Connor Wickham

A very special week for Sunderland, making a huge impact on the title race in the Premier League, while making things simpler for them in their attempt to avoid relegation. They beat Chelsea 2-1 thanks to an awful penalty decision given to them by Mike Dean, making it the first time Jose Mourinho has lost as Chelsea manager at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea actually had a promising start to the match with a goal off a corner from Samuel Eto’o, but that was when his team peaked. They never brought consistent football and chances to the table, while Sunderland defended rather well, getting another fine performance from Vito Mannone between the goal posts, while you could have felt the shakiness in the Sunderland defense because of Mark Schwarzer playing instead of Petr Cech.

Sunderland equalized through Connor Wickham, having the best week of his short Premier League career. Chelsea might have a very good defense, but it’s very hard to keep Wickham at bay when he’s coming off his marker in a set piece situation, and the Chelsea defense, slightly overrated at times, couldn’t handle the young England striker. Sunderland had their chances later on in the match, even after Wickham came off and Jozy Altidore came on for him.

Altidore was the one who won the penalty kick for Sunderland late in the match. He took advantage of an awful mistake by Cesar Azpilicueta. Racing towards goal, from most angles it seemed as if Altidore went down before Azpilicueta slightly slid into him. Mike Dean and the linesman thought differently, and gave Sunderland a penalty kick, marking an awful match for them, missing out on a red card they should have given Ramires for his violent behavior, although Mourinho will obviously forget about that when he complains after the match.

Chelsea are now two points behind Liverpool but with a game in hand, making things more complicated for them in the race for the title, now needing not just to win at Anfield, but for Liverpool to have another slip up. Sunderland are still bottom of the Premier League, but in a much better position for the final four matches they have left to play.

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