Chelsea and John Terry end on high as five-star Blues demolish Sunderland 5-1

Match Summary

Chelsea round off the title-winning season, and John Terry’s career at Stamford Bridge, in emphatic style with a 5-1 demolition of bottom-of-the-table Sunderland.

The Blues, knowing that if they won they would become the first Premier League side to ever win 30 matches in a 38-game season, fell behind early but re-grouped through Willian, Hazard and Pedro before Batshuayi put the icing on the cake with an injury-time brace late on.

It was the perfect ending to the season, with the Blues finishing on 93 points, as the division’s second-highest goalscorers and Courtois the goalkeeper with the most clean sheets, as Cahill and Terry both jointly lifted the Premier League trophy.

But the headlines will be dominated by the romantic farewell for Chelsea’s captain, John Terry, making his 717th and final appearance for Chelsea, who departed with a standing ovation and guard of honour in the 26th minute of the match, in line with his Chelsea shirt number.

Embed from Getty Images

Antonio Conte would have been forgiven for resting a few players for this dead-rubber, especially with an FA Cup Final to prepare for next week, but the Italian opted for a full-strength starting elevent in front of an adoring Stamford Bridge crowd for the final time this season.

However, it was not the start they were hoping for.

A Sunderland free-kick inside the first three minutes was not properly cleared by the Chelsea back-line, featuring John Terry for the final time, and Manquillo slotted home.

Whilst that was not in the script, this fixture has produced an average of 3.6 goals in the 31 Premier League meetings these sides have met for, and so it was no surprise to see another quick goal, this time in line with the script-writers.

Hazard won a soft free-kick from Jack Rodwell, but referee Neil Swarbrick gave it and Marcos Alonso shaped to shoot. Whilst the distance — 20 yards — was in his range, it cannoned back off the bar, and after some dallying by multiple Chelsea players, none of whom wanted to shoot, it fell to Willian to drive it past Pickford.

After the slow start, Chelsea soon found their gear.

Alonso was next to try and get involved from long range, whilst a Luiz disguised his free-kick, shaping to shoot but in reality finding Costa, who peeled away on the left-hand side but miscued his side-foot volley.

Corner after corner went Chelsea’s way as the Blues kept probing, and in truth it was no doubt from corners that John Terry had the best chance of a parting goal.

But he was not to get one.

Conte had been talking about preparing a “surprise” for this game, and it came in the 26th minute — John Terry’s Chelsea shirt number — when Cahill stripped off to come on for the departing Chelsea captain.

It was a move well-orchestrated — with Pickford making sure he kicked the ball out of play in time for a stoppage in play to occur, and then the Chelsea players formed their own little guard of honour for the Chelsea defender — but whilst the players were in-the-know, it did appear to take the Chelsea fans inside the ground by surprise, with many expecting a hurrah much later.

The game was starting to have a testimonial-like feel, but Costa brought things back to life with his ferocious nature, elbowing John O’Shea off the ball and getting a yellow card for his troubles.

The Sunderland defender could have had the last laugh on Costa and his club, though, when he nearly scored from another Sunderland set-piece, and Chelsea were struggling to deal with them into the second half, with Rodwell heading low and nearly catching Courtois by surprise.

But at the other end, the Chelsea talent shone through.

A long Willian ball presented a quick counter-attacking opportunity for Chelsea, with 2-on-2. Costa passed to Hazard, who was shown onto his outside smartly by the defender, with the Belgian wanting to cut in. Turns out the Belgian’s left foot is just as accurate, firing past Pickford to put Chelsea in the lead for the first time this match.

Conte then opted to preserve the big guns ready for next week’s Wembley showdown, with Costa and Hazard both departing, but their substitutes in Pedro and Batshuayi were no outsiders to the Chelsea title-winning team this season, and proved such by scoring or assisting three remaining Chelsea goals.

