Chelsea defeated Sunderland, getting a win that will likely calm down the unnecessary crisis talk but will do nothing to soothe the supporters still angry about the appointment of Rafa Benitez. Two goals from Fernando Torres and a third from Juan Mata did the damage.
Chelsea were on fire early generating several great chances in the first six minutes of the match.
The Blues were denied a penalty shout in the 2nd minute after Eden Hazard was played through by Juan Mata. As Hazard made his run, it appeared that Sebastian Larsson had a hold of the Belgian's jersey. To make matters worse, he was brought down by Simon Mignolet right in front of goal but referee Mark Halsey wasn't interested in either potential foul, waving away the penalty shouts.
Easily the best and most comical early chance of course involved Fernando Torres. Eden Hazard's cross was allowed to end up on the foot of Torres right in front of Mignolet after a defensive mix-up between Carlos Cuéllar and John O'Shea. Luckily for Sunderland, Torres couldn't get a good shot off and ending up half-kicking, half-whiffing the ball right in to Mignolet who closed quickly.
Torres made up for the miss in the 11th minute helping to start a break at the midfield line. He then worked himself in to position and finished Hazard's cross with a lovely toe poke to give Chelsea the deserved early lead. It's Torres's first goal in nine Premier League matches, but his third goal the the last four days. Maybe Rafa is starting to turn the striker around?
Sunderland woke up a bit as the first half wore on, finally putting some pressure on Chelsea. Just like West Ham last weekend, the Black Cats were able to take advantage of Chelsea's shaky midfield and challenge them physically to break up their play.
Stephane Sessegnon created a great chance in the 28th minute, taking control at the top of the Arsenal box before quickly cutting right around Gary Cahill and launching a rocket that was parried away by Petr Cech.
All the good work by Sunderland to slow down Chelsea was tossed out the window two minutes in to first half stoppage time. Larsson made a needless late slide tackle on Ramires, right in the corner of the box as the ball was headed out for a goal kick. Halsey immediately pointed to the spot and Torres stepped up at buried the penalty to put Chelsea up 2-0 at halftime.
Chelsea wasted little time extending their lead less than four minutes from the opening whistle of the second half. Phil Bardsley completely misplayed a clearance, sending the ball right to Torres. The Spaniards shot hammered off the post but Juan Mata was right there to put the rebound in the back of the net.
Sunderland pulled a goal back in the 66th minute. David Luiz failed to clear his lines and Sunderland quickly moved the ball out left to Adam Johnston who beat Cech with a perfectly placed curler in to the far upper corner of the goal.
Johnson came close to a second goal in the 75th minute after Branislav Ivanovic gave up a set piece to the Black Cats in a dangerous spot. Johnson's free kick looked destined for the back of the net but it was pushed away by a diving Cech to keep the Blues two goals ahead.
Chelsea held on in the final15 minutes, earning the full three points. They'll now jump on a plane for Japan to play in the Club World Cup.