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Wednesday Throwback: SAFC 3 - 2 Chelsea - Khazri Screamers & Survival Dreamers!

The best and worst thing about football is the emotional impact it can have on our everyday lives.

Sunderland v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty images

Win a big game and for at least a few glorious hours all of your problems suddenly don’t seem as bad - lose, and it hurts for a while.

But, what is arguably worse is the fear of the unknown. Derby matches aside, I’m not often one to allow football to affect my mood between matches, but prior to the Chelsea game last season I felt sick with nerves in the run up to the game.

My mood was not improved as I listened to the ‘Into the Light’ preview show. The panel all agreed that when they recorded the show the following Thursday, Sunderland could have their destiny entirely in their own hands, or be as good as relegated.

The prospect of this made me feel sick - to be honest, such a scenario was not out of the question. Although Chelsea had been a shadow of their former selves throughout the season, they still had players that could hurt us all over the pitch. Newcastle, meanwhile travelled to Villa Park in buoyant mood on the back of a 1-0 over Crystal Palace. A defeat for the lads combined with a win for the mags would place enormous pressure on the game against Everton, which logically we would have a good chance of winning, but the longer it went 0-0 - it's safe to say that my head was battered.

Getting relegated was one thing, but getting relegated as Newcastle stayed up wouldn’t bare thinking about. So, with all this in mind, Big Sam’s red and white wizards went into the Chelsea game not knowing just how things would pan out.

Sunderland v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

From the first whistle Sunderland pressed Chelsea and almost took the lead after just a minute - Gary Cahill fouled Jermain Defoe as he bared down on the visitors penalty area. Despite the promising start, we found ourselves a goal down after 14 minutes when Diego Costa took advantage of a deflection to give his side the lead.

But the lads responded excellently and were almost level when De Andre Yedlin’s header was saved by Courtious in the Chelsea goal. Our pressure paid off five minutes before half time with a stunner from outside the penalty area from Wabbi Khazri. Patrick van Aanholt played a free-kick into the penalty area which Cahill only half cleared Khazri connected with a stunning volley which gave the Chelsea keeper no chance.

Sunderland v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

Sunderland smelled blood and, roared on by a sell-out crowd, attacked Chelsea as half time approached. But this proved to be our downfall as in first half stoppage time our defence was left exposed and Matic took full advantage to fire the away side in front.

During the interval, the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach peaked. Surely Newcastle would eventually break down Villa’s powder puff defence? I had a horrible feeling that our chance had gone.

I didn't utter another word until the second half kicked off.

As the game wore on, we continued to attack Chelsea, but this left us slightly exposed at the back. Vito Mannone produced two impressive saves to keep the lads in the game, both from Diego Costa.

However, Sunderland levelled midway through the half when van Aanholt received the ball in acres of space down the left and he picked out Borini on the edge of the box area who’s shot took a slight deflection on its way into the bottom corner of the net.

Sunderland v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

The Stadium of Light was now rocking and just three minutes later, the ball was again sucked into Thibaut Courtois' goal. Yedlin sped down the right, who’s cross deflected into the path of Jermain Defoe, he made no mistake from 12 yards out.

As Defoe’s shot hit the net there were scenes of utter delirium all around the ground.

There were still twenty minutes or so to go - it felt much longer. For once though, we never really looked like conceding and Mannone produced a valuable save from Willian’s free kick to keep the lads in front.

As the clock ticked down John Terry was sent off for a cynical foul on goal scorer Khazri which made the afternoon that bit sweeter. Just minutes later the full-time whistle was blown and once again all around the ground there was an outpouring of sheer joy. This only intensified as news of Newcastle’s failure to beat Aston Villa filtered through to the Stadium of Light.

As I mentioned at the start, football can be both a blessing and a curse - in the immediate aftermath of the victory I had one of the best nights out in the town I’d had in a long time.

The next morning, as I lay with my head in a sick bucket nursing my monster hangover, all I could think was “bloody Sunlun, man.”

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