A Fabregas long ball left Lescott in a panic, needing to head the ball somehow with Pedro breathing down his neck, but the Englishman inadvertently sent it closer towards goal, and with Pickford off his line and in no man’s land, Pedro raced on to head in a third.

Batshuayi would make things worse for David Moyes’ 499th Premier League game as a manager, scoring twice in the final two minutes.

Pedro found the Belgian for the first one with an excellent reverse pass and Batshuayi beat the offside trap to slide home, whilst the icing on the game was a pure solo goal, collecting the ball on the right wing and cutting inside on his left foot to curl past Pickford.

It was a day of celebration: celebration for the emphatic win, celebration for the title-winning campaign, and more poignantly, celebration of a true Chelsea great in John Terry.

What are your thoughts from the game? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!

———————————————————–————————————————————

Man of the Match

MICHY BATSHUAYI: Bit-part player? Judging by these last three games, I think not. Michy Batshuayi has had to bide his time to justify his £33 million price tag since his summer move from Marseille, but with the title-winning goal against West Brom, the Belgian only had half an hour on the field today and still bagged a classy brace. With Costa waving to the Chelsea fans on his substitution, could Batshuayi been Chelsea’s leading man next season? 7/10

———————————————————–————————————————————

Manager Reaction

Conte was in dreamland: “I dreamt this but I must be honest if you asked me on my first day at Chelsea if I would win the league and be in the final of the FA Cup, it [would have been] very difficult for me to imagine this. It is an amazing moment for us to celebrate this win, for me and the players. I think this change [three at the back] was very important for us. We found the right balance and every single player enjoyed this type of situation. It was a key moment for us.”

Terry deliver an emotional farewell speech: “I have been very fortunate to work with some unbelievable players and managers throughout my career. I am thankful to every single one of them. We all have to thank Roman Abramovich. I would like to thank him and all the board. He is the best owner in world football. I will come back here one day, supporting the team for years to come.”

Moyes’ emotions could hardly have been more contrasting: “I am a man who has just lost a game today and I am gutted at the way we have lost it. I am gutted that we have been relegated, I am really disappointed at the way the season has gone.”

———————————————————–————————————————————

Fan View

———————————————————–————————————————————

Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had five years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.

———————————————————–————————————————————

© Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle, 2011-2017. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this Blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Advertisements

Fabregas scores winner as Chelsea edge Sunderland 1-0

Match Summary

Chelsea extend their lead at the top of the table to six points after a hard-fought victory against Sunderland to bring about a record-equalling tenth consecutive Premier League victory.

A solitary Cesc Fabregas goal at the end of the first half was enough for Conte’s men to bring all the spoils back to SW6, but it was not without its dangers as Courtois pulled off a spectacular injury-time save to deny Patrick Van Aanholt an equaliser.

In the end Chelsea did see the match out to record their best run since 2005-2006 season, and crucially kept their tenth clean sheet of the season, a feat achieved in just 16 matches this season when it took them the entire 38-game season last year.

It was nothing more than the visitors deserved, who had 66% possession and some 19 shots, but found Pickford in fine form, but Conte will not care about the manner of the victory as six points is opened up with Arsenal losing last night.

Embed from Getty Images

The visitors have won 19 of the last 23 Premier League meetings against Sunderland, but the hosts won this fixture in May last season, so it was little wonder to see a cagey start as both sides looked to sound out the opponent. David Moyes was vying to win three Premier League games in a row at the Stadium of Light for the first time since February 2012, but set up his side to negate Chelsea’s wing-backs.

That created a slow opening 10 minutes, with little other to note than Marcos Alonso being resorted to a long-range shot which went closer to Row Z than the goal. The ex-Sunderland loanee simply did not have enough time to let it fall before he was closed down.

Where he was not taking the opportunities, he was certainly in the thick of creating them. With Van Aanholt marking Moses closely at the other end, the most potent source of Chelsea’s attacks came from Alonso down the left, and he had space to run and send in a delicious cross on more than one occasion. The end product lacked substance, but the warnings were there.

