Guus Hiddink said goodbye to the Premiership with a win in his final match. For us, there was little at stake, having all but come third. For Sunderland it was the polar opposite, still in relegation danger, a win would have ensured Premier League survival.
Drogba’s effort hitting the roof of the net within the first ten minutes was our best early chance, followed minutes later by another attempt, this one saved by Fulop, the Sunderland keeper. Juliano Belletti picked up a knock and was replaced by Michael Ballack after 26 minutes.
Cheers erupted around the stadium when news of Damien Duff’s Own Goal filtered through to the Sunderland faithful.
Malouda was denied soon before the break by Fulop, the keeper was in action minutes later, this time denying Didier Drogba, Malouda again tried his luck on the stroke of Half Time, striking well and beating Fulop, but not the woodwork.
At Half Time Sunderland were the only team in the relegation scrap not losing, although this was rectified soon after half time, with Anelka breaking the deadlock after 47 minutes, with a fantastic strike to win him the Golden Boot. The thunderbolt of a strike left the keeper with absolutely no chance, right in the top corner.
The Black Cats took just five minutes to reply, with Richardson scoring from Sunderlands first shot on target. Kalou replaced Essien and within ten minutes put us back in front, a short corner between Drogba and Malouda found it’s way to the edge of the box and Kalou’s shot just creeped inside the near post in the 74th minute.
Michael Mancienne then came on for Jon Obi Mikel for just under the last quarter of an hour.
Ashley Cole extended our lead on the 86th minute when Malouda’s shot was blocked by the outrushing Fulop, with the keeper out the way there was still two defenders on the line, Cole hit a right footed shot from the edge of the area that went between the two Sunderland players.
Kenwyne Jones grabbed a last minute consolation goal for Sunderland, but we held out to give Guus the ideal Premier League send off, a fantastic run thats seen us drop just five points with him at the helm.
There were jubilant scenes at the Stadium of Light when the full time whistle blew at Villa Park, even some Chelsea fans joined in with the Cheer Up Alan Shearer song. Congratulations to Sunderland and Hull, commiserations to Newcastle and Middlesbrough.
The match was a great way to end the season, with something at stake for one of the sides it added to the atmosphere, and personally I thought our fans were in good voice, notably in requesting Guus Hiddink to lengthen his Chelsea affair.
So the seasons not quite over for us yet, and Guus Hiddink’s long goodbye reaches it’s conclusion on Saturday, 250 extra tickets have been made available to STH’s without a ticket already, these go on sale tomorrow.
Congratulations to Nicolas Anelka, his 19 league goals wins him the Golden Boot, he certainly saved his best strikes till the end of the season.
Thanks to Guus, for his excellent job since taking over from Scolari, I liked the Brazilian, but anyone in the world would be hard pushed to have bettered the job Hiddink has done in the league.