It may have been a disappointing evening for the travelling Chelsea supporters at Sunderland, but they did witness one of their players break a Premier League record for this season.
According to HITC, Nemanja Matic won possession in the middle third of the pitch at there Stadium of Light 14 times, which is more than any other player in the league so far this season. The record sums up the work the Serbia international has been doing for Jose Mourinho since joining in January.
Since his £21million move from Benfica this year, the 26-year-old has been an integral member of the Chelsea’s starting XI. There are few players in England who can play the role of screening in front of the defence as well as him and he has become indispensable to Mourinho.
Unfortunately for the Blues, Matic’s skills going forward aren’t quite so effective and he could not inspire a win in the late kick-off on Saturday against Gus Poyet’s side in was was a subdued display.
The Black Cats became the first team in the Premier League this season to stop the Stamford Bridge club from scoring with a fine defensive display. However, they lacked quality going forward and could not breach the Blues’ defence, though a 0-0 is still a great result for them.
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Manchester City’s 3-0 defeat over Southampton on Sunday afternoon took above their hosts and cut the gap behind Chelsea at the top of the Premier League to six points. Despite this setback, Mourinho is not likely to be too concerned with a the draw.
What is concerning is that Diego Costa’s yellow card, received for catching Wes Brown with a flailing arm, sees him suspended for their next match on Wednesday against Tottenham Hotspur. Normally Chelsea would be expecting a straightforward win at Stamford Bridge, but Spurs will be buoyant after putting in a fine display to defeat Everton on Sunday night.
Club legend Didier Drogba return to the club this summer and Loic Remy was purchased from QPR to provide cover for Costa, but the Blues have not looked nearly as incisive when the Spain international is missing.
It could actually have been a three-game suspension for the 25-year-old at Sunderland, but he was fortunate in that the officials did not see the full extent of his lashing out at another Sunderland defender, John O'Shea.