Chelsea complete a comeback win without Torres

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English champions Chelsea reacted to Fernando Torres’s record-breaking arrival with a 4-2 win away to Sunderland on Tuesday.

Spain striker Torres joined the faltering title-holders in a British record 50 million pounds move from Liverpool on Monday’s transfer deadline day.

And if Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti was looking for a response from Nicolas Anelka, he got it with the French forward one of four scorers in a match which also featured a resurgent display from Didier Drogba.

Frank Lampard, Salomon Kalou, John Terry and Anelka were all on target against a Sunderland side who went in 2-2 at half-time thanks to goals from Phil Bardsley and Kieran Richardson.

Ancelotti’s side remain ten points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester United, but while the outcome of the title race might not be affected by this week’s developments, the balance of power within English football has nevertheless edged back towards west London.

Torres, unavailable for Tuesday’s game, is expected to make his Stamford Bridge debut on Sunday against Liverpool.

In Torres’ absence at the Stadium of Light, Drogba, Anelka and Kalou were given the opportunity to produce a final audition for the role of best supporting striker and they all caused problems.

Sunderland’s transfer window was dominated by the departure of England striker Darren Bent to Aston Villa for 24 million pounds, but Steve Bruce made two signings of his own and one of them, Benin international Stephane Sessegnon, made his Black Cats bow just four days after completing a 6 million pounds move from Paris St Germain.

But it was defender Bardsley who opened the scoring having before this season gone more than a hundred Premier League matches without a goal.

Chelsea’s defenders backed off as he picked the ball up close to the left touchline and the full-back simply turned inside John Obi Mikel before hammering an unstoppable low drive into the bottom right-hand corner.

Sunderland’s lead did not last long though, and by the 23rd minute, a shell-shocked Black Cats were behind thanks to two goals that owed much to some wretched defending.

First, Ahmed Elmohamady climbed all over Ashley Cole, enabling Lampard to drill home his fifth goal of the season from the penalty spot.

Then, after Anelka sent Kalou scampering through the middle, Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon raced aimlessly off his line, enabling the Ivory Coast international to slot the ball into an unguarded net.

The game was slipping away from Sunderland at that stage, but with the defensive jitters catching, a slipshod Chelsea backline duly invited their opponents back onto level terms.

Richardson’s 20-yard free-kick lacked venom, but with the entire Chelsea wall jumping off the floor, the midfielder was nevertheless able to roll a low strike into the net.

Having bagged a double at Blackpool in Sunderland’s previous league game, Richardson has now scored more goals in a fortnight than he managed in the whole of last season.

He almost grabbed another on the stroke of half-time, but Cech beat away his rising effort. At the other end, Branislav Ivanovic hammered a close-range effort against the crossbar.

Lampard and Kalou both went close in the opening five minutes of the second half, and with their pressure eventually telling, Chelsea scored again on the hour mark.

Gordon saved Lampard’s 14-yard effort low to his left, but Terry reacted quickest to drill a bouncing half-volley into the net.

Anelka then added a fourth in stoppage time, tapping home Florent Malouda’s cut back from close range.

English Premier League results:

Arsenal 2 Everton 1
Manchester Utd 3 Aston Villa 1
Sunderland 2 Chelsea 4
West Brom 2 Wigan 2

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