Rafa Benitez finally appeared to get the selection right for a Premier League game, but the eleven Chelsea players on the pitch generally looked out of sync for the majority of the first half. There was plenty of passing in less than dangerous areas of the pitch, but the majority of the good chances were happening at the wrong end of the pitch. A Cesar Azpilicueta own goal would be the difference at halftime in a game that probably should have had a Chelsea penalty and could well have seen Craig Gardner sent off.
The second half got underway with the addition of Fernando Torres, who came on for Demba Ba. Seconds later, a Sunderland own goal had the game level. Minutes later, a David Luiz blast was deflected home by Branislav Ivanovc, and the good guys were on top. Both tems then went back to sleep for the remainder of the game, Chelsea went third, and Sunderland look likely to be in the relegation places in about an hour. Here are a few thoughts in the immediate aftermath of this one:
- This is two games in a row that I have to give Rafa some credit for naming a very sensible starting eleven. I know most of us probably don't believe that a David Luiz/Branislav Ivanovic center back pairing is our strongest, but it appears that the manager does. With that in mind, he picked the strongest eleven available to him for a Premier League contest. Whether or not he realizes how stupid his selection last Saturday was or not, at least he got it right this weekend.
- "Fernando Torres" has been playing much, much better since donning the mask. Whoever that actually is underneath the mask, I hope Chelsea keep being sneaky and keep him around for the rest of the season in Fernando's jersey.
- Remember all of those people that thought we should have signed Adam Johnson last summer? I'm really glad Michael Emenalo wasn't one of them.
- Ian Wright is just horrible at his job. I though maybe getting him away from Gus Johnson would make him semi-tolerable, but no. You know what would be really cool NBC? Give us the option of which commentary we want to turn on with our streaming broadcasts next season.
- Some of our guys really look like the congested fixture list is really getting to them. We have a pretty comfortable 3-1 lead over Kazan and will be heading to a neutral stadium for the second leg...I really hope Rafa takes the opportunity to sit some of the overworked players out.
- Spurs dropped two points, putting us level with them with both a game in hand and a comfortable goal differential lead. That leaves Chelsea some much needed margin for error, as there is virtually no chance at this point that Spurs end up with the tiebreaker.