Chelsea’s sensational home record went up in smoke as goals by
Nedum Onuoha, Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck gave Sunderland a
shock 3-0 victory over the Premier League leaders on Sunday.
The reigning champions hadn’t conceded a goal at Stamford Bridge
all season before their match against the Black Cats but a defense
missing first-choice center halves Alex and John Terry fell
Nedum Onuoha put Sunderland ahead in the 44th minute with a
stunning individual effort before Gyan scored his fourth goal in
three games to make it 2-0 in the 52nd.
Welbeck then took advantage of a careless back pass by Ashley
Cole to slip in the third with three minutes left.
”They’ve done fantastically well,” Sunderland manager Steve
Bruce said of his players. ”I’m delighted for them. It’s not often
you come to Chelsea and win 3-0.”
Chelsea barely threatened Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon in
a lame attacking display and now leads the league by just two
points from Arsenal, which won 2-1 at Everton earlier Sunday.
It was Chelsea’s third defeat of the season, and second in three
matches following a 2-0 loss at Liverpool last Sunday.
Brazil defender Alex was ruled out Friday with a knee injury but
captain Terry’s absence, because of a nerve problem sustained in
training on Saturday, hit Chelsea hard.
His replacement Paulo Ferreira, usually a right back, was out of
his depth in the middle as Gyan and Welbeck ran rings round the
Portugal international. The Blues also missed the presence of
dynamic midfielder Michael Essien, who was suspended following his
red card against Fulham on Wednesday.
The result could have been even worse for the hosts had
Branislav Ivanovic, Ferreira’s partner in central defense, been
given a red card in the 40th minute for a foul on the lively
Welbeck when the former Manchester United forward was through on
Ivanovic escaped with a yellow but he and his teammates were not
spared further punishment as their team conceded their first goals
at home since March.
After a bright opening by Chelsea, which went close through Yuri
Zhirkov’s low shot and a fizzing free kick by Didier Drogba that
flew just over, Sunderland dominated with surprising ease.
Petr Cech turned Welbeck’s header round the post in the 36th
before Kieran Richardson smashed a shot across the face of
Welbeck was then denied by the feet of Cech after being put
through by Gyan and the Czech Republic goalkeeper made a fine
double save, from Gyan and Richardson, moments before Onuoha opened
Ivanovic’s poor clearing header fell to the former Manchester
City defender 40 yards out and he embarked on a superb solo run,
waltzing round two would-be tacklers before slipping a left-foot
shot past Cech for his first Sunderland goal.
There were just as many holes in Chelsea’s defense at the start
of the second half and Gyan took advantage in the 52nd to extend
the Black Cats’ lead.
A flowing move involving Boudewijn Zenden, Welbeck and Jordan
Henderson ended with the latter – who was called up by England on
Saturday for the first time ahead of the international friendly
against France – slipping Gyan in behind Ferreira.
The Ghana striker held his nerve as he curled his finish round
Cech from the left channel for 2-0.
Chelsea saw more of the ball after that but did not seriously
threaten Gordon, with Nicolas Anelka coming closest to scoring when
he shot over in the 86th.
Sunderland wrapped up the match a minute later when Cole’s pass
back to Cech from near the left corner flag was intercepted by
Welbeck, who guided a low finish past the stranded goalkeeper.