Blues See Off Black Cats (Sky Sports)
Chelsea 2 Sunderland 0
Champions Chelsea were far from their best against Sunderland but claimed all three points at Stamford Bridge thanks to goals from Geremi and Didier Drogba.
The first half was largely forgettable with chances few and far between and it took a mistake for Jose Mourinho's boys to finally break the deadlock.
A poor Kelvin Davis throw was mis-controlled by substitute Andy Welsh and Geremi was on hand to drill home with Drogba's back-post header settling the contest late on.
The Black Cats defended superbly for long periods, but were limited in their own attacking options and never looked like equalising once they fell behind.
Despite an encouraging start to the opening half, it proved a drab 45 minutes at Stamford Bridge with The Blues surprisingly sluggish against lowly Sunderland.
Asier Del Horno had the only chance of note in the early exchanges with the Spanish left back testing Davis with a half-volley, but even then the effort would have been disallowed for offside.
Chelsea looked to have stepped up a gear when Arjen Robben ran at debutant Justin Hoyte down the right, however the home side failed to build on a good period of pressure.
Sunderland, playing just one up front in Jon Stead, rarely threatened although the former Blackburn man did force Petr Cech into a comfortable save with a left-footed effort from distance.
Robben continued to look the threat for Chelsea, but on most occasions there was a Sunderland defender waiting for his cross and after 33 minutes Alan Stubbs was on hand to clear the danger.
The half eventually petered out although Julio Arca had an effort deflected out for a corner while at the other end a frustrated Frank Lampard tried an ambitious effort from distance that failed to trouble Davis.
Chelsea naturally upped their game after the interval and Lampard was inches from opening the scoring when his drilled shot struck the crossbar and rebounded to safety.
Hoyte did well to deny Robben in a one-on-one situation shortly after, but the cracks were showing and Sunderland were soon behind.
Davis opted for a quick throw to Welsh, however he failed to take the ball in his stride and Geremi seized on the mistake by striking the ball home, first time, the visiting keeper.
Mourinho then opted to throw on his two remaining substitutes by bringing Drogba and Joe Cole onto the pitch for the disappointing Hernan Crespo and Shaun Wright-Phillips.
Cole immediately found himself in referee Mike Dean's notebook after he was adjudged to have dived in the area following a challenge by Arca.
With The Blues in the ascendancy Robben was continuing to cause the visitors problems, but after getting to the by-line behind Arca he opted to shoot from the angle rather than find Drogba in the middle.
Cole was unlucky when his superb run from the halfway line failed to produce a goal with Davis keeping out the England international's swerving drive from outside the box.
Chelsea effectively wrapped up the points when Michael Essien's good run set Duff away down the left and he sent over a perfect cross for Drogba to out-jump Arca and head home at the back post.
One sour point for The Blues was the loss of Del Horno late on to injury and Mourinho will be hoping the Spanish defender has only tweaked his hamstring and has not suffered a tear.
Cech, Del Horno, Gallas, Terry, Essien, Geremi,
Lampard, Wright-Phillips (J. Cole 57), Crespo (Drogba 54), Gudjohnsen (Duff 45),
Subs Not Used Cudicini, Carvalho
Booked J. Cole
Goals Geremi 54, Drogba 82
Davis, Breen, Hoyte, Nosworthy, Stubbs (Welsh
52), Arca, Bassila, Miller (Le Tallec 80), Whitehead, Elliott, Stead (Gray 45)
Subs Not Used Alnwick, Robinson