Team Selection: Hard To Criticise
David Moyes' squad has been ravaged by injuries and he was down a further three players for last night's game, with Victor Anichebe, Javier Manquillo and Steven Pienaar all missing out. Added to that was the suspension of Didier Ndong, making Moyes' job a fairly thankless and difficult one.
In came Jan Kirchhoff and John O'Shea - who made up part of a back five - whilst Fabio Borini and Adnan Januzaj flanked either side of Jermain Defoe, who played a lone role up front.
When you looked at the Sunderland bench there isn't really much else that he could have done. I feel that Wahbi Khazri should have played from the beginning but the manager opted to go with Adnan Januzaj who, in fairness to him, had one of his better games since arriving in the summer.
Gav's rating: 8/10 - It's hard to criticise really, but I feel that Khazri should have started.
Tactics: Almost Worked
When you consider the squad of players that Moyes had to pick from, combined with the fact that Chelsea are probably the best team in the country right now, it was inevitable that David Moyes was going to try and defend and sneak a point.
And, unfortunately, it almost worked - right up until the moment when our defenders lost their concentration and Cesc Fabregas scored the only goal of the game.
Whilst I can see why Moyes wanted us to defend from the off, I struggle somewhat to come to terms with that mentality. We've now played all of the Premier League top five and in all of those games we've set out to defend deep, only to make crucial errors which have cost us goals.
What is the point in being so defensive when we are still losing these games anyways?
The one period where we did put Chelsea under pressure yesterday, in added time, we forced a good save out of Courtois. There are times where we need to take more risks, in my opinion.
Gav's rating: 5/10 - It worked for a while but then we ultimately failed to hold firm!
Sunderland's first change of the night came in the 57th minute when Sebastian Larsson replaced Jan Kirchhoff. The German midfielder was arguably our worst player and he looked a mile off the pace, to be expected though when you consider it was his first start in a Premier League game for quite some time.
The next substitution came two minutes later, and it was a forced one - Billy Jones left the field injured and was replaced by Donald Love, who didn't do particularly badly in truth.
The third change came far too late, though, as Wahbi Khazri was given eight minutes to show just why he should be starting games. No pressure, eh.
I was hoping that we'd see one of the three youngsters get on, but it wasn't to be. Josh Maja, George Honeyman and Joel Asoro are the in-form players in our U23s side at the moment and we could have done with the boost that bringing a young, energetic forward gives you when they are given a chance in front of a home crowd.
Gav's rating: 5/10 - What is Khazri supposed to offer us in eight minutes?
Post-Match Comments: Harsh But Fair?
David Moyes was disappointed that Sunderland weren't able to follow through on his game plan - another defensive lapse was the difference between drawing and losing.
Speaking post-match, he said:
I didn’t think we played well in the first half but in the main part I thought we were resilient.
I was really disappointed with the goal we conceded; if we’d had better possession that wouldn’t have happened, we missed two or three tackles.
Chelsea have really good quality and up until then we had restricted them to only one or two clear cut opportunities. We had done a good job in stopping them and as the game went on we grew into it. Their goalkeeper made two brilliant saves to stop us getting anything back.
I was happy enough with what we did in the second half, but definitely not the first. We need to be braver on the ball. We were always going to be up against it playing Chelsea, but we were resilient and the players stuck at their task.
I had a feeling and I hoped that something might have fallen for us in the last few minutes, but unfortunately it didn’t. We need to start taking points from these sorts of games, we can’t just keep losing. We need to get points on the board.
The last few lines there are telling - he's quite obviously irritated with his team's inability to frustrate good opposition.
Maybe he needs to come up with another way of playing against better sides - sitting and defending deep just isn't our forté.
Gav's Rating: 7/10 - His analysis is bang on, but it feels as though DM doesn't help himself at times.