Blues dominate at Sunderland
The big news before today’s match was that Torres would start… on the bench. Word is that AVB ain’t all that thrilled that Nando left his magic scoring boots in Liverpool.
On the good news front for Chelsea: Cech was back in goal today. It was also great to see David Luiz again, even if it was just on the bench.
Overall, a rather un-dramatic match today. It was pretty much a walk in the park for the Blues. But after the last couple nail-biters, this Chelsea fan welcomed the break. Here are a few of my game notes:
-Early on, some classic Cole runs up the left wing from the back. Ashley Cole is an unsung workhorse for Chelsea. He’s so reliable in his position that it’s easy to take him for granted.
-11th min: Mata made a great run into the box, but Anelka couldn’t do anything with Mata’s cutback pass. In fact, Anelka was virtually absent for the first 10 minutes.
-18th min: Fantastic finish by Terry for a Chelsea goal! And nice cross from Sturridge to kick off the frantic sequence in the box, which led to the goal.
-First quarter of the game was nothing for Chelsea to write home about. Not bad, but nothing flashy. Expected a little more precise possession. Apparently they’re still working out the kinks with new players in the lineup.
-Mata was a very bright spot for Chelsea in the first half hour. Always moving, trying to make things happen. Some smart and spot-on passes from him.
-Sturridge was energetic, trying hard to get involved, though he missed a great low-level cross from Bosingwa in the 37th minute.
-By the end of the first half the game was very casual with Sunderland content to let Chelsea bring the ball forward.
-51st min: Great 40-yard pass from Anelka to Sturridge who then cleverly back heeled the ball into the goal!
-63rd min: Awesome on-goal half volley from Malouda (in his very first touch of the game), but it was saved by Sunderland’s keeper.
-75th min: Torres replaced Mata. Probably a well-timed choice by AVB to get Torres into a low-pressure situation. Unfortunately, Torres barely touched the ball.
-79th min: Oriol Romeu made his Chelsea debut, replacing Anelka for the game’s home stretch. He didn’t see the ball enough to make much of an impression.
-91st min: Chelsea allowed a very disappointing Sunderland goal to make it 2 – 1.
-94th min: Scariest minute of the game as Sunderland suddenly sprang to life, launching several balls into the Chelsea box. Chelsea had a sudden 3-on-1 offensive situation after Cech launched the ball downfield out of danger. Torres received it and had a wide-open Ramires to his right, but made an absolutely dreadful waste of a pass that went out of bounds. Fortunately for him, the game was over seconds later!
So, a solid win for Chelsea, even though it wasn’t the kind of commanding victory that the Manchesters have produced. After Man U thrashed Bolton today, I’m leery of the Blues’ trip to Old Trafford next weekend. Before psyching themselves up for that one, Chelsea turn their attention to Bayer Leverkusen in Champions League play on Tuesday. Things are about to get interesting!
What did you think about Chelsea’s performance against Sunderland? How will Chelsea fare against Bayer and Manchester United next week?