With the controversial appointment of Paulo di Canio weighing heavy on Tyneside, Sunderland packed up their troubles and headed for West London and Stamford Bridge.
And it was the Black Cats who had the best of the opening exchanges. After Chelsea had a free kick blocked and cleared, a lightening fast counter attack ended with Adam Johnson’s shot being cleared by the well-placed David Luiz.
Craig Gardner might of then found himself lucky to be on the pitch as early as the 25th minute after a robust challenge on Demba Ba. In the opening half an hour, Sunderland were certainly showing they were up for the scrap.
Ba’s overhead kick nearly found Mata at the back post before Sessegnon would nutmeg David Luiz in the middle of the park before Connor Wickham drew a corner from Petr Cech.
The resulting corner met John O’Shea’s head before rickashaying off Azpilicueta and into the Blues’ net.
Fernando Torres would come on at half time for the injured Demba Ba, and it would take a matter of seconds for the masked man to make an impact.
A driving run down the left touchline toward the Matthew Harding Stand tore the Sunderland defence, before squaring the ball across goal to Oscar, who’s terrible touch was deflected in off the hapless Matt Kilgallon. A large slice of luck about the equaliser, but with 45 minutes left to play the game was there for the taking.
10 minutes later, Chelsea would go ahead. Another deflection deceived Mignolet after David Luiz’s shot pinged off of Ivanovic’s heel and into the bottom corner. On the eve of Wrestlemania 29, the Serb showed his enthusiasm with a trademark John Cena celebration.
The European Champions had taken less then 10 minutes to turn the game on its head with the Black Cat’s were certainly out of luck.
The game would lull until the final whistle, Sunderland having all the wind knocked out of their sails. Chelsea won’t mind, as the late end-of-season surge continues with a midweek trip to Moscow.
Chelsea: Cech, Ivanovic, David Luiz, Azpilicueta, Bertrand, Ramires, Mata, Oscar, Mikel, Hazard, Ba
Sunderland: Mignolet, Bardsley, Kilgallon, O’Shea, Rose, N’Diaye, Larsson, Gardner, Johnson, Sessegnon, Wickham
Referee: Neil Swarbrick