What We Learned: Sunderland

Chelsea climbed back into the top three of the Premier League with a 2-1 victory over Sunderland as Paolo Di Canio’s first game in charge ended in a narrow and unfortunate defeat.

Scorers : sunderland2

Stats :  sunderland1

What We Learned :

1. Fernando Torres LOOKS to be back

2. John Obi Mikel is Chelsea’s best holding midfielder

3. Poor performances from Mata, Hazard and Ba

4. Mikel-Ramires play well in the double pivot

5. Ryan Bertrand and David Luiz starting to prove a point

1. Fernando Torres LOOKS to be back:

I don’t want to get carried away and be completely optimistic here, hence why I put the emphasis on “looks”. Fernando Torres had another fantastic performance following his brace against Rubin Kazan. He didn’t score, but after he was introduced, there was an immediate impact. The much-maligned Spaniard made an instant impact as a half-time substitute. He flew past two Sunderland defenders before picking out Oscar, who then forced the own goal. Easily one of his better performances this season. These 2 performances have certainly given Torres some much needed confidence, he seems to be owning up to his lack of success at Chelsea. And after his interview following the 13/14 kit promo, Torres seems hungry to prove his doubters wrong.

2. John Obi Mikel is Chelsea’s best holding midfielder:

Superb performance from the Nigeria international, he fared well in the physical battle in midfield against N’Diaye and rarely made a bad pass. John Obi Mikel is the best defensive midfielder that Chelsea has, the statistics prove that. He is calm on the ball, a competent tackler and rarely makes mistakes. Against Bayern Munich and Barcelona he had to be excellent as Chelsea were constantly under attack, especially at the Nou Camp. Mikel is the one of the best in the Premier League, he’s calm and composed on the ball, very accurate passing wise and can certainly make the right challenges. Mikel was huge in our CL success, shame that he no longer has Meireles beside him.

3. Poor performances from Mata, Hazard and Ba:

Hazard – Didn’t influence the game in the first half in the manner he usually does. He had one chance before the break and he could have perhaps done more with a close range header. His second half performance was slightly better but it also tailed off late on.

Mata – The first half passed by with the Chelsea fans waiting for their star man to exert his influence. He wasn’t his usual self in the first period and despite an improved display after the break, it seems like sheer number of games might be catching up to him.

Demba Ba – Won his fair share of aerial duels in the first half without ever getting a clear goalscoring opportunity. Was replaced at the break after failing to recover from a crunching tackle from Gardner.

Hazard, Mata and Ba weren’t up to their usual selves and there’s nothing wrong with a little slip up in form, but it could be coming at the worst time for Chelsea.

4. Mikel-Ramires play well in the double pivot: 

The Mikel-Ramires combination more than seems to works for us whenever Rafa decides to play them. They provide a good balance of attack and defense not making us that vulnerable at the back or making us too slow going forward. These 2 worked our comeback at Old Trafford and they certainly did an amazing job in the middle of the pitch for us today. Mikel did little wrong, made some important challenges and kept Chelsea ticking over nicely in the middle of the pitch against United and today. Ramires did more defensive work than he is generally associated with, leaving the attacking to his team-mates. Had a pretty anonymous first half but made some key challenges after the break.

5. Ryan Bertrand and David Luiz starting to prove a point:

From the last What We Learned : 

Bertrand – Let’s face it, none of us ever believed that Bertrand could be a possible replacement for Ashley Cole. He still isn’t but has two weeks to prove himself. He gave in a good performance against United after coming on for the English veteran and then gave in a terrific performance against Kazan. He got forward at will and showed a nice set of skills in doing so. His recovery was also good and with the wingers also helping out in defense, he had a stellar game. Ryan won’t get a lot of chances, and its moments like these where he has to make the most of what he has.

Luiz – That pass from Luiz was world-class. Not what you would expect from a supposed center-back. It was inch perfect and found Torres right where he wanted. Even though he had to squirm the ball past the goalkeeper and into the net, without that defense splitting lob, nothing would have been possible. His concentration was immense, and was commanding in the air. Alongside JT, he denied Kazan any kind of space and got forward as many times as he could. The possibility of him being a CDM next season is very much open. With the set of skills he has now, he could flourish in that role.

This time :

Luiz – The Brazilian’s passing from the back was impressive with the Blues’ attacks often starting from his distribution out of defence. Didn’t have too much on his plate defensively. His shot brought about the Blues’ second goal. An injury then threatened to cut his afternoon short but he managed to complete the 90 minutes.

