Premier League – Sunderland thrash woeful Chelsea

Sunderland produced one of the shocks of the Premier League season, thrashing Chelsea 3-0 at Stamford Bridge.

Goals from Nedum Onuoha, Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck gave Steve Bruce’s side a thoroughly deserved victory that was as comprehensive as it was unexpected.

It was Sunderland’s first away win of the season, and Chelsea’s first home defeat since Manchester City won 4-2 in February – their only reverse at Stamford Bridge last season.

A turbulent week ended in the worst possible fashion for Chelsea, who sacked assistant manager Ray Wilkins on Thursday, but to blame Wilkins’s departure for the result would be disrespectful to a Sunderland team who performed magnificently.

Gyan and Welbeck were a constant, menacing presence up front, where they terrorised maskeshift central defensive duo Paulo Ferreira and Branislav Ivanovic.

John Terry unexpectedly missed out with a gluteal muscle injury which has also ruled him out of England‘s friendly against France, while Alex was also absent.

Welbeck brought a superb save from Cech with a powerful downward header from Onuoha’s cross.

The resultant corner initially missed everyone, but when it was played back in, the ball passed between the legs of Gyan yards from goal.

Welbeck beat Ferreira to meet a Gyan through ball, but saw Cech save his left-foot shot on 38 minutes.

Then the on-loan Manchester United man sprinted beyond Ivanovic to chase a Boudewijn Zenden through ball, only to be cynically hauled down.

You could not wish for a clearer example of a player denying a clear goalscoring opportunity, yet referee Chris Foy lamentably chose only to show Ivanovic a yellow card.

Sunderland’s sense of injustice provoked more attacks, as Cech produced a remarkable double save to deny Gyan, then Kieran Richardson, amazingly, with his feet.

But the visitors would not be denied, regaining possession and finding Onuoha, who embarked on a Messi-esque slalom past three opponents before placing a left-foot shot inside the right corner on 45 minutes. A stunning goal from the full-back.

The second period brought more of the same, and Sunderland were two up after another fine move.

Welbeck found Jordan Henderson, whose through ball allowed Gyan to place the ball past Cech into the Chelsea net.

Sunderland scored twice at Stamford Bridge last season. Unfortunately for them, they also conceded seven.

But the expected Chelsea onslaught never came. Ramires and Didier Drogba had gone close in the first half, and the Ivorian striker again looked the likeliest to hit back, without ever testing Craig Gordon.

The Blues seemed devoid of fight and imagination, as the absences of the injured Frank Lampard and suspended Michael Essien were felt in the middle of the park.

Henderson and Lee Cattermole exerted constant pressure in midfield for Sunderland while Titus Bramble and Michael Turner performed admirably at the back.

Welbeck’s lively showing was rewarded three minutes from time when he scored the third goal after a staggering blunder by Ashley Cole.

Cole attempted a pass back from the left corner flag, but inadvertently set up Welbeck to sweep the ball past Cech.

Carlo Ancelotti‘s side saw their lead at the top of the Premier League trimmed to two points ahead of Arsenal, but the damage could have been worse as both Manchester clubs were held to draws on Saturday.

Alex Chick / Eurosport

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