This Premier League season took another wildly unpredictable turn as bottom-placed Sunderland claimed a 2-1 victory over title contenders Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.
Very few people would have predicted that Gus Poyet's side would be the ones responsible for Jose Mourinho's first ever Premier League home league defeat, ending the Portuguese manager's 77-game streak that dates back to August 2004.
Samuel Eto'o gave the Blues the lead after just twelve minutes with his ninth goal of the campaign, but Sunderland's Connor Wickham scored his third goal in two games just six minutes later to equalize. The visitors won the match through a controversial 82nd minute penalty, awarded when César Azpilicueta was deemed to have brought US international Jozy Altidore down.
The penalty was converted by Fabio Borini, who just happens to be on loan from Liverpool, a club who will benefit greatly from Chelsea's misfortune. With a win at Norwich on Sunday, the Reds could go five points clear at the top of the table.
Borini will likely never score a goal as important for his parent club.
Mourinho —who has been telling us for weeks that Chelsea are not in the title race — shirked all media responsibilities before the game and gave a short statement at full-time, in which he "congratulated" referee Mike Dean and Premier League Head of Referees Mike Riley:
Considering the fact that Dean gave Sunderland a debatable penalty and Riley has been on his list of mortal enemies since he apologized to former Chelsea man Steve Clarke for a penalty awarded at Stamford Bridge in November, it's safe to say his congratulations were dripping in sarcasm.
Not only is the 2-1 win a huge boost for Liverpool, but it gives Sunderland a glimmer of hope for staying up. The Mackems — who have been fairly dreadful for much of the season — have now picked up four points in two away games at Manchester City and Chelsea, and sit just two points away from survival with a game in hand over fellow relegation zone occupants Fulham and Cardiff. A Sunderland fan's banner at the Bridge read "MIRACLES HAPPEN, GUS" might be more prophetic than it's creators intended.
This season's run-in is shaping up to be one of the best (and least predictable) in years. Don't be surprised if Norwich pull off a shock 5-0 win over Liverpool on Sunday and West Brom win Infinity-0 during an alien invasion at Man City on Monday.
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