Champions come from behind the take three points back to capital...
Sunderland took the lead with their first attempt on goal as Phillip Bardsley drove forward from left-back, cutting inside on the edge of the box before taking a pop at goal. It swerved toward the bottom right-hand corner and past Petr Cech to give Sunderland the lead with three minutes played.
Chelsea looked shell-shocked as Sunderland’s midfield began to establish themselves on the game. The mobility of Chelsea’s front three looked as if it could cause problems though, when Salomon Kalou cut infield from the right and Frank Lampard wandered into the space vacated by the Ivorian. A deflected pass found its way to Lampard, who didn’t hesitate as he went for goal. But although his shot was firm, it sailed low past Craig Gordon’s right-hand post.
It wasn’t long before Chelsea were back in the game, however, with Ashley Cole winning his side a very generous penalty from referee Mark Halsey. The ball was lobbed forward into the box and Cole took a fall under minimal contact. Lampard stepped up for Chelsea and coolly dispatched it to level the score.
Chelsea took the lead with 22 minutes played after two defensive mistakes by Sunderland. Nicolas Anelka threaded the ball through to Kalou, who was played onside by Anton Ferdinand – standing two yards behind the defensive lead. Kalou raced through on goal as Gordon charged off his line prematurely. The Ivorian was smart to this and took his shot early, sending it past the stranded 'keeper and it trickled over the line to give Chelsea the lead.
Sunderland were back on level pegging three minutes later as Ahmed Elmohamady jinked through the Chelsea defence and was brought down on the right-hand edge of the Chelsea penalty area. Kieran Richardson hit his shot low and hard as it zipped under the Chelsea wall and into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal. Cech didn’t even move.
The second half started with a barrage from Chelsea. Kalou crossed from the right flank in the opening minutes and only a last ditch block from Nedum Onuoha denied the forward. The visitors nearly bundled the ball home from the resultant corner, with Kalou throwing a boot into the mix at the back post. Steed Malbranque was on hand to block on the post with Jordan Henderson there to mop up.
Chelsea inevitably converted this pressure into a third goal and it infuriated the home fans as it came from a corner they were adamant shouldn't have been given. The initial cross was cleared and Lampard fired the ball goalwards. Gordon did well to save, but the rebound fell to Terry who hit his shot into the ground and it bounced up over Gordon to give Chelsea a 3-2 lead.
Once ahead for a second time the champions never looked like they would relinquish their lead. Restricting Sunderland to very few opportunities from this point on, as time trickled away the result was never in doubt as Anelka added a fourth in injury time with a tidy finish after a smart pass from Florent Malouda and Chelsea closed into within one point of rivals Manchester City.