Sunderland 2-4 Chelsea. Chelsea pick up three important points.

In what appeared to be a difficult game tonight on paper and after conceding an early goal, Chelsea fought back to beat Sunderland 4-2 with...

In what appeared to be a difficult game tonight on paper and after conceding an early goal, Chelsea fought back to beat Sunderland 4-2 with goals from Frank Lampard, Salomon Kalou, John Terry and man of the match Nicolas Anelka. (See the goals in my previous post).

Carlo made two changes from the side that started against Everton. Ramires was replaced by Mikel and Kalou fresh from his goal at Goodison came in for Malouda. Chelsea's shape for this one changed back to the 4-Diamond-2 formation with Kalou up top next to Drogba and Anelka in behind at the tip of the diamond.

The game was frantic as you would have expect as these days any side we come against on their own patch will look to make quick start to the game. Sunderland got their just rewards as early as the fourth minute.

The ball was won in the middle of the pitch and played out wide to Bardsley. He came forward with the ball as Gyan made a run wide and took Bosingwa with him. Seeing the space open up Bardsley moved to the edge of our area, as he did, Mikel did no more than make a half hearted attempt to make a challenge, Bardsley side stepped him and fired a shot towards the far post. As he hit it, Ivanovic with his arms by his side, ducked out of the way which in turn, caught out Cech and the ball found it's way into the bottom corner. Mikel and Ivanovic should have done better. 0-1.

To our credit we battled back and got our just reward for the possession we were having when a ball played up to Ashley Cole in the box, resulted in the Sunderland defending climbing all over Ash in the box and a penalty was given. Lampard, under severe pressure knowing we are already ten points behind United and a goal down, stepped up and blasted it into the net to make it 1-1.

We took the lead as the ball broke in midfield to Anelka inside the centre circle, who playing deeper remember, looked up and fed Kalou through the middle. Kalou was onto it with the defender trying to catch him. For some reason Gordon in goal came rushing out of his box and as he did, Kalou had the composure to flick the ball past him first time from 30 yards and the ball rolled into the empty net to make it 2-1.

Chelsea we on top and had fought back to get our noses in front but another piece of slack defending cost us again. After John Terry tried to block of their player on the edge of the box and force him inside, as Ivanovic slid in to make a tackle, their player knocked the ball past him and crashed into Mikel, beaten by the ball and the referee gave a direct free kick around 20 yards out left of centre. Kieron Richardson had to have done his homework as he fired his free kick along the floor as the Chelsea wall (apart from Lampard) jumped up to make themselves big, the ball flew under the wall and into the bottom corner and gave Cech no chance. 2-2.

Shortly before half time Didier Drogba headed straight at Gordon from a corner and Ivanovic smacked a pull back from Essien onto the cross bar 8 yards out. We were dominating Sunderland but couldn't find another way through.

Chelsea came out in the second half and once again upped the tempo. We were pressing so high up the pitch, Sunderland struggled to cope with Gyan up there by himself and time and time again Chelsea surged forward with wave after wave of attack.

The more the game progressed the more influence Anelka was having in the deeper role. He was picking up the ball and either laying it off or starting off our attacking moves. Frank Lampard making his customary late runs into the box from behind Anelka's position was also having an influential part in the game and must have had at least 4 or 5 long range efforts either saved by Gordon or blocked. A goal mouth scramble from another Chelsea corner started as Ivanovic flicked the ball on and Anelka couldn't quite reach it as Kalou gambled on tapping it in himself only to crash into the post.

Chelsea looked like it would only be a matter of time before we scored. Our third goal came from a corner after breaking down Sunderland possession on half way. John Terry stepped in front of their attacker and nicked the ball away from him. He then carried on his run as the ball found it's way to Anelka once again and he spotted Terry right of centre just inside the Sunderland box. Terry smacked a shot towards goal first time that was blocked and deflected wide for a corner.

The corner came over and Terry won the header, flicking it goal wards and it was half cleared to Lampard outside the left corner of the box. He had time and space to chest the ball down and then fire a volley goal wards, once more Gordon was alive to it and palmed the ball away from the middle of his goal-line. Luckily enough Terry had stayed forward just outside the near post and as the ball came back off of Gordon, Terry reacted and half volleyed the ball into the ground, it took one bounce on it's way high into the roof of the net from eight yards out as Gordon did his best to reach it. 3-2.

Chelsea were in front with their tails up, playing good football once again and we still had half an hour to go. Then we had another chance. Once again, Anelka picked up the ball just inside the Sunderland half in the middle of the pitch, he nutmegged two defenders as he dropped his shoulder and eased the ball passed them and was in space heading goal wards. He brought the ball to the edge of the box and just before he was put under pressure he slid the ball right of centre to Kalou, with Essien also making a run, and Kalou side footed the ball with power targeting just inside the near post. With Gordon beaten, the ball hit the near post and rebounded across the goal-line, onto the other post and away from goal.

Chelsea then made three changes in the game as still the game became much more one sided. Ramires came on for Mikel, Malouda for Kalou and Ferreira for Bosingwa.

Chelsea wrapped up the game with five minutes remaining as some scrappy play down the left hand side from Sunderland led to Malouda blocking a clearance and then flicking the ball passed a half hearted challenge just outside the left corner of Sunderland's box. He poked the ball passed the defender, picked up the ball just inside the byline and moved into the box with the ball with plenty of time and space to slide a ball into Anelka who beat the defender to the ball and flicked it into the bottom corner to make it 4-2 Chelsea.

It was a fantastic performance from Chelsea. We looked hungry for the ball and for the win. We still need to work on some sloppy defending for the goals we conceded but we are looking much much better now. We are pressing higher up the pitch defensively, squeezing the play to cut out the space the opposition has to play with and breaking up their play easily.

When we have the ball we are moving it around better, our movement is better and our passing is much much better. Players are making runs in behind, down the channels and also dropping deep to provide the man with the ball plenty of options and Sunderland couldn't live with it.

Nico Anelka was outstanding and will take alot of the credit in the reports you will read this morning. He was instrumental in the win tonight and his role and position cannot be underestimated (more on that later). Ashley Cole and Jose Bosingwa were up and down more in this one than I have seen them in weeks. Frank Lampard got his goal but more importantly found himself picking up any loose balls in and around the box and got his shots on target forcing Gordon into numerous saves. It looks much more promising for Chelsea after this performance.

Do you remember I posted on here before the Blackburn game that the next seven league games would go a long way to defining our season?, well that was the third out of seven and the win tonight makes it three out of three and nine points. We just need Chelsea to continue to build on these performances.

For tonight it's a great win and another step in the right direction and with Torres and Luiz now available for Sunday, surely we can only continue to get better and better.

Chelsea (4-1-2-1-2): Cech; Bosingwa (Ferreira 90+1), Ivanovic, JT (c), Cole; Mikel (Ramires 75); Essien, Lampard; Anelka; Kalou (Malouda 81), Drogba.
Unused subs Turnbull, Bruma, McEachran, Sala.
Scorers Lampard 14 pen, Kalou 22, Terry 60, Anelka 90+1.
Booked Drogba 54, Ivanovic 84.

Sunderland (4-4-1-1): Gordon; Onuoha (Cook 87), Bramble (c), Ferdinand, Bardsley; Elmohamady, Henderson, Malbranque (Colback 81), Sessegnon; Richardson; Gyan.
Unused subs: Mignolet, Angeleri, Mensah, Riveros, Reed.
Scorers Bardsley 3, Richardson 26.
Booked Richardson 84.

Referee Mark Halsey.


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