Stadium of Light
Wed 04 Dec 2013 19:45 (Attendance: 40,652)
It's the first of two pre-Christmas trips to Wearside with the league fixtures taking the Blues there on this occasion. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton work out what to make of the Mackems…
Jose Mourinho has suggested the next flurry of matches may 'clarify' the positions of the six current title contenders. The way the fixtures have been ordered has already irked the Chelsea manager several times this season.
This week it does seem odd that some teams (notably Arsenal and Manchester United) will now play two games with home advantage in rapid succession while rivals (Chelsea and Man City) play twice on the road.
The arrangement is all the more galling, of course, because of Chelsea's self-inflicted disparity between home and away form. The Blues have dropped just two points at the Bridge but to date on our travels just two of the six games have produced all three points.
On the positive side both away venues over the next four days have been happy hunting grounds in recent years. The Blues have not lost at Stoke City since April 1975 and have netted 15 goals in the last five Stadium of Light trips, an average of three per game.
Sunday's match was proof that if you hope to prosper in the cut-and-thrust of the Barclays Premier League you've got to pick a Pochettino or two. After conceding so early to Southampton it took an astute tactical switch to crucify the Saints.
This one was classic Special One: Demba Ba on to make two upfront, two-on-two in the centre, with the defence pushing up. The change meant Southampton were pinned in their own half, unusually for them, and outnumbered in danger areas.
Ba crowned an impressively aggressive performance with a flicked goal - his first in the league since March. Two of centre-backs hit the target in the same top-flight match for the first time since Fulham away in April.
Surprisingly Gary Cahill had not scored in the league since Spurs away in October 2012. Was that, as he told MOTD2, a 'duck off his back' or did he break his monkey? Who cares - it was a superbly agile header from the Yorkshireman, almost dolphin-like.
John Terry is now the highest-scoring defender (penalties excluded) since the Premier League began in 1992. He also eased past 1960s-1980s stalwart John Hollins into fourth on the club's list of all-time appearance makers with 593 in all competitions.
Another symbol of Sunday's turnaround was Juan Mata battling the ball away from impressive full-back Luke Shaw shortly before Chelsea's second goal - from his assist.
People are probably still rightly swooning at the Spaniard's half-volleyed defence-splitting pass to Eden Hazard during the Blues' best spell. It was his work off the ball as well as on it that really helped shackle the Saints, though.
Chelsea are top class retrievers this season. The Southampton result was the Blues' second win from a losing position this season. Coupled with two draws salvaged from similar positions, Chelsea have reclaimed eight points this campaign - more than any other team, and testament to the character and resourcefulness of the squad.
Only Man City have scored two-plus goals in a game more often than the Pensioners' nine in 13 matches. Leaders Arsenal and Southampton have the joint tightest defences in the top flight having conceded 10 times. Chelsea have let in 11; the tally of tonight's opponents Sunderland is 24 - almost two a game.
However former Stamford Bridge idol Gus Poyet appears to have stopped the rot since taking over as manager a month ago. Two of their last three games ended in clean sheets and they are off the bottom of the table, albeit five points from safety.
If a Premier League table was produced from when Poyet took over on 8 October to the present, Sunderland would be 12th with seven points from six games. In the next five days the Uruguayan's 100 per cent home record will come under threat from his two former playing clubs, Chelsea and Tottenham.
The attacking midfielder had already established himself as a Chelsea fans' favourite before scoring one of the great opening day goals seen at Stamford Bridge, a dramatic volley from Gianfranco Zola's sublime scoop, in August 1999.
The man who moved Poyet on from the Bridge in summer 2001, Claudio Ranieri, was in charge the last time we failed to win at the Stadium of Light - a 0-0 draw in December 2001.
Barclays Premier League fixtures
Arsenal v Hull 7.45pm
Fulham v Tottenham 8pm
Liverpool v Norwich 7.45pm
Manchester United v Everton 7.45pm
Southampton v Aston Villa 7.45pm
Stoke v Cardiff 7.45pm
Sunderland v Chelsea 7.45pm
Swansea v Newcastle 7.45pm - BT Sport
West Brom v Manchester City 8pm
|Barclays Premier League top eight|
Click on the tabs above for more briefing.
