Premier League - Chelsea win at Sunderland
Chelsea opened the scoring in the 17th minute as their captain Terry finished after good work from Sturridge. The latter then made it 2-0 just after the break as he scored with an audacious back heel to mark his return to fitness in style.
Sunderland's new left winger Ji Dong-Won looked lively late on but his goal in the first minute of second half stoppage time proved to be nothing more than a consolation.
The scoreline did not reflect the Blues dominance as they ran riot for large periods of the game with new signings Juan Mata and Raul Meireles slotting in impressively while Steve Bruce's side are still without a win in all competitions this term.
The pivotal opening goal came as Chelsea won a free-kick on the edge of the box after a clumsy foul from Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole. Mata clipped a delicious left footed effort up and over the wall but his shot struck the outside of the post. The Black Cats failed to clear their lines and Sturridge looped a ball to the back post where skipper Terry controlled before slotting home at the second attempt.
Sunderland's best chance of the first-half came when new loan signing Niklas Bendtner was found by Seb Larsson's free-kick, but the Dane sent his header wide when unmarked 12 yards out.
After the break Chelsea again looked the more likely to score as Mata and Ramires buzzed around. The work rate of Andre Villas-Boas' new look side, making five changes from their last outing against Norwich, was impressive to say the least as his side hassled and harried Sunderland all afternoon.
The West Londoners got their just rewards in the 50th minute when the industrious and impressive new signing Meireles slid through an inch perfect pass for Sturridge to run onto. The youngster, who was Chelsea's top scorer during pre-season, showed no lack of confidence in his first game back from injury as he rounded Simon Mignolet in goal before unleashing an sensational back heeled finish on the run.
Sunderland looked pedestrian and lacking in confidence while Nicolas Anelka, Mata and Frank Lampard all wasted good chances to make it 3-0. Fernando Torres, Florent Malouda and Oriol Romeu all appeared as second-half substitutes as Villas-Boas rested some of his squad with the upcoming Champions League tie with Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday in the back of his mind.
Yet one of Sunderland's second-half substitutes, the newly arrived South Korean international Ji scored his first goal for the club in added time. A lofted ball from Sunderland's only other goalscorer so far this season, Larsson, found Ji unmarked at the back post and he swept home a right footed finish to set up a surprisingly tense finale for Chelsea.
But the goal proved to be nothing more than a consolation as Chelsea remained unbeaten this season.
As for Sunderland, the result signalled a 12th defeat in their last 19 Premier League games. All indications lead to a hard season ahead for the Wearsiders.