Sunderland upsets league leader Chelsea 3-0

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

apart.

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

goal.

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

goal.

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

the scoring.

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.