Jose Mourinho is wary of the scheduling this week and has already said several times that Sunderland are a better side than the points they have suggest. Under former Stamford Bridge icon Gustavo Poyet, Sunderland have won their last three games at home in league and cup.
With another testing visit to Mark Hughes's Stoke to come on Saturday before the Steaua game a week today, he is certain to mix the starting 11s considerably. Ashley Cole is training and may play in one of the league games this week.
David Luiz is still not training but could return soon to break up Sunday's goalscoring central defensive partnership of Gary Cahill and John Terry. Fellow Brazilian Oscar will also miss out tonight after injuring his ankle at the weekend.
Centre-forward Samuel Eto'o has returned from the groin problem suffered against Basel and could figure this evening. Although Demba Ba earned a rave review as substitute on Sunday, his strike partner Fernando Torres looked menacing throughout the match against Southampton despite not scoring.
The Spaniard enjoys playing against Sunderland, though, with six in nine games over his career. In fact, the only teams against whom he has netted more are Barcelona and Chelsea.
Ba will hope to extinguish the memory of a crucial late own goal in last season's Tyne/Wear derby at the Stadium of Light. It remains to be seen whether Mourinho elects to use the 4-4-2 system from the start of games or as a variation when the match requires it.
With Oscar absent the Portuguese will almost certainly rotate another of the attacking midfield three who have played the most this season. Willian, Andre Schurrle and Kevin De Bruyne will hope for involvement either tonight or Saturday.
Poyet has been setting his team up in a 4-1-4-1 formation with Swansea's on-loan Ki Sung-Yueng occupying the defensive midfield slot and Steven Fletcher, without a goal in five, ostensibly the lone striker last time out.
Former Blues prodigy Fabio Borini (pictured below), Emanuele Giaccherini and Adam Johnson have contested the wide roles in a system designed to allow more patience and possession than previous Mackem sides.
Much of Sunderland's play stems from South Korean Ki, with full-backs Phil Bardsley and Andrea Dossena pushing up to provide wide passing options. Sebastian Larsson likes a long shot, and he's not alone.
Sunderland attacks rely heavily on crossing but they are themselves vulnerable in the air. Chelsea's first two goals against Southampton derived from dangerous set plays and could be influential again tonight. They also tend to allow the opposition shooting space on the edge of the box.
The Uruguayan has used a lot of different players in various positions in his quest for the right formula. At the weekend he started with anyone who has scored a goal this season (five players) in a vain quest to improve a record of just eight goals from 13 matches to date.
Combative Lee Cattermole has returned from his latest suspension but sat on the bench at Villa Park.
Wes Brown has been the Mackems' star turn in defence since his recent return from extended absence through injuries. Despite concerns about overplaying the 34-year-old, Poyet has said he could feature again tonight after his recent red card was overturned.
Doubt also surrounds Brown's former teammate at Old Trafford, John O'Shea. The Sunderland skipper struggled through the final 10 minutes of Saturday's 0-0 draw with a groin strain. Twenty-six-year-old French defender Valentin Roberge may step in as Carlos Cuellar has a hip problem and Modibo Diakite has also been sidelined recently.
Poyet will check goalkeeper Keiren Westwood's recovery from neck injury before deciding whether to stick with Vito Mannone, who was Arsenal's keeper in our 2-1 Emirates win last season.
WE HAVE HISTORY
Chelsea have won 16 of our last 17 meetings over the last 12 years. Sunderland's only win was in November 2010 when three goals from Nedum Onuoha, Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck without reply secured the three points at a stunned Stamford Bridge.
The Mackems last beat us in the north-east in October 2000 when they won 1-0 at the Stadium of Light. Kevin Phillips was the lone scorer with a penalty just after the hour. Graeme Le Saux and Kevin Kilbane were both shown the red card a few minutes later.
Jos Mourinho's first visit to the Stadium of Light came in mid-January 2006, during his second title-winning season with Chelsea. The Blues had responded to defeat at Old Trafford in early November by blazing through a nine-match winning streak heading up to Wearside.
Mick McCarthy's newly promoted side were bottom of the table with no league win since September but a 3-0 FA Cup victory the previous weekend, albeit against lowly Northwich Victoria, had given them something to build on at last. 'Bring on Chelsea,' declared McCarthy, only half joking.
