League leaders Chelsea Football Club have been on top-form this season. They came up against a Sunderland side who had shipped 8 goals to Southampton, who face Manchester City tomorrow. Sunderland were looking for their 3rd win in a year over Jose Mourinho’s men, but Chelsea had not lost a single match and had won 10 and drawn 2 in 2014-15.
Chelsea could not find a way past Costel Pantilimon, however, and had to settle for a point against a resilient Sunderland team. With this result the Black Cats, who are on 14 points from 13 matches, lift themselves to 13th place in the EPL table.
Chelsea arrived at the Stadium of Light having started the season with an unbeaten run of 19 matches. They were left frustrated on a goalless night by a Sunderland side, who did not want to settle for a draw but were looking to get the three points in front of a vociferous home support.
Sunderland had a clear plan of foiling Chelsea’s attack and hitting them on the counter with the pace of Adam Johnson and Steven Fletcher. The first half was very tight and the only clear chances were when Willian struck the post and Vergini hit the crossbar.
Chelsea had Sunderland pinned into their own half, but there were not many clear chances for the Blues. While the Black Cats were comfortable just defending, they did attack whenever they had a chance and looked to score to inflict the Londoners’ first defeat of the campaign.
Diego Costa was lucky not to be sent off
Diego Costa had a frustrating evening and could easily have been sent off for attempting to kick John O’Shea in the first half. The locals weren’t pleased at all when referee Kevin Friend denied Sunderland a series of fouls and there was sarcastic applause whenever the home side won a free kick.
The Spaniard did get himself booked, and eventually suspended for their next match against Tottenham Hotspurs, when he appeared to catch Wes Brown on the face with a flailing arm.
Gus Poyet brought in Jose Altidore for Steven Fletcher and replaced Jack Rodwell with Jordi Gomez with a little under 30 minutes left and the United States international was very soon in the thick of the action after he was denied a header at goal by the alert Gary Cahill.
Mourinho brought in summer recruits Loic Remy and Didier Drogba for Oscar and Costa in search of a goal. Drogba forced Pantilimon into a diving save moments after coming on. Near the end of the match, Sunderland applied a lot of pressure on the Chelsea goal and were unlucky not to get the winner when Adam Johnson was found free inside the box with three minutes left. The Englishman fluffed his shot with his weaker foot and the score remained goalless.
The referee blew the whistle soon after to signal the end of the match as the home side gained a crucial point against high-flying Chelsea.Published 30 Nov 2014, 01:09 IST