After sacking Jose Mourinho and a big win, is Chelsea back to their winning ways?

Chelsea has had a whirlwind of a week. After losing to first place Leicester City last Monday, Chelsea was held to being just a point above the relegation zone. Last Thursday, Chelsea had enough and sacked Jose Mourinho. After announcing Guus Hiddink as interim manager just before last Saturday’s game, Chelsea dominated Sunderland and won 3-1. Does this mean Chelsea is back to their winning ways or is this simply a matter of beating a team who is 19th in the EPL table?

It definitely seemed like Chelsea connected more passes, shot better, attacked more and as the score indicated, finished better. All this with assistants Steve Holland and Eddie Newton in control of the team as Guus Hiddink watched on beside Didier Drogba and Roman Abramovich. With two quick goals in the first 12 minutes, Chelsea was in the kind of control that they enjoyed last season when they won the Premier League title. Chelsea ultimately won 3-1 with an Oscar penalty and Fabio Borini goal right after.

Even though Chelsea won the game in convincing fashion, we must look at the other side. Chelsea could have dominated Sunderland because it’s rather easy to dominate Sunderland this season. There is a reason why this team is 19th in the EPL table. The team has now given up a league high 33 goals so if any team could have allowed Chelsea to score three goals for the first time in the Premier League since August 23, it would be Sunderland. Let’s hold off until after New Years when Chelsea must play three top four contenders within a week, Watford on Boxing Day, Manchester United just two days after and Crystal Palace on January 3. If Chelsea can get through that with at least six points, then I would say that the team is back.

Regardless of if the team is back or they played a bad opponent, this cannot look good to those who blame the Chelsea players for running Mourinho out of Stamford Bridge. While the players said publicly that they stood behind Mourinho and expressed sadness when he was sacked, their actions (particularly from players like Eden Hazard, Cesc Fabregas and Diego Costa) didn’t really convince many. A lot of Chelsea fans had pro-Mourinho chants and had signs supporting the former manager. They booed players who felt were to blame for sacking Mourinho when they touched the ball. It was certainly a strange atmosphere at Stamford Bridge with a team at a crossroads. This dominating performance, to many, made it seem like the team could have played like this all season but waited until Jose Mourinho was sacked before doing that. I don’t really think that is true because players have other motivations of playing well regardless of the manager, but it certainly makes for a realistic reason by many Chelsea fans.

About Phillip Bupp

News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing, highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them. Follow me on Twitter @phillipbupp

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