However the best chance of the game thus far would go Sunderland’s way. Adnan Januzaj had one-on-one time to run at Gary Cahill, and the Belgian had half a yard on the Chelsea captain if he went wide, but opted to cut inside on his left foot and Cahill read it to deflect his shot wide.

At the other end, Costa’s half-volley lacked precision when he was free in the box from Alonso’s cross, but their first substantial chance — in the 40th minute — would yield a goal.

Pedro plucked the ball out of the air, found Fabregas who laid on a one-two to Willian out wide. The Brazilian returned the pass one-touch with perfect delicate weighting for Fabregas to sweep in a daisy-cutter from 20 yards.

It was a sweet goal and perfect vindication for Fabregas, who came into the side ahead of Matic, as he recorded his first Premier League goal of the season.

It could have become two with the last kick of the half as Costa was hauled down by O’Shea in injury time, but Willian’s  free-kick flew over despite getting good contact.

How they could have been made to pay within 60 seconds of the restart as both sides came flying out of the blocks.

Januzaj overlapped a surging Defoe run and was found superbly by the Englishman, but Courtois denied his fellow compatriot with his legs.

The ensuing corner was cleared and Chelsea ran up the other end where Moses really ought to have doubled his side’s lead but shot wayward when presented with a better opportunity than the one Fabregas took earlier in the game.

Willian’s change of pace left ex-Chelsea man Papy Djilobodji for dead but his shot was deflected onto bar, before the next opportunity saw Costa marauding forward and his shot deflected for a corner.

Sunderland were certainly living dangerously, none more so than when Kone barged Costa over in the penalty area. The Spaniard was onside but slow to race onto Pickford’s goal for a glorious opportunity and Kone raced back, arguably illegally but Neil Swarbrick was unmoved.

Costa continued to feel aggrieved when the next opportunity presented to him from a Moses cross was again unfulfilled, with this time Costa moaning he was pushed by Kone before he could make contact. Again a legitimate claim but again Swarbrick was unmoved.

Borini then blazed wide as he tried to relieve some pressure on his side who were constantly under cosh, but it was not before long before the ball was back at the other end, with Willian trying to do a Hazard by cutting in from the left-wing on his right foot, but the Brazilian lacked the curl his team-mate could often show.

As the game wore on with still just the slender one-goal advantage, Chelsea were keen to press on to settle the nerves. Costa worked the ball well out wide to Alonso, whose cross-cum-shot from out wide was well-held by Pickford.

Cahill threw his body on the line to block Borini whilst at the other end Kante came right through the heart of the Sunderland middle and his shot stung Pickford’s hands.

Matic came on to shore things up in the final quarter of an hour, but Chelsea really craved that second goal, coming close through Willian but for the Brazilian to shoot straight at Pickford. Costa then had the ball smothered by a strong hand by Pickford as there was just no budging for that second goal.

Fabregas then was through but pulled wide, as Willian came off for Chalobah to waste yet more time.

A Sunderland onslaught ensued as Azpilicueta pulled a superb defending header off a cross, and from the corner the ball was claimed triumphantly by Courtois. Patrick Van Aanholt really should have equalised at the death with a stunning strike but Courtois somehow reacted superbly after little to do all game, and Chelsea open up the six-point lead.

What are your thoughts from the game? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!

———————————————————–————————————————————

Man of the Match

cesc-fabregas-thumbnailCESC FABREGAS: The Spaniard has been very much a super-sub when used in the past couple of games, but with arguably less defending to do against a Sunderland side, Conte felt confident to bench Matic and utilise Fabregas’ creative energies, and boy did it pay off. The defensive solidity of Matic is still required, as shown as the end, but there is no substitute for Fabregas’ vision for a pass — long or short — nor his instinct to pop up with vital goals when his side needs him. 7/10

———————————————————–————————————————————

Manager Reaction

Conte knew his side put more pressure on themselves than they should have: “When you have the possibility to kill the game, you must kill the game. We had this possibility but we didn’t and at the end Courtois made a good save. It was good, it is important for the future because today we didn’t pay but when you have the possibility to kill the game you must kill the game. I hope in the future we can improve.”

