Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge feared Wes Brown would rob him of his wonder goal at Sunderland.

The 22-year-old backheeled Chelsea into a 2-0 lead but, having opted for the outrageous, he was forced to look on as the ball dribbled agonisingly towards the bottom corner with defender Brown in hot pursuit. However, the former Manchester United man failed to get there in time, much to the striker's relief.

Sturridge told BBC Sport: "I was hoping he wouldn't get it and I was thinking, 'Oh God, he's got it'. It was a huge moment for it to actually hit the back of the net because I thought he was going to clear it, so I am very happy."

Sturridge's chance to enhance his blossoming reputation came from a superb Raul Meireles through-ball as Chelsea turned in a powerful display to ease their way to a 2-1 victory which was far more comfortable than the scoreline suggested.

He said: "It was a great ball from Raul Meireles, great vision from him. I got across the centre-half and saw the keeper coming out, so I went for a little cheeky one and it paid off."

Sturridge's contribution effectively wrapped up the points after skipper John Terry had fired the visitors in front with 18 minutes gone.

Chelsea boss Andre Villa-Boas was a happy man after seeing his side reproduce their training ground work on the pitch for the first time this season, significantly without £50million man Torres until the final 16 minutes.

However, he insisted the Spaniard's absence from the starting line-up was indicative of nothing other than Nicolas Anelka's form and freshness.

He said: "I have four wonderful strikers and all of them compete highly for the forward positions.

"All of them offer different kinds of things because they have different talents, and today the choice fell to Anelka."

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Topics:
Sunderland
Football
Nicolas Anelka
John Terry
Wes Brown
Chelsea
Premier League
Manchester United
Daniel Sturridge
Raul Meireles