A home banker. They thought so, we feared so. So what did our Lads do but tear up the script …
Let Salut! Sunderland proudly salute as fine an away performance as most of those associated with the club will have witnessed.
In short, Sunderland were magnificent. And let no one say we beat Chelsea 3-0, after 17 attempts on their goal, because the champions were below par, below strength or unlucky.
Gordon, Onuaha, Bardsley, Turner, Bramble, Richardson, Cattermole, Henderson, Zenden, Welbeck, Gyan. Manager: Steve Bruce. In that order or any other you choose. Sheer magic.
An inspired first-half performance, in which Zirkov’s excellent run but poor finish and a deflected Drogba free kick were the only threats to Gordon’s goal, brought utterly just rewards with a late goal – and some goal it was – from Nedum Onuoha.
The on-loan fullback skipped past three Chelsea players to beat Cech in style. Sky TV commentary suggested he scuffed his shot slightly, but scuffed shots do not come much more refined than Onuoha’s cool finish.
What is more, the goal came after Gyan and Welbeck, constant threats to the suspect Chelsea defence, had missed great opportunities to open our scoring. Cech made one superb save from a powerful Welbeck header, and another one from a Richardson shot immediately before the goal. But the other near things were clear cases of chances missed.
I said at half time that whatever happens in the second half – which Chelsea incredibly started with 11 men, Ivanovic having survived as clear a red card, cynically holding back Welbeck who otherwise had a clear run on goal – this was a first-half display for any Sunderland fan to be proud of.
And amid more great football from Sunderland early in the second half Gyan doubled the lead, a brilliant build-up with Jordan Henderson making the final pass.
Then I said “Keep going Lads” – and they did. A gift from Ashley Cole enabled Welbeck to grab a totally deserved goal for himself.
Monsieur Salut heads off for a November break in St Petersburg a very happy man indeed.
Sunderland supporters live for days such as this.