Two goals from Loic Remy and a Diego Costa penalty cancelled out Fletcher’s opener as Chelsea were made to work for their win against the Black Cats.
Chelsea had the first opportunity of the game when Cuadrado got the better of Van Aanholt before sliding a low ball across goal which Drogba could only flick past the post.
Sunderland replied with a chance of their own from a Larsson free kick which Cech had to parry away. A few minutes later Sunderland opened up the Chelsea defence with a nice flowing move which saw Van Aanholt played through, but he pulled his shot wide of the far post.
Sunderland gradually found their feet as the half progressed and they started to enjoy moments of sustained possession. The Black Cats had another chance on 23 minutes with a Defoe snap shot being saved at the near post after a good passage of play from the Black Cats.
Sunderland were rewarded for their impressive play by getting the opening goal on 26 minutes. A Johnson corner found its way to the back post were Fletcher was on hand to nod into the net.
Sunderland’s lead didn’t last too long as Chelsea got their equaliser on 36 minutes from the penalty spot. O’Shea made an unnecessary challenge on Caudrado just inside the box giving Lee Mason no other option but to give a penalty which Costa dispatched into the bottom corner.
Half time arrived with Sunderland matching Chelsea in every department and were good value for their goal.
Both teams had chances in the early stages of the second half as Johnson shot over from just outside the box and Remy had a deflected effort go narrowly wide.
Sunderland nearly re- took the lead on 58 minutes after a quickly taken free kick allowed Van Aanholt to get to the by line, his cross was parried into the path of Defoe whose shot was cleared off the line.
After seeing more possession in the final third Chelsea took the lead on 70 minutes through Loic Remy. A mazy run by Hazard set up Remy on the edge of the box and the Frenchman's low drive crept under the gloves of Vito Mannone.
Chelsea were dominant now and had numerous chances from Remy, hazard and a Willian header which Mannone somehow kept out at his near post.
Sunderland pressed for a late equaliser but were being limited to long range shots from Defoe and Wickham. And moments after Wickham had an opening Chelsea went down the other end and wrapped up the three points as Remy drifted past O’Shea to slide the ball past Mannone.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech, Ivanovich, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta, Mikel (Christensen 78’), Matic, Cuadrado (Remy 44’), Willian, Hazard, Drogba (Costa 28’).
Subs: Courtois, Luis, Christensen, Boga, Remy, Costa, Solanke.
Goals: Costa (36’) Remy (70’, 88’)
Sunderland (4-3-3): Mannone, Jones, Coates, O'Shea (c), Van Aanholt, Larsson, Rodwell, Johnson (Giaccherini 75’), Wickham, Fletcher, Defoe.
Subs: Pickford, Vergini, Reveillere, Cattermole, Giaccherini, Buckley, Graham.
Goals: Fletcher (26’)