The opening stages were fairly subdued with Chelsea enjoying most of the possession in midfield, with Sunderland content for Chelsea to play in front of them.
It was Sunderland however who got in behind the defence first on 5 mins after Larsson played the ball over the top for Wickham but his shot was blocked by the covering Chelsea defender.
And it was Wickham again with the next chance on 8 mins. Good pressing from the Sunderland midfield won the ball back in the Chelsea half but Wickham’s shot sailed over the bar.
Chelsea’s first chance arrived on 13 mins after a period of sustained possession. The Sunderland defence were sitting back not allowing any balls in behind which forced Oscar into a long range shot straight at Pantilimon.
Sunderland were settling into the game well, but they were nearly undone on 16 mins after a poor set piece by Larsson allowed Chelsea to counter attack but Willian’s shot crashed against the post.
As the half wore on Sunderland were gaining in confidence and this saw the game being opened for a period with both teams exchanging long range efforts.
On 29 mins Connor Wickham found space down the left and his run resulted in a cross which was spilled by Courtois but Johnson’s attempt at a rebound were denied by a handball.
But as Wickham was finding more space in attack he was also leaving space in behind and this was exploited by Ivanovic on 31 mins. Wickham failed to track Ivanovic’s run which allowed the Serbian to run in on goal but he was denied by a superb save by Pantilimon.
Sunderland’s best chance of the half fell to an unlikely source on 34 mins. A free kick wasn’t cleared properly by Chelsea and this allowed Cattermole to whip the ball back into the box which was met first time by Vergini whose shot clipped the bar.
The half came to an end with Sunderland growing in confidence in both attack and defence and showing good signs of ball retention.
Chelsea started the second half brightly by forcing a couple of early corners. And it was from the second corner that Chelsea had their first chance of the second half through Gary Cahill but his header was straight at Pantilimon.
Chances were at a premium in the second half as the game turned into a midfield battle which nullified the threat of Chelsea’s attacking players.
There was a twenty minute wait until the next chance of the game which fell to Matic but his shot from distance was saved by Pantilimon. This seemed to spark life back into Sunderland and they replied almost immediately through Wickham but he saw his deflected shot saved well by Courtois.
Chelsea were struggling to break down a resolute Sunderland defence and this saw them shooting from distance on occasions which never really troubled Pantilimon in the Sunderland goal.
Sunderland nearly broke the deadlock on 84 mins through Adam Johnson. A quick counter attack saw Altidore’s shot being blocked and Johnson’s rebound went agonizingly wide with Courtois stranded.
And it was Sunderland who continued to apply late pressure with Johnson again shooting inches wide on 86 mins after finding himself in acres of space near the Chelsea box.
Sunderland (4-3-3): Pantilimon, Vergini, Reveillere, Brown, O'Shea (c), Cattermole, Larsson, Rodwell (Gomez 62’), Johnson, Wickham, Fletcher (Altidore 62’).
Subs: Mannone, Coates, Bridcutt, Gomez, Alvarez, Buckley, Altidore
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Courtois, Ivanovic, Azpilicueta, Cahill, Terry (c), Matic, Fabregas, Oscar (Drogba 75’), Willian (Schurrle 85’), Hazard, Costa (Remy 75’).
Subs: Cech, Luis, Zouma, Mikel, Drogba, Schurrle, Remy