to the fold after five months out when he replaced Lampard to see out the final twenty minutes of the game. A wonderful piece of skill from Raul Meireles resulted in his long range chip being tipped over by Mignolet on eighty five minutes before Sunderland broke back a minute later after Cech had to turn away McClean’s cross and had two attempts to grab the ball back. Sunderland went close late on when Craig Gardner shot wide of the mark off Sessegnon’s cross and then Bendtner blazed over from a pass through by Connor Wickham as the Blues survived a double scare before securing a 1-0 victory over the Black Cats.