Chelsea’s chances of winning the Premier League this year are all but over after they suffered a shock home defeat to bottom of the table Sunderland.
Despite taking the lead through Samuel Eto’o, Chelsea conceded a soft goal from Connor Wickham to level the scores. Referee Mike Dean didn’t make things any easier for the Blues when he gave a very dubious penalty, which was dispatched by Fabio Borini to score the winning goal.
Chelsea started the game without their first choice goalkeeper Petr Cech, who was ill. In stepped Australian veteran Mark Schwarzer, making his league debut for the club. Eden Hazard was still missing through injury, while Samuel Eto’o replaced in-form Demba Ba in the starting line up.
And it was Eto’o who struck first in the game, volleying in from a corner. After taking that lead Chelsea looked in control of the game. The three points that would put them top of the league seemed within their grasp.
But, with some lax defending from the home side, Sunderland got themselves back in the game. The ball came out to Sunderland left back Marcus Alonso from a corner, whose long range shot was spilled by Schwarzer, with Wickham on hand to tap the ball home.
Chelsea looked to have given themsevles the lead again, when John Terry volleyed home from Nemanja Matic’s knock down. The goal was disallowed for a foul by the Serbian, but it looked like Jack Colback went down very easily. Despite piling on the pressure late in the first half, Chelsea went in at the break on level terms.
In the second half Mourinho made several changes to spark a response from his side. He brought on Demab Ba, Fernando Torres and Andre Schurrle in an attempt to find a winner, but none was forthcoming. As Chelsea looked forward, they became open at the back. Cesar Azpilicueta stuttered on the ball, lost it to Jozy Altidore and then chased the American in to the box. He went down easily again, and Dean pointed to the spot.
Ex Chelsea man Fabio Borini fired home to put the away side ahead. Chelsea then had two penalty shouts turned down by Dean, with the man from the Wirral strengthening Liverpool’s hold at the top of the table.
Chelsea continued to press forward, but they couldn’t find a goal. After the game Mourinho, who had just suffered his first home league defeat in charge of Chelsea, refused to answer any questions from the press. Instead, he “congratulated” Dean and the referee’s union for their part in the title race.
“I will not wait for your questions. I can say everything I want to say,” Mourinho said. “First I congratulate my players. Secondly congratulations to Sunderland – it doesn’t matter how or why they won, but they won. Thirdly I want to congratulate Mike Dean. Fantastic performance. And finally congratulations to Mike Riley, the referees boss.”
LCN Man of the match: Mike Dean (according to Jose!)