Sunderland came from behind twice to secure three vital points in their battle for survival, in what is likely to be John Terry’s final Chelsea game.
The Blues, who went ahead twice through Costa and then Matic when Khazri has equalised, had their skipper sent off in the 95th minute, and with a red card already this season, the two-game suspension will rule him out for Chelsea’s final two Premier League matches and end his Blues career on a sour note with no contract extension likely.
What a shame then for Terry, in his 483rd and last Premier League game for Chelsea, to see his side capitulate by conceding two goals in three minutes as Borini and Defoe wrapped up the win, meaning Sunderland’s survival is very much in their own hands.
As for Chelsea, it leaves them settling for 9th position, and is the first time in 20 years they have conceded 50+ goals in a Premier League season.
They say insanity is doing the same thing time and time again but expecting a different outcome, so it is surprising of Hiddink to continue to play the same tired line-up, despite promising youth in these final matches with Chelsea having nothing to play for.
Gary Cahill was booked after 44 seconds, the second quickest booking in the Premier League this season, but did provide the game’s first assist after 14 minutes.
Hazard’s intricate footwork found the defender in the penalty box and his pass, via a wicked deflection off Yedlin, found the oncoming Costa, who sidefooted effortlessly past Mannone.
It means the Spaniard has now been involved in 14 goals in his last 14 Premier League games for Chelsea, with 9 goals and 5 assists, but to little avail in this abject Chelsea season.
Every time Chelsea have taken the lead in an away game this season, they have gone on and won, but not here.
Yedlin nearly made amends on the 26-minute mark when Defoe’s floated cross found the Sunderland man at the back-post, but Courtois was in the right place to shovel it away.
The equaliser did come soon though, and in fantastic style. A Van Aanholt free-kick was feebly headed away by Mikel, and the ball fell kindly to Khazri who hammered the volley home. It was a spectacular goal to end his run of nine Premier League games without providing either a goal or assist, and it got his side right back into it.
That goal came four minutes before half-time, but Chelsea still went into the break with the lead thanks to a Matic goal in the third minute of stoppage time. The Serbian broke up play and continued his run, and after neat work by Fabregas and Hazard, it was Azpilicueta left to feed the ball back into the Serbian’s path, who slotted home under Mannone’s body.
Allardyce would have been livid, especially as Van Aanholt was playing everyone onside by his lackadasical ball-watching, but he would have been pleased with his offensive units after the break.
Fabio Borini has scored a goal in each of his last three Premier League appearances against Chelsea for Sunderland and that record continued this afternoon after another woeful display by Chelsea’s back line and Courtois. Van Aanolt was given acres of space to cross in by Ivanovic, Matic did not get close enough to Borini who was invited to shoot, and then Courtois failed to get two good hands on the ball as it squirmed past the Belgian.
Sunderland were in the ascendency and showed that through the score-line three minutes later. Mikel got in Terry’s way of clearing Yedlin’s right-wing cross and fed the ball to Defoe, who lashed home an unstoppable shot. It was his 18th goal in all competitions this season, 13 more than any other Sunderland player, and what a huge goal it could turn out to be.
Before the quick Sunderland strikes, Costa had a glorious one-on-one chance but took far too long to compose himself. Had that gone in for 3-1, it may have sucked the life out of Sunderland, but instead it was the Black Cats now with the lead.
Could Chelsea show Sunderland’s character and get back into the match? No, as has been the case all season.
Willian had a free-kick well tipped over by Mannone, but the ending was sour: Terry picking up his second yellow card in the 95th minute of the match as the realisation dawns on him that he may no longer play for the side he joined aged 14 and with whom he has won a host of honours with the club, including the Champions League, four Premier League titles and five FA Cups.
What are your thoughts from the game? Leave your thoughts in the Comments section below!
Man of the Match
DIEGO COSTA: Took his goal well but, as expected, rests on his laurels for the rest of the game. In truth, the match was not lost there as Chelsea capitulated in other areas, as Courtois, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic and Rahman could not handle Khazri’s pace or Defoe and Borini’s strikes. Even Matic undid his good work by allowing Borini in for his goal, whilst the ever-useless Mikel continued to ball-watch all over the place. 5/10
Hiddink summed up Chelsea’s complacency: “For Sunderland it was a must-win game, for us it was a would-like-to-win game. They got a lot of energy they produced the win. John Terry was a double yellow, I think it was a little bit over the top the decision.”
Allardyce was thrilled: “An extraordinary and nerve-wracking afternoon. Our destiny is in our hands and a win against Everton will secure our Premier League future. It will be difficult but we have an opportunity to achieve it, let’s hope we can.”