Competition: Premier League
Referee: Neil Swarbrick
Chelsea Team: Cech, Azpilicuerta, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Bertrand, Ramires, Mikel, Oscar, Mata, (Lampard 89′), Hazard (Benayoun 84′), Ba (Torres 46′). Unused Subs: Turnball, Ferreira, Terry, Marin. Scorers: Kilgallon own goal 46′, Ivanovic 54′.
Sunderland Team: Mignolet; Bardsley, O’Shea , Kilgallon, Rose; Johnson, Gardner (Colback 81′), N’Diaye, Larsson (McClean 70′); Sessègnon; Wickham. Unused substitutes: Westwood, Mangane, Laidler, Mandron, Graham.
About the game:
A good team selection in the midst of a very hectic period for Chelsea. Benitez went with a very strong team, possibly to silence the media criticism that he was only after the cups to enhance his personal CV.
Sunderland were pumped for this game, the controversial appointment of Paolo Di Canio served as motivation to fight their relegation battle and to silence the media too.
Chelsea took time to settle in this game but almost immediately scored when they did settle via Demba Ba. David Luiz became a hero at both ends as he almost scored from a free kick then blocked a certain goal for the visitors.
The biggest shame of the first half was that Cesar Azpilicuerta’s first goal for the club was in the wrong net. Although it was a good finish.
Half time saw the visitors leading and a change for the blues as the man in the mask Fernando Torres replaced the injured Demba Ba. And was the presence felt. We saw glimpses of the ‘old Torres’ from Liverpool who terrorized many Premiership defenses. Within a quarter of an hour of the restart Chelsea were leading 2-1 when a Kilgallon own goal and a moment of sheer skill from Ivanovic gave Chelsea the lead.
The rest of the game was a bit shaky for Chelsea but the blues held on for a very, very important 3 points in the race for Champions League places.