Sunderland vs. Chelsea: Score, Analysis and Grades
Fernando Torres is officially back.
Torres has always been a player who struggles with confidence, but when his confidence level is high, he's one of the best strikers in the world.
Right now, his confidence level is back and we saw two clear examples against Sunderland.
Torres opened the goal scoring party with a nice toe poke in the 11th minute following a beautiful Eden Hazard cross.
Then, following a challenge in the box, Torres' confidence level was on full display. David Luiz was getting ready to go to the spot to take the penalty, but Torres beat him there.
If that particular moment doesn't say Torres is back, I don't know what will.
Chelsea received a goal from Juan Mata in the second half to secure a 3-1 victory over Sunderland.
Fernando Torres, Chelsea: A+
Remember when Fernando Torres' confidence level was as low as any time in his professional career? Fast forward several months and Torres is back on his prior-to-Chelsea form.
Torres has now scored four goals in the past two games, but his second goal Saturday was the goal that tells everyone he's back.
After an easy penalty decision, David Luiz was getting ready to go to the spot, but Torres beat him there.
The result: A wonderfully placed penalty kick by a confident striker.
Torres' confidence is back and Chelsea and its fans couldn't be happier.
Juan Mata, Chelsea: A
Juan Mata is the majority of the focus from opposing teams. He creates chances with his pace and link-up ability, but he is also a capable goal scorer.
His goal-scoring ability came to fruition on Saturday.
Mata had a few chances on Saturday, and he made one count early in the second half following a Torres strike that hit the cross bar.
Another quality performance from one of the best in the English Premier League.
Eden Hazard, Chelsea: A-
Eden Hazard was once again a menace on the wing. His pace and creativity outside to go along with Juan Mata on the other makes Chelsea one of the most dangerous teams in the world when it's on top form.
Hazard linked up with Torres on his opening goal, but the assist was just as important as the run he made to get the ball. Without the run, the final connection never happens.
Once again, the Belgian was top class.
Sebastian Larsson, Sunderland: F
There are fouls that make sense and then there are fouls that Sebastian Larsson committed on Saturday.
Ramires was running out of room and Torres was in the box against two defenders—the options for Chelsea to make something happen on that particular play were slim.
Yet Larsson was reckless with his sliding challenge and it cost him and his team desperately. Sunderland was still relatively in the game prior to his challenge, but boy was it demoralized after Torres finished the penalty kick.
Adam Johnson, Sunderland: B+
Somebody has to get a decent grade for Sunderland, right? Adam Johnson scored a dazzler of a goal in the 66th minute while looking like the best player on Sunderland's side.
Johnson also connected a pure strike from a free kick that nearly went in several minutes later.
Sunderland didn't have the best day, but Johnson's ball striking was good enough to earn him a quality grade.
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