Fernando Torres is back. The Spanish striker grabbed two goals and an assist to help Chelsea to a comfortable 3-1 victory over Sunderland in the Stadium of Light to plunge Martin O’Neill’s men into the bottom three.
Torres looked somewhere back to his best in the Champions League on Wednesday night and he continued his recent run of good form with another two goals today as Rafa Benitez picked up his first Premier League win as Chelsea manager.
The defeat now means that Sunderland have failed to win a Premier League game against a team with 11 in 25 league games and as Martin O’Neill celebrates a year in charge at the club the pressure continues to mount of the Northern Irish man.
Chelsea began the game the brighter and could have been two up before Torres got the opener. The striker picked the ball up on the halfway line and spread the ball to Victor Moses who found Eden Hazard and the Belgian played a perfect ball into the path of Torres who controlled and volleyed into the top corner to give the Blues the lead.
Chelsea took the foot off the gas after going ahead and this allowed Sunderland to come into the game as an attacking force. And they created their first real chance of the day after 27 minutes when Stephane Sessegnon hit a shot from the edge of the box that was tipped round the post by Petr Cech. Chelsea struggled to clear the resulting corner before Conor Wickham shot over the bar.
This was as good as it got for the home side as Chelsea doubled their advantage on the stroke of half time. Ramires burst into the Sunderland box before being taken down by Sebastian Larsson and although David Luiz stepped forward to take the penalty, Torres took the ball off the defender and coolly slotted home for his and his sides second of the day.
And the result was put beyond doubt four minutes into the second half and again Torres was involved. This time he smashed an effort off the underside of the bar before the ball fell to Juan Mata and he tapped home to make it 3-0.
Sunderland, to their credit, refused to fold after going three behind and they began to take control of the game as they looked for a life line. And they gave themselves a glimmer of hope with 24 minutes left when Adam Johnson cut in from the left side and hit a screamer into the top corner.
But this was all too little too late for the Black Cats and they are now in a real relegation dog fight as O’neill struggles to stamp his usual authority on the team.
Chelsea on the other hand could be back in the title hunt after today and if Rafa can keep Fernando scoring, there’s no telling how far the unwanted Benitez could bring this side.