So, following the thriller at the Stadium of Light last night, we caught up with our Fan Focuser, who this week was Graham MacAree of the superb Chelsea blog 'We Ain't Got No History' for his take on the game, and a look at both our clubs fortunes moving forward...
Hi Graham, I’ve just about got my breath back now! Great game! How’d you see things?
Graham: The first half was really end to end stuff – neither team was defending at all and both sides were pretty dynamic in the attack. From the Chelsea perspective, Bardsley’s and Richardson’s goals were moronic to give up, but I’m sure you could say the same about both of Chelsea’s first half goals too. I honestly thought it could have gone either way at half time. Then, in the second half, we came out and I think played brilliantly. Got even more effective going forwards and tightened up the defence. Up until Anelka scored in the last minute, I still felt Sunderland could have gotten back into things though!
Despite giving a good account of ourselves, the best team won I think. I knew we wouldn’t be able to keep the pace that started the game, but it certainly was exciting. Do you think we caught you off guard, and were you worried after the early goal?
Graham: I think I mentioned in conversation with you that Chelsea will always have a problem with left backs when they play a very tight centre, and I guess that was vindicated there. I’m not really very sure what happened with that goal – I counted at least three individual errors from various Chelsea players, and I really wasn’t expecting it to actually go in. But when it did, I thought ‘well here we go again.’ Took a very strong response to dig ourselves out of that hole.
Nicolas Anelka certainly a strong contender for Man Of The Match and was an inspired deeper role. Is there a future for him in that role, behind Drogba & Torres?
Graham: It looks as though Anelka was fielded as a midfielder in preparation for Torres’ arrival, and he really was brilliant. However, now that teams have seen that I don’t think they’re likely to give him so much space in the middle of the park. Of course, that necessitates take a man off Lampard, Drogba, or Torres to cover Anelka, so no matter what things are going to get ugly for a defence. Worth pointing out that Cattermole would have done a better job containing him.
With Torres & Luiz to come in, are Chelsea ‘back’ in the title hunt? (For me they were never out of it).
Graham: Well, this is tough. Ten points back and only a handful of months to play? That doesn’t look great no matter who’s on your team. However, United aren’t really that impressive this season, and Chelsea still have to play them twice. There’s a mathematical chance, but Chelsea will have to prove themselves before I get excited about it.
Who impressed most of all from the Sunderland side for you?
Graham: Although Craig Gordon was at fault for Chelsea’s second goal, he was phenomenal in the second half, I thought. Lampard might have had a hattrick if not for him playing so well in goal. As for outfield players – that Sessegnon fellow was a handful and he’s going to be awfully annoying in years to come.
Where will both teams finish this season?
Graham: Chelsea 3rd, Sunderland 7th. Seems about right to me.
Thanks Graham, all the best for the rest of the season, and I hope we do this again next season!