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September 10, 2011
• Stadium of Light, Sunderland
Referee: L. Probert
• Attendance: 36699
Dong-Won Ji 90'
J. Terry 18'
D. Sturridge 51'
Anyway, much thanks, that's me done for the day. Enjoy your evening and try slot catch a glimpse of that Sturridge goal - will be well worth the time. Cheers!
Nevertheless, it wasn't to be. Steve Bruce's men are still looking for a much needed victory this season, while Chelsea stealthily picking up the points that have carried them to second in the table. The performances are steadily improving too. They'll definitely be in the mix this year, regardless of what's been written thus far this term.
Mata was the stand-out performer, with Sturridge also giving an excellent account of himself that was capped off by the cheekiest of backheeled efforts. Villas-Boas will be happy with his team, though Sunderland had the chances to certainly have come away with a draw today.
90' + 4'
And that's full time at the Stadium of Light. Not the most flowing of second halves, with the result effectively decided in the first.
90' + 3'
They're pushing for the equaliser as Chelsea look a little rattled though having committed a lot of men forward, Sunderland are nearly punished on the break, though Torres' touch and pass let him down.
90' + 1'
Yellow CardJosé Bosingwa
90' + 1'
Great touch from Bendtner for the assist, not entirely sure if he meant it though.
GOAL! Surely nothing more than a consolation? Bendtner brings the ball down well, feeding it into the path of Dong-Won Ji, who tucks it in well beyond Cech.
Three minutes of stoppage time.
Sunderland half-heartedly have a go at their visitors but to no avail. No surprise there really. A lot of the fans are heading to the exit. No surprise there either.
The amount of space Chelsea have enjoyed this afternoon is considerable. Even now, they leisurely knocking the ball around under little pressure at all. Really disappointing stuff from the hosts.
Ramires spectacularly air-shots at the far post. Not very Brazilian in the slightest.
Malouda tamely drags one wide from distance, should have done a lot better with his leg peg there. Dong-Won Ji is brought on as Steve Bruce's last throw of the dice. Apparently the South Korean has looked excellent in training, let's see if he can have any impact in the last 10 minutes.
Down the other end Bendtner looks as fruitless as ever, limply having a go at Cole before getting easily robbed. He's had no ideas all afternoon the Arsenal man.
Game grinding towards a halt here. To be fair though, it was a foregone conclusion after Sturridge doubled the lead. Ramires nearly gets in, but Mignolet does well to come and thwart any danger.
That is crude from John Terry, booting Gardner up the backside after the midfield had got away from him.
And that will be Mata's final contribution, with Torres being sent on. Could there be a goal in it for the Spaniard? The misfiring Spaniard that is. Mata has looked excellent today.
Mata hits the sidenetting as Sunderland attack on the break, though tragically lack a clinical final ball.
Well, they're pushing for it, I'll give them that. That said, Sudnrland look sluggish in comparison to their visitors, in almost every aspect of the game. Bendtner drives at Bosingwa though fails to put a decent ball in, before Wickham has a nod at goal that goes just over.
Well, they should have done! Bendtner finds himself half a yard of space inside the six yard area, though he's not quick enough in pulling the trigger and the danger is hoofed away.
And Wickham is due to be introduced into the mix too. That's a lot of attacking players on the field for Sunderland, can they get something from this?
Ahmed El Mohamady
Malouda nearly rattles Sunderland with his first touch of the ball, though Mignolet palms the ball away after the winger volleys straight at him.
Looks like El Mohamady is coming on for the hosts - can't really see that stunting Chelsea too much. Especially with the lack of ideas that is characterising their attacking endeavours so far.
Credit to Sunderland, they're committing men forward but every time they lose the ball they look so vulnerable.
You're going to have to watch Match of the Day tonight, if only for that. Exquisite piece of skill. That's how you do it Balotelli.
GOAL! And what a fantastic finish that is from Sturridge! The striker finds himself through on goal and after seeming to have lost the ball, he produces a wonderful backheel to send the ball in off the post. Unbeliavable stuff.
That's unlike Brown. Sloppy stuff almost lets Ramires pickpocket him but Sunderland get away with it. Almost straight after, Lee Cattermole strikes a Cole cross wildly on the volley, in the air and sends the ball flying over his own crossbar. Bizarre.
Better stuff from the home side, as Gardner sends another lame header into the hands of Cech. Sunderland really do need some conviction in the air. Gimme Niall Quinn back any day.
Back out at the Stadium of Light, let the second half commence!
And you can see why Sunderland are yet to win a game this season. Steve Bruce needs to change something up here. Send on Wickham perhaps, let's see what he's made of.
Big fan of Sturridge this end too. Alongside Mata, the young striker has lent Chelsea a cutting edge that has been entirely absent in their three games so far this term.
Villas-Boas should be pretty happy with what he's seen though. Chelsea have looked fluid and dangerous on the break - aided no end by Sunderland's rather lazy pressing game.
Half-time. Chelsea in control and deservedly in the lead though Sunderland really could and should have been level, after excellent chances for Larsson and Bendtner. Could it be that the Danish striker's rather patchy form in front of goal is following him north?
