Sunday, 11 September 2011

Sunderland 1 Chelsea 2

Sunderland 1
Ji Dong-Won
Chelsea 2
Terry, Sturridge

Not quite men against boys but once debutant Nicklas Bendtner had headed Sebastian Larsson’s free-kick wide from eight yards out there was only going to be one winner in this match.

The Pensioners opening goal did though have a touch of fortune about it, Lee Cattermole hardly touching Nicolas Anelka. From the resulting free-kick Juan Mata beat Simon Mignolet but not the post and with Kieran Richardson not bothering to get out quickly enough Chelsea skipper John Terry was allowed two chances to beat the keeper after Ramires floated the ball to the back post. Sunderland manager Steve Bruce continues to persist with Richardson at fullback; a role he is totally unable to fulfil defensively.

A goal up and enjoying total possession Chelsea nevertheless lacked a cutting edge or an incisive pass and with Wes Brown in fine form Sunderland might even have gone in at half-time level but Petr Cech was down quickly to block Stephane Sessesgnon’s low shot.

Brown was however guilty of ball watching on 51 minutes allowing Daniel Sturridge to run on to Raul Meireles fine through ball. In the side for record signing Fernando Torres, Sturridge beat Mignolet with an impudent back-heel that not even a backtracking Brown could prevent entering the net.

Having scored only one goal so far this season there was never any chance of the Wearsiders grabbing a point and although substitute Ji Dong-Won managed a smart finish in added time many of the home fans missed his effort having long since given on their sides chances. Season long it has to be said these seem to be no better than a bottom six finish, Sunderland having collected just 13 points from their last 19 games.

Bruce has also just lost record signing Asamoah Gyan on a season long loan to the United Arab Emirates side Al-Ain and Connor Wickham may have cost £8 million from Ipswich but the teenager cannot be expected to do much more than continue to learn his trade this season.

Chelsea’s prospects are, of course, much brighter and yet it’s difficult to see them seriously challenging either of the Manchester clubs for the title. In Mate, Meireles and Sturridge the Londoners do though have some fine young talent and ten points from the first four games isn’t too bad a start. 

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