Moyes was not in consolation mood: “Don’t say commiserations, it sounds bad, they deserve more than that. We don’t have the quality of Chelsea but we did a really good job. I don’t want a pat on the back for losing, I want the points.”

———————————————————–————————————————————

Fan View

———————————————————–————————————————————

Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had five years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.

———————————————————–————————————————————

© Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle, 2011-2016. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this Blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Chelsea capitulate as Sunderland snatch vital win in Terry’s last Chelsea game

Match Summary

Sunderland came from behind twice to secure three vital points in their battle for survival, in what is likely to be John Terry’s final Chelsea game.

The Blues, who went ahead twice through Costa and then Matic when Khazri has equalised, had their skipper sent off in the 95th minute, and with a red card already this season, the two-game suspension will rule him out for Chelsea’s final two Premier League matches and end his Blues career on a sour note with no contract extension likely.

What a shame then for Terry, in his 483rd and last Premier League game for Chelsea, to see his side capitulate by conceding two goals in three minutes as Borini and Defoe wrapped up the win, meaning Sunderland’s survival is very much in their own hands.

As for Chelsea, it leaves them settling for 9th position, and is the first time in 20 years they have conceded 50+ goals in a Premier League season.

Embed from Getty Images

They say insanity is doing the same thing time and time again but expecting a different outcome, so it is surprising of Hiddink to continue to play the same tired line-up, despite promising youth in these final matches with Chelsea having nothing to play for.

Gary Cahill was booked after 44 seconds, the second quickest booking in the Premier League this season, but did provide the game’s first assist after 14 minutes.

Hazard’s intricate footwork found the defender in the penalty box and his pass, via a wicked deflection off Yedlin, found the oncoming Costa, who sidefooted effortlessly past Mannone.

It means the Spaniard has now been involved in 14 goals in his last 14 Premier League games for Chelsea, with 9 goals and 5 assists, but to little avail in this abject Chelsea season.

Every time Chelsea have taken the lead in an away game this season, they have gone on and won, but not here.

Yedlin nearly made amends on the 26-minute mark when Defoe’s floated cross found the Sunderland man at the back-post, but Courtois was in the right place to shovel it away.

The equaliser did come soon though, and in fantastic style. A Van Aanholt free-kick was feebly headed away by Mikel, and the ball fell kindly to Khazri who hammered the volley home. It was a spectacular goal to end his run of nine Premier League games without providing either a goal or assist, and it got his side right back into it.

That goal came four minutes before half-time, but Chelsea still went into the break with the lead thanks to a Matic goal in the third minute of stoppage time. The Serbian broke up play and continued his run, and after neat work by Fabregas and Hazard, it was Azpilicueta left to feed the ball back into the Serbian’s path, who slotted home under Mannone’s body.

Allardyce would have been livid, especially as Van Aanholt was playing everyone onside by his lackadasical ball-watching, but he would have been pleased with his offensive units after the break.

Fabio Borini has scored a goal in each of his last three Premier League appearances against Chelsea for Sunderland and that record continued this afternoon after another woeful display by Chelsea’s back line and Courtois. Van Aanolt was given acres of space to cross in by Ivanovic, Matic did not get close enough to Borini who was invited to shoot, and then Courtois failed to get two good hands on the ball as it squirmed past the Belgian.

Sunderland were in the ascendency and showed that through the score-line three minutes later. Mikel got in Terry’s way of clearing Yedlin’s right-wing cross and fed the ball to Defoe, who lashed home an unstoppable shot. It was his 18th goal in all competitions this season, 13 more than any other Sunderland player, and what a huge goal it could turn out to be.

Before the quick Sunderland strikes, Costa had a glorious one-on-one chance but took far too long to compose himself. Had that gone in for 3-1, it may have sucked the life out of Sunderland, but instead it was the Black Cats now with the lead.

