Last Updated at 4:54 pm, January 14th 2012
And that's it! Frank Lampard's first-half goal proves to be decisive as Chelsea hang on for the 1-0 victory. Thanks for joining me this afternoon, I'm Ryan Gordon and here's wishing you a pleasant remainder of your weekend. Cheers people.
Meireles goes for the sublime with a delicious chipped effort from some 25-yards out, but Mignolet just manages to back-track before tipping the ball over the post.
Juan Mata has been lively for the Blues today, but he's played his last part here as he is replaced by Salomon Kalou.
The visitors made a change just before that moment, with Connor Wickham coming on for Kieran Richardson.
Michael Essien is about to run out for Chelsea for the first time since May as he comes on for Frank Lampard. Rapturous applause from the home fans as the midfielder takes to the pitch.
Another change for Sunderland now as David Vaughan comes off for Craig Gardner.
Mr Howman has more to say. He writes: Hello Ryan. Chelsea cannot rest on a 1 goal lead. We need to score 2 more. Torres is working his socks off. With the best of luck hopefully he can put one away. AVB needs to put on another attacker.
That decision seems to have raised the pressure inside Stamford Bridge, and Lee Cattermole goes into the referee's book for a dangerous tackle from behind on Frank Lampard.
Tom Murphy, a Chelsea fan from Basingstoke, writes in: I think that Chelsea still need to up their game. Where's the Chelsea who scored 100 plus goals a few seasons ago. I feel that there will be a big signing other than Gary Cahill later this month despite what the media are suggesting. We need a player with a spark, who can change games. Hope to see a goal or two in the second half. Sunderland are a dangerous team. We cannot sit on a 1-0 lead.
Chelsea press for a second here at the end of the half, but they can't find a way though the Black Cats defence, who then set the visitors away on their own attack. There's plenty of passes being made in the movement, but the referee's whistle brings an end to the opening 45 minutes. Join me after the break for the second-half at Stamford Bridge.
The defender will play no more part here this afternoon and is replaced by Michael Turner.
GOAL! It's taken just 13 minutes and Chelsea are in front, and in some comical manner too. Mata flights a delightful ball to the far-post where Fernando Torres produces a sublime overhead-kick, and although his effort crashes off the bar, it rebounds into Frank Lampard who doesn't know much about it but still manages to direct the ball homewards.
First booking of the match and it goes the way of David Luiz who is late with his challenge on Nicklas Bendtner. Free kick in a dangerous area here for the visitors...
Stuart Howman writes in: Hello, I think it's a great selection AVB has selected. He has put Torres out on the left which is interesting. With his confidence low at the moment, I think putting him on the left could leave us with something special. I think it will be 2 - 0 today with Torres and mata both on the scoresheet.
Martin would like to butt in quickly: Hi Ryan, i think today will be a win for Chelsea i am optimistic this time around and i think with Ramires playing more as a winger will bring plenty of problems for Sunderland today. We all wish the best for Torres too he some luck and it seems most of his shots on goal have been saved by some outstanding saves. Today might be his lucky day. I am going for 3-0 home win. Martin Butt.
The Sunderland fans are starting to sing: A probable chelsea win today but if we can keep it tight we might be able to sneak it on the break with the quality of sessegnon and larrsson!!! COME ON SUNDERLAND. regards rob o.
A Sky Bet tip sheet has just come across my desk, and Sunderland have been put at 7/1 to shock the Premier League title hopefuls today. There's no time like the present, people!
Barry says: Hi Ryan. I really hope Torres gets a run in the team now that Drogs is away. I believe he needs it and will come good for us. Him to score today and CFC to win, but only just. Barry CFC fan.
Rayhan from Birmingham is the first to make his voice heard, and he's thoroughly pleased with the Chelsea line-up. He writes: Superb team selection by Andre Villas-Boas. Ramires has been quite the sensation this season, an entirely fresh revelation on that right side of front three playing as a winger. Torres will enjoy his company since Ramires is much more selfless compared to Mr Daniel Selfish Sturridge.
With Didier Drogba away with the Ivory Coast preparing for the Africa Cup of Nations, goal scoring responsibilities at Chelsea will be weighing heavily on Fernando Torres' shoulders, and our friends at Sky Bet have put the Spaniard at 4/1 to open the scoring, while the Blues are 2/5 to claim the victory.
I'll be bringing you all the team news shortly, but why not first get involved by sending your thoughts, predictions or footballing whatevers to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll share your winged words with the whole world.
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