Any thoughts or theories that Chelsea wouldn’t be able to win without Jose Mourinho at the helm were clearly wide of the mark as they beat Sunderland 3-1 this afternoon.
Facing a lowly Black Cats team, there was no way the Blues would lose at Stamford Bridge with or without the Special One, and that fact became abundantly clear immediately.
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Pedro – who has almost been a forgotten man since his August transfer from Barcelona- added a goal of his own just a few minutes later to double the Blues’ lead under caretaker Steve Holland.
After taking a 2-0 half-time lead, Oscar would put the game away for good with a penalty – his first Premier League goal since the opening day of the season – before Fabio Borini’s consolation.
Here, CaughtOffside rates how the Chelsea players performed in their first game post-Mourinho…
GK: Thibaut Courtois – 7/10
A breakdown in defence allowed Sunderland to score from a free kick, depriving Courtois of a clean sheet.
DF: Branislav Ivanovic – 8/10
Executed a perfect header off the cross from Willian to get his first goal since February, and put up a strong defensive effort too.
DF: Kurt Zouma – 6.5/10
Aside from some slight troubles in the first few minutes, Zouma played very efficient defence.
DF: John Terry – 7/10
Terry can complain about losing Mourinho all he wants, but he looked much better with him gone.
DF: Cesar Azpilicueta – 6/10
Azpilicueta displayed good tackling and altogether solid form for the Blues.
MF: Cesc Fabregas – 7/10
More fouls could spell trouble for Fabregas in his immediate future, but he controlled the ball very well.
MF: Nemanja Matic – 6/10
In a game mostly dominated by possession, Matic was among the Blues’ best passers of the ball.
MF: Willian – 9/10
Few players in the Premier League – or even all of Europe for that matter – have shown more talent with the dead ball than Willian. He executed the best possible cross a player can make and it helped get the first goal. Willian later drew the foul that led to Oscar’s successful penalty kick.
MF: Oscar – 8/10
Oscar proved that he can still score, albeit from a short distance. He was, however, Chelsea’s top passer too and displayed remarkable ball control skills.
MF: Pedro – 7.5/10
A rare goal from Pedro put the game out of reach before the 15-minute mark.
MF: Diego Costa – 5/10
Not much of an impact for Costa aside from some missed shots before being replaced by Remy.
John Obi Mikel – 5/10
Mikel replaced Fabregas and continued his ball-controlling ways, but gave up the ball on a bad pass late.
Loic Remy – 5/10
Replaced Diego Costa but mostly played keep away instead of attacking the goal.
Ramires – 5/10
On for Oscar, Ramires did not do much in the few minutes he had on the pitch.
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(Images) Chelsea fans display banners in support of Jose Mourinho vs Sunderland