In the event it was referee Chris Foy would be in the spotlight at the end of the game.
The Mackems took a surprising early lead when John Terry's clearing header fell kindly for midfielder Liam Lawrence to half-volley past Petr Cech from just inside the area. Mourinho afterwards lamented his side's 'sleeping' start and saw Sunderland's goal as a turning point.
The setback fired Chelsea into action and Hernan Crespo went close to connecting at point-blank range as the visitors dominated possession. Before the half-hour mark the Blues were level through the Argentinean. William Gallas, playing at full-back, tricked his way behind the back line and crossed deep. Joe Cole headed the ball back into a danger area and Crespo headed past Kelvin Davis (pictured below).
Just before the break winger Arjen Robben was booked for a clumsy foul on Lawrence, a sign of frustration. With the cornered Black Cats fighting for their lives, the goal that might win the game was hard to come by, Davis saving well from Frank Lampard and Robben. Lawrence and Julio Arca, though, were regular threats down the flanks in a pulsating match.
There were 20 minutes remaining when Robben again burst past a few players, cutting inside and firing a goal-bound shot that deflected off Dean Whitehead, giving Davis no chance.
The massed Blues fans behind the same goal celebrated wildly and when a delighted Robben ran to the barrier to celebrate with them Foy reached for a second yellow and dismissed the Dutchman.
The Blues held strong for the remainder of the game to record a 10th win on the spin.
Our last 10 Premier League games against Sunderland at Roker Park and the Stadium of Light.
2000/01 - Sunderland won 1-0
2001/02 - Drew 0-0
2002/03 - Chelsea won 2-1
2005/06 - Chelsea won 2-1
2007/08 - Chelsea won 1-0
2008/09 - Chelsea won 3-2
2009/10 - Chelsea won 3-1
2010/11 - Chelsea won 4-2
2011/12 - Chelsea won 2-1
2012/13 - Chelsea won 3-1
Other match last season
7 April 2013 Barclays Premier League
Kilgallon og 46 Azpilicueta og 45
Sunderland v Chelsea in all competitions
Games played 116
Chelsea wins 56
Sunderland wins 39
Head to head in the League at Roker Park and the Stadium of Light
Games played 56
Chelsea wins 19
Sunderland wins 28
Biggest league win at Sunderland for each team
Sunderland 4-0 Chelsea - 30/10/1909, 08/02/1913, 08/09/1934
Sunderland 2-4 Chelsea0 - 1/02/2011
Chelsea failed to win at the Stadium of Light: 4,378
Sunderland beat Chelsea at home: 4,799
Arsenal won a trophy: 3,119
Liverpool won the league: 8,614
Only Arsenal and Southampton with 10 have conceded fewer than Chelsea's 11 goals in 13 league outings.
The Blues have won eight points from a possible 18 away from Stamford Bridge this term.
We have gained five points with late goals against Norwich, Man City and West Brom.
The Blues have an identical points record to the corresponding 13 fixtures last season.
Chelsea have not lost any of the seven games we have opened the scoring (six wins, one draw).
|Last six results|
|Nov 2||Newcastle (a)||L 0-2|
|Nov 6||Schalke (Champions League h)||W 3-0|
|Nov 9||West Brom (h)||D 2-2|
|Nov 23||West Ham (a)||W 3-0|
|Nov 26||Basel (Champions League a)||L 0-1|
|Dec 1||Southampton (h)||W 3-1|
League games since
An away win: 0
An away draw: 3
An away defeat: 1
|Chelsea's next three games|
|Sat 7 Dec||Stoke away||3.00pm|
|Wed 11 Dec||Steaua Bucharest (Champions League) home||7.45pm|
|Sat 14 Dec||Crystal Palace home||3.00pm|
Petr Cech's next clean sheet will be his 150th in the Premier League.
Michael Essien's next league start will be 150th in the Premier League while Ramires is set to make his 150th in all competitions.
6 League championships, last in 1936
2 FA Cups, last in 1973
1 FA Charity Shield in 1936
Premier League - 17th
FA Cup - Third round
Capital One Cup - Fourth round
Sunderland's last major piece of silverware was the FA Cup in 1973 when Ian Porterfield scored the winner for the Second Division side against Leeds.
