Just how good are Chelsea at the moment? Even Jose Mourinho is happy. Rolling with breathtaking momentum on all fronts, the Premier League front-runners try to stay unbeaten today when they travel to the Stadium of Light to face Sunderland.
The Blues already are six points clear of top chasers Southampton entering this weekend’s matches, and there is good reason there is already talk the title is theirs to lose – reigning champions Manchester City are eight back, inconsistent Manchester United trail by 13 points and Arsenal have shown a maddening inconsistency languishing closer to mid-table than the top with a deficit of 15 points to overcome.
In Champions League play Tuesday, Mourinho’s side put together a near-flawless effort at Schalke that former manager Roberto Di Matteo could only watch in horror as Chelsea clinched a spot in the knockout round and first place in Group G with a 5-0 demolition of the German side on the road.
”I don’t remember Chelsea playing this way away from home. You may say Schalke had their problems, but I think tonight every team playing us would have had a very difficult time,” Mourinho said.
The Blues are unbeaten in 19 matches across all competitions after John Terry, Willian, Didier Drogba and Ramires all tallied goals around an own goal by Schalke’s Jan Kirchoff. Additionally, Mourinho was able to give Diego Costa a chance to be fresh for this game, subbing him out for Drogba on 66 minutes, but the manager noted it doesn’t matter much based on how his side are firing on all cylinders.
“When the team is playing the way we are playing, the players don’t get tired because we have so much control of the game,” he said after the win. The ball does the running. The way we are playing is a pleasure for the players – (Cesc) Fabregas was saying that after the game against West Brom.”
His midfield maestro assisted on Terry’s goal in the second minute, giving Fabregas a team-high 13 in all competitions. Chelsea have yet to be shut out this season and scored two or more goals in 10 of their 12 league matches.
While Sunderland are unbeaten in their last three with a victory and two draws, they endured their third scoreless draw of the season last Saturday in securing a point at Leicester City. The Black Cats had the better of possession at 58 percent but were left lamenting their inability to unlock the Foxes’ defence to claim all three points.
“I think on another day we could have won the game,” Adam Johnson told the team’s official website. “Maybe it was a fair result overall, but personally I think we were a bit disappointed because I think we were the better team.”
While Gus Poyet can fondly recall his 1997 FA Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup titles playing for Chelsea, the Uruguayan is giving his full attention on trying to become the first team to beat the Blues.
“I am trying to make sure that we are at our best and then if that isn’t enough you have to give credit at Chelsea, but we will at least concentrate on what we can do,” he said.
The road team won both matches last season, with Chelsea hanging on for a 4-3 victory in this corresponding fixture as Eden Hazard had two goals and an assist for the Blues while Sunderland’s Phil Bardsley scored a goal for each team. The Black Cats returned the favour with a 2-1 shock win at Stamford Bridge that not only damaged Chelsea’s title hopes but also is Mourinho’s only home loss in 82 Premier League matches (65-16-1).
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