45' + 1'
Quick fire chances here. Sessegnon uses his chest cleverly to manipulate some space in the box before forcing Cech into a smart save at the near post. Then, Larsson finds himself in a similar position to Bendtner before, with all manner of space in the box, though he cannot direct his free header anywhere remotely in the direction of goal.
Disgusting stuff from Phil Bardsley - who's just stamped on Mata. The Spaniard goes down under a challenge and out of nowhere comes Bardsley, who leaves his studs imprinted on Mata's back. Ugly stuff. A retrospective ban is surely on the cards.
Looks like Sunderland are out for a Sunday stroll today, with Chelsea stringing together a shed-load of passes under no pressure whatsoever. Chelsea are camped in the opposition half.
Human brick wall Wes Brown throws himself infront of a particularly vicious-looking Anelka effort on the edge of the box. Things are looking very easy here for Chelsea.
Bendtner is looking very isolated up top. The extra men in midfield don't seem to be able to quell Chelsea spraying the ball around at their leisure though. Meireles has looked spritely, while Sturridge and Mata have stepped up to the mark, invoking memories of a time when Chelsea used to be cutting edge. Anyway, I digress, Sturridge should have scored there. A beautiful ball is whipped across the box and had Sturridge showed a little more belief, he would have got on the end of that one.
Sorry there folks - having a few technical issues this end. You haven't missed too much - Chelsea looking dominant, Sunderland looking a little raggity and Andres Villas-Boas looking very animated on the touchline.
Yellow CardJack Colback
First goal of the season for the Chelsea skipper. He showed real predatory instinct to slot that in with his left peg. Cruise control from here?
Nowhere near as one-sided as I thought it would be. Sunderland are spraying the ball around quite nicely, though Chelsea are looking potent every time they counter. Anelka is chopped down by Cattermole on the edge of the box. Dangerous looking free-kick for Chelsea.
Will be interesting to see how Raul Meireles fits into Villas-Boas' Chelsea project. He may have been a Plan B after the failure to recruit Luca Modric but, the two have worked together at Porto and the boss should, at least in theory, know exactly what the new signing will add to a midfield that has looked sluggish of late. Anyway, Cole nearly gets in down the left after a lovely Mata through ball. A poor touch lets him down though.
That said, the Arsenal man just did brilliantly to beat Ivanovic in the air though after nodding it on, Sesegnon brings down Terry when almost clean through
Looks like that could be a recurrent theme in this one. Sunderland are stockpiling players behind the ball, with Bendtner already looking kinda lonely up top.
Chelsea have had the better of the opening exchanges, with Sturridge almost getting round the back after a deep cross from Cole.
Sunderland look like they could be losing their rag at little here. First, that yellow card you can see below was courtesy of a very, very late challenge from Colback. Not particularly vindictive but woefully mistimed. Soon after, Bramble clatters into Sturridge from behind. Not the most graceful two minutes I've ever seen.
Chelsea really do look a different side with Mata. The Spaniard adds a fluency to the side that has been strangely absent of late, a prime example being a beautiful slide rule ball to get Anelka in. Though the recalled Frenchman fires both high and wide.
GOAL! Mata spanks the post directly from the free-kick and when the ball comes back into the box, Terry brings it down and fires it across ball. After a bit of protracted pinball, the ball eventually works its way back to Terry who does well to guide it in the net from a really tight angle. Top finish.
He should have opened his account there! Bendtner finds himself in acres of space in the box, completely untroubled, though he fails to send his header on target. Petr Cech was at Sunderland's mercy there. Should be 1-0.
Three minutes till kick-off at the Stadium of Light
Loan signing Niklas Bendtner also makes his debut, with Titus Bramble being drafted in for his first appearance of the season. Wonder how much that’ll do to quell the impressive looking Mata?
Andres Villas-Boas brings in a new look frontline as Fernando Torres is relegated to the sub’s bench, with Daniel Sturridge returning from suspension to make his first start of the season and Juan Mata also making his full debut. Liverpool old boy Raul Meireles also starts, alongside Frank Lampard and Ramires in the middle.
Chelsea (4-3-3) Cech; Bosingwa, Ivanovic, Terry, Cole; Meireles, Ramires, Lampard; Mata, Anelka, Sturridge. Subs: Hilario, Luiz, Romeu, Torres, Malouda, McEachran, Kalou.
Sunderland (4-4-2) Mignolet; Bardsley, Bramble, Brown, Richardson; Larsson Cattermole, Gardner, Colback,; Sessegnon Bendtner. Subs: Westwood, Wickham, Vaughan, Ji, Turner, Elmhamady, McClean.
That said, both have recruited rather impressively over the summer, with some of the key new figures primed to star today. Here are the lineups….
Sunderland have lost 11 of their 18 Premier League matches since that encounter and aren’t off the mark yet this term, while a trophyless campaign from Chelsea, on top of a rather lacklustre start to the season, has left resounding question marks over the away side’s abilities.
Since Sunderland spanked Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge both teams have endured rather poor fortunes.
Afternoon all and welcome to Goal.com’s live coverage of the Premier League showdown between Sunderland and Chelsea.
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