Could Chelsea show Sunderland’s character and get back into the match? No, as has been the case all season.

Willian had a free-kick well tipped over by Mannone, but the ending was sour: Terry picking up his second yellow card in the 95th minute of the match as the realisation dawns on him that he may no longer play for the side he joined aged 14 and with whom he has won a host of honours with the club, including the Champions League, four Premier League titles and five FA Cups.

What are your thoughts from the game? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!

———————————————————–————————————————————

Man of the Match

diego-costa.thumbnailDIEGO COSTA: Took his goal well but, as expected, rests on his laurels for the rest of the game. In truth, the match was not lost there as Chelsea capitulated in other areas, as Courtois, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic and Rahman could not handle Khazri’s pace or Defoe and Borini’s strikes. Even Matic undid his good work by allowing Borini in for his goal, whilst the ever-useless Mikel continued to ball-watch all over the place. 5/10

———————————————————–————————————————————

Manager Reaction

Hiddink summed up Chelsea’s complacency: “For Sunderland it was a must-win game, for us it was a would-like-to-win game. They got a lot of energy they produced the win. John Terry was a double yellow, I think it was a little bit over the top the decision.”

Allardyce was thrilled: “An extraordinary and nerve-wracking afternoon. Our destiny is in our hands and a win against Everton will secure our Premier League future. It will be difficult but we have an opportunity to achieve it, let’s hope we can.”

———————————————————–————————————————————

Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had five years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.

———————————————————–————————————————————

© Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle, 2011-2016. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this Blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Chelsea start life post-Mourinho with 3-1 win against Sunderland

Match Summary

The Chelsea players put in the performance of a lifetime in one final act of betrayal to former manager Jose Mourinho, who was mercilessly sacked just 48 hours before kick-off.

The Blues’ players, who had suffered nine defeats in 16 Premier League matches, left their former manager to rot and, under the stewardship of Steve Holland in the very short-term, played with the hunger and passion they deliberately forgot about for Mourinho.

This act of betrayal did not go unnoticed inside a hostile Stamford Bridge atmosphere, with the Chelsea fans very much siding with the only man in the current set-up to truly bleed blue blood, and with every goal and substitution came raucous chants of “Jose Mourinho”.

In the end, whilst it would be difficult to justify sacking Mourinho on one showing, Roman Abramovich will at least be pleased to see his side back to winning ways, though once again it is short-termism over longevity.

Embed from Getty Images

With Thursday’s firing of Mourinho, Steve Holland and Eddie Newton were drafted in as one-game wonders, and with Guus Hiddink appointed until the end of the season, Chelsea may as well announce they have sacked the next manager already.

But it is a penny for Mourinho’s thoughts, in Brighton to watch his friend Karanka and his Middlesbrough side take on Brighton, to see his former side switch on so instantly to score two goals in the opening 13 minutes.

There could not be a better showing of betrayal. The players, unfit to wear the shirt of even a League 2 side for many weeks had suddenly turned into world-beaters, with Oscar confidently trying rabonas and Costa showing some sort of effort.

It was another much-maligned individual who got the game’s first goal inside five minutes. Willian, who can escape criticism for not trying, swung in a corner and Ivanovic leapt like never before to head a quite superb goal into the top corner. It was his first goal of the season; if only he had such determination under his previous boss.

And what for Chelsea’s creative talents? Well, Pedro was next on the scoresheet, with Ivanovic’s cross finding Pedro to rifle home around the penalty area. It was his first goal at Stamford Bridge; if only he had such determination under his previous boss.

It was a turning into a case of how many. Matic all of a sudden became a footballer and his reverse pass nearly paid off for Willian.

Oscar should have scored when given acres of space but Pantilimon’s legs denied him a certain goal which his performance deserved.

