Sunderland were beaten 5-1 away at Chelsea in our last Premier League game. An early goal from Javier Manquillo was cancelled out by 5 Chelsea strikes, signalling why the champions are the champions, and why we are going down with a whimper. Things can only get better...
Sunderland fans travelling down to Stamford Bridge would be seeing their club’s last appearance of a ten-year stint in the Premier League. But with a weak squad named that saw absences from Defoe, Kone, and NDong, supporters could be forgiven in thinking this might be a difficult last stand.
Jones O’Shea Lescott
Manquillo Rodwell Larsson Cattermole Oviedo
Sunderland made a bizarrely positive start to the game, taking the lead after just 4 minutes to put a dampener on Chelsea’s Championship party. Januzaj won a free kick within shooting range. The resultant shot was deflected off the wall and into the path of Javier Manquillo, who marked his last Sunderland appearance with a goal from close range, sending both sets of fans into a state of bewilderment.
The lead did not last for long, however, the champions responding with a typically industrious goal. Marcos Alonso hit the crossbar with a free kick, but Chelsea retained possession. They worked the ball around the box, with Sunderland unable to dispossess, before moving it to Willian who converted brilliantly.
Chelsea should have scored after Eden Hazard was slotted in at the far post, but his ran had only just advanced beyond the ball. The home side were the one causing problems, with Sunderland still surprised they managed to snatch an early goal.
The match then got a bit weird. Jordan Pickford was told to kick the ball out of play so John Terry (shirt number 26) could be subbed in the 26th minute. The game then stopped for 5 minutes as players hugged and kissed, before forming a guard of honour for the departing JT as he made his way off the pitch. One of the most embarrassing things I’ve ever seen on a football pitch. By the time Terry left the pitch, it was nearly half-time.
1-1 was the score at the break, with SAFC hanging on to the game and not making any effort as such to make things happen going forward — it’s difficult to do so when you don’t have the ball.
With no recognised striker in the side, Sunderland were looking a little like a blunt knife trying to bisect an avocado. Borini and Januzaj aren’t really the hard-working pair you’d want to have leading your attack, but it would be unfair to criticise their performance against the champions in a fixture that didn’t really mean anything to anyone.
Chelsea took the lead after 60 minutes when Diego Costa found Hazard on the left-hand side. Hazard thumped the ball across Pickford into the back of the net to finish off an effective counter attack for the home side. Januzaj came off and was replaced by Gooch, who will probably feel aggrieved not to have started ahead of loanees and players who are out of contract in the summer.
Chelsea extended their lead after a mix-up between Lescott and Pickford saw Pedro played in with an open goal to aim at. You have to laugh, I suppose, though I won’t be laughing when it comes to August and Lescott is our first-choice centre back.
The icing on the cake for Chelsea came in the 90th minute when Pedro took on our defence and slotted in the seldom-seen Michy Batshuayi to make it 4-1. Batshuayi added another just minutes later after he found his way in following a period of showboating from Chelsea.
By the end of the match it was resembled more of an exhibition than anything else, but given the John Terry charade and the meaningless nature of the fixture, it was probably never more than that.
A pitiful end to a decade in the Premier League, but a relief to what has been a miserable season of writing these match reports for A Love Supreme.
Thank you to all who have supported ALS and read our match reports this campaign – we couldn’t do it without you. See you again in August, and please, however hard it may be, keep the faith.
Final score: Chelsea 5-1 Sunderland
ALS Man of the Match: The travelling fans
ALS T Shirts click here