Sunderland have won six points from a possible 18 at the Stadium of Light this term. They lost their first four home games against Fulham, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United and won their two most recent home league games against Newcastle and Manchester City.
The Black Cats have lost all eight league games in which they conceded the opening goal. They have also not gained any points from losing positions.
Sunderland have conceded 24 goals, together with Fulham the most in the top flight.
Only Crystal Palace have scored fewer goals than the Black Cats' eight.
Manager Gus Poyet
Days in charge: 57
|Sunderland's last 10 year league history|
|Last six results|
|Oct 27||Newcastle (h)||W 2-1|
|Nov 2||Hull (a)||L 0-1|
|Nov 6||Southampton (Capital One Cup h)||W 2-1|
|Nov 10||Manchester City (h)||W 1-0|
|Nov 23||Stoke (a)||L 0-2|
|Nov 30||Aston Villa (a)||D 0-0|
Premier League scorers (8)
Fletcher 2, Gardner 2 (1 pen), Giaccherini 2, Bardsley 1, Borini 1.
League games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 6
A home defeat: 2
BLACK CATS MAJOR SUMMER MOVES AND AUTUMN LOANS
Ins Cabral (Basel, free), Modibo Diakite (Lazio, free), Valentin Roberge (Maritimo, free), David Moberg Karlsson (IFK Gothenburg, £1.5m), Vito Mannone (Arsenal, £1.5m), Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar, £6.5m), El Hadji Ba (Le Havre, £380,000), Emanuele Giaccherini (Juventus, £6.5m), Ondrej Celustka (Trabzonspor, loan), Charis Mavrias (Panathinaikos, undisclosed), Ki Sung-Yueng (Swansea, loan), Andrea Dossena (Napoli, undisclosed), Fabio Borini (Liverpool, loan)
Outs Titus Bramble (released), Matt Kilgallon (Blackburn, free), Ryan Noble (Burnley, free), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool, £9m), Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull, £2m), Danny Graham (Hull, loan), Alfred N'Diaye (Eskisehirspor, loan), James McClean (Wigan, undisclosed), Ben Wilson (Accrington Stanley, undisclosed), Stephane Sessegnon (West Brom, £5.5m), David Vaughan (Nottingham Forest, loan), Billy Knott (Wycombe, loan), Connor Wickham (Sheffield Wednesday, loan)
THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Referee Phil Dowd takes charge of his second Chelsea match this season. The previous was our 2-0 success at Arsenal in the Capital One Cup.
There are no suspensions. Branislav Ivanovic is one domestic booking away from a suspension having received four yellow cards this season.
Jose Mourinho's men triumphed in the type of game that makes the Premier League so admired around the world. The defending from both sides wasn't always the best, from dead balls in Chelsea's case, but on a night when Eden Hazard was at times unplayable, three points for the visitors against the bottom club always looked likely.
As at the weekend, we again came from behind, this time recovering from a goal conceded after 14 minutes rather than 14 seconds. Lampard scored from a chance created by Hazard who then netted twice with splendid strikes, either side of a Sunderland equaliser.
The contest between the Chelsea winger and Phil Bardsley was one of the features of the game and the full-back put through his own net to make it 4-2 late on, but all the Sunderland goals came from set-pieces and it was Bardsley who made it tight once when he scored at the other end, but the Chelsea goal was not breached again. We claimed our third league win in a row.
Frank Lampard returned to the starting line-up in place of Michael Essien and with Oscar out injured, Juan Mata took up the central role behind Fernando Torres with Willian coming in on the right.
Sunderland also made two changes with Jozy Altidore preferred to Stephen Fletcher and Jack Colback replacing Sebastien Larsson in midfield.
Sunderland's best pressure of the first half came in the opening minutes, with former Chelsea striker Fabio Borini having a shot blocked and then flashing the type of ball across goal that had the home fans roaring in anticipation for the first time.
Mata did similar as the Blues threatened but Torres couldn't reach it, however it heralded the visitors taking control of the game.
Lampard shot wide after Cesar Azpilicueta had won the ball forcibly midway inside the Sunderland half, and our mobile midfielders were working promising patterns in wide areas either side of the Black Cats' penalty area.
That domination only served to make it more surprising when Sunderland took the lead. Referee Phil Dowd whistled for a free-kick 30 yards out when Azpilicueta challenged Jozy Altidore, and although Andrea Dossena's initial shot was easily blocked, it was poked back into the area to where Altidore did well to turn and fire a shot past Terry and then Cech.
