Half-time: Sunderland 0 Chelsea 0

Chelsea failed to make the most of a bright start in an increasingly spiky contest of few clear cut chances.

A Blues side who were unchanged for the third consecutive match oozed confidence from the off, playing with all the freedom of a side who had won 5-0 in midweek.

Sunderland, having survived ten minutes of incessant Blues pressure, twice threatened on the break.

But the league leaders remained in control.

Willian’s low shot hit the outside of the post, and a fine last-ditch sliding challenge prevented Diego Costa racing through for a one-on-one chance.

Branislav Ivanovic also forced an excellent save from Costel Pantilimon after a glorious Willian pass.

However, the hosts began to show greater ambition and spark in the final third of the half and, after head coach Mauricio Tarrico was sent off, they hit the bar through Santiago Vergini.

And as tempers flared, Costa was lucky to only get a talking-to after seeming to kick out at John O’Shea following a touchline tussle.

Chelsea: Courtois; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Costa.
Subs: Cech, Zouma, Filipe Luis, Mikel, Drogba, Schurrle, Remy, Drogba.

Follow West London Sport on Twitter
Find us on Faceboo