He would get the opportunity early in the second half though. Pedro’s ball to Willian was good, as was the Brazilian’s control, but Pantilimon clattered the winger and the penalty, Chelsea’s first of the season, was awarded. All Mourinho’s complaints were being answered, but he was not here to see it. Oscar calmly tapped the ball into the net, again with more chants of Mourinho’s name.

There was no getting away from Chelsea’s defensive frailities, however, with Borini pulling a goal back moments later. Johnson’s free-kick found Kaboul who found Borini to bundle home.

Nerves crept into Steve Holland’s thinking and Mikel and Remy were the introductions. Damningly, it was two suspected “bad apples” who had to depart: Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa. The former went off to boos and Costa, who continued to be his usual self all match and a fraction off every ball, stormed down the tunnel to heart-felt chants of Mourinho’s name.

Chelsea saw the game out and we will see the return of Hiddink on Boxing Day, but the suggestion Hiddink’s a better manager to ressurect Chelsea’s season than Mourinho is as laughable as it gets.

What are your thoughts from the game? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!

———————————————————–————————————————————

Man of the Match

oscar.thumbnailOSCAR: Chelsea’s best player of the game but there is an overwhelming sense of lack of effort under Mourinho. Oscar tried everything today and made himself look like Zico, with cute dribbles and rabona passes, and of course the goal. How frustrating it would be for Mourinho, who so often gave the Brazilian the freedom in the No.10 role, but rarely grasped the opportunity with both hands like today. 7/10

———————————————————–————————————————————

Manager Reaction

Steve Holland was sad to see Mourinho depart, but was happy with the result: “[In] my role as a club man, you get close to the people you work with, and it’s sad when that changes, but we had an important game two days after and I had a responsibility to the fans and the club. I am happy with the result but it is raw. I feel the way I feel. In the end I thought they saw the game out fairly comfortably.”

Allardyce understood how hard it was come back when you concede two early goals: “We looked frightened of going out to play. When we gave them the first goal early it lifted the whole stadium. Right from the start we made life very difficult for ourselves. I was happy to get in at half-time just 2-0 down.”

———————————————————–————————————————————

Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had four years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.

———————————————————–————————————————————

© Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle, 2011-2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this Blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Chelsea 3-1 Sunderland: Match Reaction

Match Summary

Chelsea lifted the Premier League trophy in front of an adoring home crowd as the season ended in a winning, and emotional, style.

The Blues, who hosted Sunderland to this dead-rubber season finale, had more pressing matters concerning them, including lifting the Premier League trophy three weeks after securing it. Despite this, a penalty from Costa and two from Remy did enough to over-turn Fletcher’s initial goal.

There was also news two hours before kick-off that Didier Drogba, who has achieved so much at Chelsea, would be leaving Chelsea for the second time to continue playing for another club, but hoped to be back “in the future in another role”.

Cech was also in the starting eleven and he is also set to depart SW6, if maybe not the country or indeed London, so it was set to be a day filled with every emotion.

With the Chelsea 2004/2005 side invited back to walk around the pitch before kick-off, and Chelsea’s youth offered the similar honour during the half-time interval, it sets up the parade for the main Chelsea side on Monday. And if today was anything to go by, there will be quite the party on Monday lunch-time.

Embed from Getty Images

Despite nothing to play for for either side, Mourinho was keen to end the season, and at home, with a win, after the poor 3-0 loss at West Brom. And it was far from a poor game.

Fletcher poked Sunderland’s noses in front in the 26th minute as he striker escaped Chelsea marking from a set-piece.

But this was to be eclipsed by the minutes following. Drogba, who started brightly with the captain’s armband despite John Terry being on the field, suffered an injury and was carried, quite literally, off the field of play to a standing ovation. It brings to a close Drogba’s playing time at Chelsea — this time for definite.

Embed from Getty Images

Swansea were the only side previously to take the lead against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this season, and that was for half an hour before Chelsea won 4-2.

This time it was for 11 minutes. Costa levelled, from the penalty spot as Cuadrado was felled in the box.

