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EPL Results: Chelsea ease past Sunderland in their first post-Mourinho game

Photo Courtesy: Guardian.co.uk
Photo Courtesy: Guardian.co.uk

Chelsea started their second post-Jose Mourinho era on a positive note, following a comfortable 3-1 victory over a struggling Sunderland side at Stamford Bridge.

Early strikes from Branislav Ivanovic and Pedro coupled with a second half penalty from Oscar proved sufficient as Sunderland were only able to score a consolation through Fabio Borini.

Steve Holland and Eddie Newton (temporary caretakers of Chelsea) decided to make to chances to the side that lost to Leicester City last weekend, with Cesc Fabregas and Pedro replacing Ramires and Eden Hazard respectively.

Sam Allardyce, on the other hand, opted to make three chances to his side that lost to Watford, with DeAndre Yedlin, Fabio Borini and Steven Fletcher making way for Younes Kaboul, Jack Rodwell and Jermain Defoe, respectively.

Despite the crowd booing most of the Chelsea players before kick-off, the hosts got off to a flying start as they took the lead in the 5th minute through Ivanovic. Willian whipped in a corner from the right, and the Serbian made no mistakes as he rose above Coates to power a header past Pantilimon.

Before the Black Cats could recover from the first goal, Chelsea doubled their lead through Pedro in the 13th minute. Another attacking move from the hosts resulted in Ivanovic whipping a dangerous cross into the box from the right. The delivery, after beating the Sunderland defence, fell towards Pedro, who easily slotted the ball past Pantilimon.

13 minutes later, some poor defending from Sunderland saw Oscar easily dart towards goal. The Brazilian, after moving to the right side of the box, fired a low effort towards goal, but Pantilimon produced an excellent save as the kept the ball out with an outstretched foot.

The hosts created their first chance of the game in the 33rd minute when M’Vila sent a lovely long ball towards the edge of the penalty area. Duncan Watmore, after managing to control the ball, unleashed an effort, but his shot was well wide.

A couple of minutes later, some excellent play from Willian and Oscar resulted in the latter sending a good ball into the box. A poor touch from O’Shea saw Costa get an excellent chance to score, but the striker ended up thumping his effort over the crossbar.

Moments later, Costa got another opportunity, after he received a superb cross from Pedro. But the Brazil-born striker again failed to hit the target as his header flew just over the bar.

Things went from bad to worse for Sunderland in the second half as they went further behind, through a penalty from Oscar in the 50th minute. Willan, after being released by Pedro with an excellent lofted ball, raced in to the box, where he was chopped down by Pantilimon. The referee, who had a good view of the whole incident, straight away pointed to the spot. Oscar stepped and made no mistakes as he sent Pantilimon the other way.

Chelsea three goal cushion was soon reduced to two, after Sunderland managed to pull one back through Borini in the 53rd minute. Adam Johnson whipped in a free-kick and Kaboul was able to get a header towards goal. Although Courtois was able to parry, the rebound fell into the path of Borini, who found the nets with the easiest of tap ins.

A couple of minutes later, Borini was again in the thick of action as he almost pulled another goal back for his side. Johnson, after twisting and turning just outside the area, sent a lovely ball towards Borini on the right side of the box. The Italian striker managed to curl an effort, but his shot was off target.

In the 65th minute, Zouma failed to properly deal with a long ball from Kaboul, and this allowed Defoe to collect the ball and move into a very dangerous position. The former Tottenham striker unleashed an effort, but he was unable to hit the target from close range.

Four minutes later, at the other end, Willian, after managing to hold on to the ball on the left flank, squared a pass to Oscar. The midfielder fired an effort, but his shot only found the side netting.

In the 74rd minute, Ivanovic, after collecting a pass from Willian, sent a brilliant low cross across the face of the goal. Pedro tried to make contact with an outstretched foot, but he just ended up directing the ball away from Costa.

With nine minutes of normal time remaining, Remy (who came in as a substitute for Costa in the 75th minute) got a very good chance to find the nets as the bulleted down the left, following a quick counter from the hosts.  The former QPR striker, after cutting in from the left, fired a good effort from the edge of the area, but Pantilimon produced an excellent diving save to deny the Frenchman.

Three minutes later, another lightning fast counter from the hosts resulted in Willian teeing up Pedro with an excellent pass inside the box. However, the former Barcelona winger, who only had the goalkeeper to beat, ended up slicing his effort over the bar.

Sunderland got a final chance to pull another goal back in the 87th minute, but Courtois made an excellent save to keep the scores 3-1. Matic lost possession just outside the box, and this resulted in Defoe getting clean through on goal. The former Portsmouth man fired a good effort, but Courtois made an acrobatic diving save to deny the Sunderland striker.

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