David Jones: Why Chelsea’s draw with Spurs was good news for Sunderland

Chelsea's players react after ending Spurs' title bid last night
Chelsea's players react after ending Spurs' title bid last night
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How satisfying it was to see Chelsea push Tottenham all the way on Monday Night Football, fighting back to secure a 2-2 draw which saw Leicester deservedly crowned champions for the very first time.

And amid the back slapping and euphoria which greeted the Foxes title success, I was selfishly thinking of the impact that 90 minutes will have had on the dethroned champions.

Chelsea's Eden Hazard (right) and Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson in action.

Chelsea's Eden Hazard (right) and Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson in action.

After a season of struggle and torment, Chelsea felt the spotlight again on Monday and they gave it everything, so desperate were they to end Spurs’ season.

The boys in blue were snapping into tackles, contesting every loose ball, squaring up to their opponents and generally giving their London rivals the most uncomfortable evening they possibly could.

We saw from them the appetite for the battle which has been sorely missing since they cantered to the Premier League crown last season; the sort of hunger which only a local squabble can provoke.

They found an intensity I don’t remember witnessing at Stamford Bridge this season under Mourinho or since: whisper it quietly, but it should all play into Sunderland’s hands.

Giving your all to stop your London rivals winning the title is one thing, busting a gut five days later to win away from home in the north east, with nothing at stake is another entirely.

More likely to pitch up on Wearside this weekend is the Chelsea side who wobbled at Swansea than the one we saw take Tottenham to the limit.

And I think there are two ways to go about this one.

The first option is for Sunderland to go for the jugular.

I’m sure it wasn’t the Sam Allardyce plan, but his team were meek and mild for much of the 90 minutes at Stoke on Saturday and indeed against Arsenal, the week before.

We can be better than that: Sunderland could go at Chelsea from the off, get into their faces, let them know it won’t be an easy ride and make life as uncomfortable for them as they possibly can.

But there’s also a second school of thought.

In Test cricket, it was always said that when playing the West Indies, the fielding team would never try and upset Brian Lara when he came out to bat; if you just let him go about his business you might catch him dozing and get him out early.

If you sledged him, bounced him, upset him in any way, you suddenly had a fearsome, focused opponent on your hands, who was liable to bat all day!

With that in mind, perhaps Sunderland need to tread carefully, allow Chelsea to think they’re in for a comfy ride and then tear into them in the second half.

Make no mistake, the Chelsea who ripped into Spurs at Stamford Bridge would be too much for Sunderland, but I just can’t imagine that same level of performance from them for two matches in succession; not this season.

But they do have one individual who is capable of giving Sunderland’s defence a tortuous afternoon.

The concern is that Eden Hazard has returned to fitness and to the Chelsea side a different player.

Suddenly, he looks the Hazard of last season, the one voted best player in the Premier League, who seems hell bent on rediscovering his Midas touch in time for the European Championships and the arrival of a new Chelsea manager.

You will remember him destroying Sunderland almost single handedly at the Stadium of Light in the past, Phil Bardsley certainly will, and the fear is he’s approaching that level again.

Sam has his part to play before the game as well.

I think he was right to try and rattle Crystal Palace before their game at Newcastle last week and he can use the media to try and gain an advantage again.

In his shoes, I’d be using every opportunity to talk Chelsea up, fill their heads full of praise and compliments so they have nothing to use against us in their pre-match discussions for motivation.

It’s basic stuff, but you’d be surprised how important it is.

I’d be amazed if Newcastle don’t win at Aston Villa, Norwich have a tougher assignment at home to Manchester United, but Sunderland cannot afford to leave the points gathering until too late.

Beating Chelsea would take us a long way down the road to safety.