It was certainly not a match where the players’ minds had already gone on holiday. Hazard found Remy in the second half but there was no goal from the Frenchman, just yet.

Van Aanholt evaded Ivanovic’s marking on multiple occasions during the match and Defoe nearly latched on.

Remy then lashed home as Hazard pirouetted past many Sunderland players to put Chelsea in front.

Fletcher should have equalised from a Van Aanholt cross minutes later, but there was to be no spoiling of Chelsea’s party. Indeed, Remy added an extra layer on top of the cake, poking home a third goal.

So Chelsea end the season as they start it: with a win. With the 2004/2005 side back in Stamford Bridge to watch the game, it could spell a new era as youth in Christensen came on.

What are your thoughts from the game? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!

———————————————————–————————————————————

Man of the Match

eden-hazard.thumbnailEDEN HAZARD: When he brings his A-game, Chelsea brings their A-game. The Belgian caps off a stunning season with another fantastic performance, showing no signs of fatigue. His injection of pace and his quick spin are his trademark and, despite everyone knowing this, opponents still cannot stop this young magician. Hopefully next season is another blinder. 9/10

———————————————————–————————————————————

Manager Reaction

Mourinho was not resting on his laurels as he plans for next season: “I know that our rivals are going to fight [next year] so we have to be better – me, the players and our squad. Maybe [the squad] needs some fresh blood to keep them under pressure. They know me and they know that they are not going to keep their positions on the basis of this year.”

Dick Advocaat was proud of his season achievement too: “My assistant said to me we made the impossible, possible. We gave cheap goals [today] but Chelsea deserved it. The players [overall] have responded excellently, with their commitment to the club, to get 12 points makes me very proud of them. I have a big decision [on my future] to make this week.”

———————————————————–————————————————————

Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had four years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.

———————————————————–————————————————————

© Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle, 2011-2015. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this Blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Sunderland 0-0 Chelsea: Match Reaction

Match Summary

Chelsea were frustrated by bogey side Sunderland as their march on the Premier League crown suffered a set-back.

The Blues, living high from the five-star German performance mid-week, were clearly also left tired from their Schalke exploits as Mourinho naively selected exactly the same 11.

The Northerners, who did the double over Chelsea last season in the Premier League and in the Capital One Cup, were left to disappoint again, but at least the stuttering Blues’ lead is extended to seven points, albeit temporarily before second-placed Southampton and third-placed Manchester City face off tomorrow.

Embed from Getty Images

The early passages of play set the tone for much of the play: immense Chelsea possession, but with a sturdy Sunderland back-line, the likes of Oscar and Hazard found it hard to be direct and, instead, large parts of the game were spent passing sideways.

There was simply no budging Sunderland’s defence. Willian hit the post from 20-odd yards but chances were hard to come by. And when the tables were turned, it was left to Ivanovic to stop Wickham from having a clear shot on goal.

A series of decisions going against Sunderland’s way — correctly — saw Sunderland’s assistant manager sent to the stands as the game started to sour. Indeed, later on in the second half, Costa was yellow carded, ruling him out of our mid-week clash against Tottenham.

In the interim, Ivanovic’s shot fizzed wide, but despite sending on Drogba and Remy, the Blues could not score for the first time this season.

What are your thoughts from the game? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!

———————————————————–————————————————————

Man of the Match

willian.thumbnailWILLIAN: His shot hit the post, and that was the closest Chelsea came. No-one had an inspired game: Matic was atypically sloppy, whilst you cannot rely on Fabregas, Hazard and Costa to assist or score every game. Willian certainly huffed and puffed and had efforts, albeit many wayward. 6/10

———————————————————–————————————————————

Manager Reaction

Mourinho could accept the result: “It was a difficult match. They defended a lot and they defended well [which] is not a crime; it is a strategy and it was successful for them. We were a bit tired towards the end and we left a bit of space.”

Gus Poyet was delighted his plan worked: “My players defended for their lives. We knew this was going to be a difficult game. We tried to be compact and I’m very pleased with our performance.”

