Chelsea humiliated at home as makeshift side exposed by bold Bruce

Chelsea 0 Sunderland 3

If the dismissal of Ray Wilkins last week was intended to show that Chelsea are still a ruthless, single-minded machine whose simple focus is upon winning football matches then unfortunately someone seems to have forgotten to tell Carlo Ancelotti's players.

They were swept aside yesterday as brutally as they dismissed their affable assistant manager and former player last week. A case of bad karma? Rather, it was a case of terrible defending by a makeshift Chelsea back four and the champions lacking the kind of momentum to make any impression.

Even amid the results of another surprising weekend in an unpredictable Premier League season, there are certain things you think you can rely upon. Chief among them is Chelsea winning at home in the League. The scale of Sunderland's victory can be explained thus: this was Chelsea's heaviest Premier League home defeat since Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003.

For Ancelotti, this result can hardly be described as a crisis with his team still top of the Premier League but, after defeat at Liverpool last week, it did offer a dark warning of what this Chelsea team might look like if the wheels come off. Ashley Cole was all over the place – his wayward back pass gifted the third goal – and Ramires was so poor that his substitution drew the biggest cheer of the day.

Ancelotti needs the likes of Frank Lampard, Michael Essien and John Terry – a late withdrawal yesterday – back in the side as soon as possible. The smart money would say that when injuries heal and suspensions end, these two defeats will be regarded as blips on the season. Even so, there is no denying it has been a dreadful eight days for Chelsea.

The sacking of Wilkins is unquantifiable when it comes to results such as these but in the light of yesterday it does look as if it has rocked the boat unnecessarily. "Everyone is sad to see him go," wrote Terry in programme notes that were only just on-message. "Ray's been brilliant since he came in ... not only as a coach but as a man as well."

That said, there would not have been much even Wilkins could have done yesterday other than pat Ancelotti on the back and commiserate that sometimes you have days likes these. The last time Chelsea suffered a defeat as heavy as this in the League at home was to Manchester United in April 2002, some time before they were established as one of the European elite.

It could have been much worse for them if, as he should have been, Branislav Ivanovic had been sent off for tripping up the excellent Danny Welbeck as he bore down on the penalty area on 40 minutes. There was no final defender between the Sunderland striker and goal, and Ivanovic was fortunate to receive only a yellow card.

The central defensive partnership between Ivanovic and Paulo Ferreira was a disaster and why the Portuguese full-back was preferred to Jeffrey Bruma is a mystery. Ancelotti said he had "confidence" in Ferreira after watching him train – presumably that faith has since expired.

In all this, it should not be forgotten that Sunderland weighed in with a magnificent performance in a fixture in which they shipped seven goals last season. They pulled Chelsea apart with the kind of one-touch passing that Ancelotti's team have trade-marked. Above all, Welbeck lived up to the billing that Sir Alex Ferguson gave him when he tipped the 19-year-old to make the England squad for the last World Cup.

In the stands, Fabio Capello may have regretted leaving Welbeck in the Under-21s and he might also wonder, given the lack of available right-backs, why he left out Nedum Onuoha. On loan from Manchester City, Onuoha went around John Obi Mikel, Jose Bosingwa and Ivanovic before beating Petr Cech for the first goal.

Two weeks on from that crushing 5-1 defeat to Newcastle United, Steve Bruce's team find themselves in a very different mood and sixth in the Premier League. Their manager deserves much of the credit for an approach which he summarised thus "Sod it, let's have a go" – the philosophy behind playing two strikers in attack rather than the one opposition teams usually deploy at Stamford Bridge.

Bruce's reasoning was that so many teams come to Chelsea in fear of, as Bruce said, a "humiliation", that the home side have forgotten what it is like to play against two strikers. But for the plan to work you need two very good strikers and Welbeck and Asamoah Gyan filled those roles. The second goal was a beauty: from Bolo Zenden to Welbeck and Jordan Henderson, who played in Gyan on goal to score.

Cole had looked out-of-sorts all day and may be carrying an injury but he has not made a mistake like yesterday's since he gave the ball away for England against Kazakhstan two years ago. With three minutes remaining, he passed the ball back to Cech without looking and Welbeck moved in to score Sunderland's third.

Understandably, Didier Drogba did not look his best, although Ancelotti chose to replace Florent Malouda instead – a decision booed by the home fans. It all went wrong for the Chelsea manager and he will hope to forget yesterday in a hurry. Wilkins could tell him, however, that there are certain people at Chelsea who have much longer memories when it comes to remembering the bad days.

Match facts



Man of the match Welbeck Match rating 8/10

Possession Chelsea 47% Sunderland 53%

Shots on target Chelsea 7 Sunderland 9

Referee C Foy (Lancashire) Attendance 41,072

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
glastonbury
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Shock of the news: Jake Gyllenhaal in ‘Nightcrawler’
filmReview: Gyllenhaal, in one of his finest performances, is funny, engaging and sinister all at once
Life and Style
Taste the difference: Nell Frizzell tucks into a fry-up in Jesse's cafe in east London
food + drinkHow a bike accident left one woman living in a distorted world in which spices smell of old socks and muesli tastes like pork fat
Arts and Entertainment
Kit Harington has been given a huge pay rise to extend his contract as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Don’t send in the clowns: masks and make-up conceal true facial expressions, thwarting our instinct to read people’s minds through their faces, as seen in ‘It’
filmThis Halloween, we ask what makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?
News
peopleFarage challenges 'liberally biased' comedians to 'call him a narcissist'
Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music
Arts and Entertainment
Young Fathers are the surprise winners of this year's Mercury Music Prize
music
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes