Sunderland 1 Chelsea 3
Fernando Torres put struggling Sunderland to the sword with two goals as Rafael Benitez celebrated his first Premier League victory as Chelsea boss.
The striker followed up his double against Nordsjaelland in midweek with another brace, including one from the penalty spot – his first league goals in nine matches.
Juan Mata added the third just after half-time, cashing in after Torres had cracked a shot against the woodwork.
Adam Johnson lashed home to pull a goal back and Petr Cech made a fine save to deny Connor Wickham late on as Sunderland piled on the pressure.
The Blues began brightly with Black Cats keeper Simon Mignolet smothering a close-range effort from Torres.
But the Spaniard made the breakthrough on 11 minutes, stabbing home Eden Hazard’s cross.
The premature departure of the injured Oriol Romeu saw Chelsea lose a little of their early momentum and Sunderland enjoyed a purple patch midway through the first half, culminating in a Stephane Sessegnon shot which was beaten away by Cech.
But with just seconds of the half remaining, Chelsea doubled their lead when Seb Larsson slipped and upended Ramires in the box, and Torres converted the spot-kick.
Sunderland were booed off at half-time and their troubles deepened just after the interval when Torres rattled the bar and Mata pounced on the rebound.
Johnson gave them hope with a shot which flew across Cech but the keeper made amends with a couple of fine saves to prevent Sunderland cutting the deficit further.
Craig Gardner’s injury-time free-kick smashed against the bar but Chelsea were worthy winners and will head to the World Club Cup in confident mood.
Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Luiz, Cahill, Cole; Romeu (Oscar 20), Ramires; Mata, Hazard (Lampard 79), Moses (Bertrand 62); Torres. Subs not used: Azpilicueta, Ferreira, Marin, Turnbull.