———————————————————–————————————————————

Post written by Martin Li. Martin has had three years’ blogging experience, writing for the likes of Bleacher Report and SWOL. He runs his own Chelsea blog — The Chelsea Chronicle — which has match reaction and analysis from every Chelsea match. You can follow him on Twitter.

———————————————————–————————————————————

© Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle, 2011-2014. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this Blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Martin Li and The Chelsea Chronicle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Chelsea 1-2 Sunderland: Match Reaction

Match Summary

And they all said the title decider was to be next week’s crunch match against Liverpool. Sunderland, and Liverpool loanee Fabio Borini, however, had other ideas.

Chelsea’s league ambitions are in tatters, and with it Mourinho’s perfect home league record, as bottom club Sunderland prevailed against Chelsea in a feisty encounter in the Saturday evening sun.

Eto’o’s early volley looked to set Chelsea on their way, but Wickham’s instant reply and Borini’s late penalty ensured all three points went to the visitors.

It led to a heated exchange between Mourinho’s assistant Rui Faria and Mike Dean, resulting in Faria being restrained by several of Chelsea’s backroom staff. It also led to Jose Mourinho presenting a 53-second speech, refusing to answer Sky Sports’ questions but merely congratulating his players, Sunderland, and then more sarcastically, Mike Dean and the referees’ boss, Mike Riley.

It was another typical case of so near yet so far for the Blues. How a side can prevail again Manchester City twice, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United, but not see off the likes of Aston Villa, Crystal Palace and today against bottom side Sunderland only further compounds the agony.

But tonight was a night which showed Sunderland’s desire to stay in the top division was stronger than the Blues’ desire to win it.

Even when Samuel Eto’o had put Chelsea ahead with a clever volley from a set-piece, Sunderland had not given up hope. After all, they had recovered from an early setback just three days ago, and with rusty Schwarzer, Chelsea’s oldest ever deubtant, deputising for the ill Cech, there was no reason not to believe.

That belief turned into reality when Connor Wickham pounced on Schwarzer’s parry from an Alonso shot. The striker, who scored a late brace mid-week against Manchester City, still had his scoring boots on to lob one into the net, reacting faster than Terry.

Then came plenty of moments for Chelsea to win it. Ramires’ had an open goal from three yards, whilst Ivanovic’s header found its way to the bar. Ba, too, had the goal gaping but unfortunately slipped.

The costliest slip proved to be eight minutes from time. Azpilicueta’s slip presented Altidore through on goal and when the Spaniard tried to recover, he was adjudged to have brought down the American striker. Borini scored to help his loan side in their relegation fight, and in turn, help his parent club vying to win the title for the first time since 1990.

And then came the fracas. Champions League or nothing.

(Chelsea) Man of the Match

Eto'oSAMUEL ETO’O: The Chelsea back-line has been reliably solid but it was evident there was a new (or, rather, very old) kid on the block, and Schwarzer’s slip, together with Azpilicueta’s slip, is what ultimately cost Chelsea. Until that point, Chelsea, led by Eto’o, was valiant in their approach and though it was a laboured performance by all in blue, Eto’o deserves my praise purely for a well-taken goal. 6/10

Manager Reaction

Mourinho dictated the press conference, refusing to answer questions but only venting his frustration: “First of all, congratulations to my players, they gave everything. Secondly, to Sunderland, they won three important points. Thirdly, to Mike Dean: his performance was fantastic, really amazing. And finally, congratulations to Mike Riley [the referees’ boss] for the way he organises things this season, the referees are doing really well. I have nothing more to say.”

Gus Poyet was delighted for his professional side, but evidently sad for the club he has so much emotional attachment to: “The players kept believing. We needed something special and it happened in the last four or five days, but it is not over for us yet. I would like Chelsea to win the title… but we got a bit of luck when Cesar Azpilicueta slipped. It is a penalty that we can argue about all night.”

Stats