Bertrand – Did himself no harm in deputising for the injured Ashley Cole. He was up and down the left flank from the first minute to the last. His tackling was also well-timed in dangerous positions.

Luiz and Bertrand have done well as of late and are proving a point that they deserve to be in Chelsea’s starting XI. I’d prefer Cahill to Luiz, but next season, I’d like to see Luiz-Cahill play together with Terry jumping in occasionally. Bertrand isn’t the greatest left-back in the world, but given Ashley’s Cole inconsistencies and struggles, Ryan Bertrand could see more starts next season and could even be the starter when Cole leaves (should his 1 year contract not be extended next season).

Other Points : 

1. Benitez shows that league is still a priority

2. Lack of Marko Marin (again) could make the departure rumours seem more likely

  1. Anonymous says

    u mentioned mata, hazard…. but oscar was the poorest today… looked completely out of sorts… may be he is tired after playing so many games…

  2. Anonymous says


  3. Anonymous says

    Thats a lie ‘Let’s face it, none of us ever believed that Bertrand could be a possible replacement for Ashley Cole.’ —-of course we believed he would be the successor of cole? and as for Mata and Hazard they have been carrying the team often too long. As For Ba he hardly gets good service since our midfielders feed off of him to try score themselves.

  4. Anonymous says

    IMO Mata/Hazard played better than Oscar today

  5. Ken says

    Oscar poor what?? You didn’t watch same game I watched bruv

    1. Zane says

      Oscar was off for 70-75 minutes of the game. He’s pass completion rate is probably below 50%.

  6. Caleb says

    Luiz is more solid than Cahill, though Luiz can still make stupid challenges at times. I don’t think he would flourish in the CDM role (though I would love to see him do so) because although his distribution is immaculate, and he is commanding in the air, he tends to make rash challenges and CDM’s need to make good challenges and good decisions on WHEN to challenge.

    Also, Bertrand is a converted winger. Give the lad a chance to play and he’ll get more used to the role. So far I think he has done an excellent job subbing for Cole.

    On another note, Mata is always the star as Torres, when he plays, is often ineffective, and Mata ends up doing the dirty work to get something going. He is tired, but we can’t give him too much rest with the league top-4 still up for grabs as well as our pending game(s) in the FA Cup, not to mention Europa. After all, it’d be nice to win something this year.

    1. Alex says

      Bertrand’s not a converted winger!!!! He has always been a left back, he has been forced to play on the wing just to give hime some game time, or to provide more defensive cover.

  7. nicodemus bura says

    Big up to FT9 For good perfomance.

  8. Trevor Mabeka says

    My question now is, will we see the back of Torres this summer with his improved performance?

  9. Bitto raphael says

    Hazard has shalved again.

  10. star evansoh says

    Torres is doing quite good, we hope he will continue that way because am not for the idea of him leaving the club this summer, would like him to remain and probably who knows what we can get from him tomorrow, he remain to be the same self i knew very well in liverpool……….

    Bertrand is doing a good job and congrats 4 that.

    for Oscar i think he was better than Mata Hazard today, only that they could not make him perform better for as we all know he cannot do it all alone in the attacking..

  11. Ronald Justino says

    Gotta say that Oscar played worst yesterday..impressed with Torres…I want this lineup against Kazan !!!


    Azpilicueta – Luiz – Terry – Betrand

    Lampard – Mikel

    Hazard – Mata – Moses

    Torres !!!

    Definitely we’ll win !!! KTBFFH !!!CTID !!!NOCSUN !!!…follow me on twitter @Ronald10_J on twitter and we could discuss few things about Chelsea !!! Mention for follback !!! Good day gentlemens..

  12. Ronald Justino says

    Gotta say that Oscar played worst yesterday..impressed with Torres…I want this lineup against Kazan !!!


    Azpilicueta – Luiz – Terry – Betrand

    Lampard – Mikel

    Hazard – Mata – Moses

    Torres !!!

    Definitely we’ll win !!! KTBFFH !!!CTID !!!NOCSUN !!!…follow me on twitter @Ronald10_J on twitter and we could discuss few things about Chelsea !!! Mention for follback !!! Good Luck Chelsea 4 the next game !!!

  13. Anonymous says


  14. Anonymous says

    Players cant play the same everyday! some off days too! but most importantly we need to win things this season!

  15. Seth Havoc says

    our strikers r not clinical,jst bcos they don’t know anything abt “chip shot”. messi is clinical bcos of his ability to chip shot. shld ba has it he wld hve scored a hat-trick against west ham,and torres’ shot wld’nt be hitting keepers! get them to know!

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