Chelsea catch out the Black Cats
Written By: Robert Halter
New interim manager, Guus Hiddink was confirmed as a replacement for the former Blues boss, Jose Manager, prior to kick off between Chelsea and Sunderland, mid December and the players responded with a positive reaction, as from Willian’s corner, a perfectly weighted header by Branislav Ivanovic, crashed into the right side of the net, to give the Blues a fourth minute lead. On seven minutes, Willian was unable to find enough power on a free kick, following a foul on Oscar by Yann M’Vila. In the twelfth minute, the Blues went further in front, when from Ivanovic’s long range pass, the ball got tangled up with the Black Cats defender, Sebastien Coates, and capitalising on his mistake, Pedro was the poacher in the box to fire the ball home. Midway through the first half, Coates was replaced by Adam Johnson. After collecting a pass from Cesc Fabregas in the twenty fifth minute, Oscar dazzled his way through the Sunderland defence before the legs of Costel Pantilimon, deflected away Oscar’s low strike. When a chance did present itself to Duncan Watmore in the thirty second minute, he slashed the ball wide of the target, to waste a perfectly placed cross from distance by M’Vila. Chelsea created again two minutes later, when Diego Costa skied a left footed effort and then within sixty seconds, Pedro could not find a way past the Sunderland rear guard from an assist by Oscar. On thirty seven minutes, from a Pedro cross, a near right post header by Costa, flashed narrowly wide. In the fortieth minute, as Pedro sent over an in swinging cross from the left, it took strong reactions by Pantilimon, to push the ball away. From a dead ball situation Patrick van Aaanholt, was unable to capitalise, when from a rebound off the Blues wall, he blazed over, following an infringement on Watmore by Cesar Azpilicueta, in the forty second minute. The Blues broke again within a minute, as Willian put the ball out on the right to Pedro, but his low cross was collected by Pantilimon. Before the re-start, Fabio Borini replaced Ola Toivonen. Two minutes into the second half, referee Roger East awarded the Blues a penalty when from Pedro’s through ball, Willian was first tugged by van Aanholt, before being pulled down by Pantilimon, who was left flat footed as he was sent the wrong way by Oscar’s low spot tick. But Sunderland pulled a goal back on fifty three minutes, when after Oscar appended Borini, a cross over by Johnson was met with a downward header by Younes Kaboul, which was spilled by Thibaut Courtois, and Borini marshalled the ball over the line. It gave the Black Cats renewed hope when Jack Rodwell put the ball out to Jermain Defoe, who put his strike wide of the right post in the fifty fifth minute, which followed in quick succession, with Johnson supplying Borini on the left, who drove his shot under the legs of Ivanovic but wide of the target. On sixty four minutes, from a miss placed header by Kurt Zouma, an effort by Defoe, was scooped wide of the left post, as the Black Cats created another opening. Within three minutes, a bending strike by Oscar went narrowly wide of the mark, from an assist by Willian. The Blues then replaced Fabregas with John Obi Mikel before Costa was removed for Loic Remy, and he could have made an impact but was unable to get a back heel to a low cross by Nemanja Matic, in the seventy seventh minute. But after Danny Graham replaced Watmore, another opportunity went Remy’s way and it required a full length save by Pantilimon to clear the danger, after Pedro had played the ball over, in the seventy ninth minute. Three minutes on, Willian created space for Pedro, who struck his effort over the upright. In the eighty seventh minute, a flying save by Courtois pushed away Defoe’s well struck ball, after being found by Billy Jones. After a bending free kick by Willian was caught by Pantilimon, following a reckless challenge on Sunderland captain, John O’ Shea on Ramires, the Blues concluded a decisive victory to get back on track and begin their campaign post Mourinho.