However a calm and determined response by Chelsea prevented Sunderland turning that lead into a head of steam. The equaliser came just two minutes later and it owed much to in-form Hazard.
Taking a Torres lay-off, he moved wide before looping over the perfect cross to where Lampard, as he has done so many times before, escaped the marking and was able to head in from close range.
Back on level terms, Chelsea had to do some defending. Cahill slid to intercept a potentially troublesome cross and with half an hour gone, Ramires's clearance after Azpilicueta had got his head to a cross was latched onto by Dossena who flashed a diagonal shot towards Cech's goal. It was going wide but was close enough to extend the Chelsea keeper.
However the balance of play was still with the Blues, and Torres had a half-chance a couple of minutes later when a ball dropped at a corner, but it bounced high and was hard to keep down.
Hazard turned from creator to scorer with a moment of individual inspiration with 10 minutes to go to the interval. There was no immediate danger to the Sunderland goal when he advanced at the defence from a position out wide on the left, but with a simple dart inside, the space was there for a shot, and he needed no second invitation to drill the ball from the edge of the area into the far bottom corner.
With two minutes stoppage time beginning, Hazard almost caught Vito Mannone out with a shot towards the near post, and the Belgian emphasised the problems he was causing Gus Poyet's side when slipping past Phil Bardsley out wide on the stroke of the half-time whistle before being pulled back. It meant a booking for the full-back.
Ramires joined Bardsley in the book soon after the restart for a foul on Altidore and the half continued to go badly for Chelsea when Sunderland were allowed to equalise four minutes in. The players will not be happy about the way a corner was allowed to bobble across our area, and after boots belonging to both sides had swung at it, John O'Shea's made the necessary contact to tie the score up at 2-2.
It was Hazard who yet again looked poised to give his side back the lead, but this time Mannone was able to punch the shot out. It flew to Torres in a good position but the Spaniard skied his volley.
There was simply no stopping Hazard's shot on 61 minutes which did restore the advantage. It was from closer range than the one shortly before but had involved no less skill in getting there. From 12 yards out the ball whistled past the former Arsenal keeper. Hazard was booked for taking his shirt off in ecstatic celebration.
Ba came on for Torres shortly after, a straight swap up front but Willian was the next to threaten the target, blasting wide on the run. Then Hazard fed Ba who turned away from Brown neatly but shot wide as he slipped, possibly after some contact from the defender. It was pulsating football.
Ramires had a couple of shots, one much closer than the other, before Cech did well to punch away a cross from substitute Adam Johnson.
The game was now in its final 15 minutes and they provided plenty of incident to end the evening.
Bardsley's torrid night took a turn for a worse and then one for the better. Ramires found Demba Ba in plenty of space on the right and went for the return, but the cross was over hit and the danger appeared to have gone, before the Black Cats' full-back inexplicably turned it into his own net.
For the first time in the game a side had a two-goal cushion, but it didn't last long. Chelsea again didn't do well at a corner and from five yards out, Bardsley shot past Cech and into the net at the other end.
Chelsea were asked to negotiate six minutes of stoppage time before the three points were ours and we were called upon to defend, which we did well and in numbers, although might have been punished had Ki not slipped when shooting.
It is our ninth straight league win away to Sunderland.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry (c), Azpilicueta; Ramires, Lampard; Mata (Mikel 81), Willian (Schurrle 89), Hazard; Torres (Ba 65).
Unused subs Schwarzer, Cole, Essien, De Bruyne
Scorers Lampard 17, Hazard 36, 61, Bardsley own goal 83.
Booked Ramires 47, Hazard 62, Willian 89.
Sunderland (4-1-4-1): Mannone; Bardsley, O'Shea (c), Brown, Dossena; Ki Sung-Yueng; Giaccherrini (Johnson 65), Gardner (Fletcher 80), Colback (Larsson 57), Borini; Altidore.
Unused subs Pickford, Celustka, Roberge, Cattermole.
Scorers Altidore 13, O'Shea 49, Bardsley 85.
Booked Dossena 39, Bardsley 45+1, Colback 50, Altidore 90+5.
Referee Phil Dowd