With the new braintrust of returning friends of the club Guus Hiddink and Didier Drogba in the stands next to owner Roman Abramovich, Chelsea fans expressed their undying loyalty to ousted manager Jose Mourinho, as well as their frustration with the players who “betrayed” him in the first match after his sacking.
The likes of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas were booed before the match and a chant of “Stand up for the Special One” rang out just before something curious happened. Branislav Ivanovic scored his first goal of the season to put Chelsea up 1–0 against Sunderland just five minutes in, filling the supporters with a strange mix of fury and joy.
Then, in the 13th minute, Pedro scored his first goal since August to give Chelsea a 2–0 lead and Stamford Bridge responded with a chant of “Where were you when we were shit?”
Meanwhile, Mourinho was in attendance at the Championship match between Brighton & Hove and Middlesbrough, who are managed by his former assistant at Real Madrid, Aitor Karanka.
Early in the second half, Oscar scored from the penalty spot, prompting more chants for Mourinho. This, by the way, is the first time they’ve scored two or more goals in a Premier League match in more than two months.
Former Chelsea player Fabio Borini got one back for Sunderland, but the Blues held on despite a few scares and won 3–1. The result of Mourinho’s departure or facing a crap Sunderland? You decide.