Sunderland v Chelsea: Match Preview
Where: Stadium of Light in Sunderland.
When: Saturday, Dec 8, at 08:30pm IST.
Watch: ESPN (India)
After their early exit from the Champions League, Chelsea travel to The Stadium of Light to face a struggling Sunderland side who are just 1 point above the drop zone. Although Rafa Benitez might be pleased with his first win as the Chelsea manager which came in the midweek Champions League game against Nordsjaelland, he still doesn’t have a win under his belt after 3 League games. Chelsea go into this game with one of their worst league form in 18 years with a winless streak of 7 games (4 D, 3L).
Already 10 points behind league leaders Manchester United, The Londoners would be looking for all three points to gain some momentum as they head to play the FIFA Club World Club next week. The squad has lacked confidence due to the absence of their leaders John Terry and Frank Lampard. Terry has been ruled out for another couple of weeks although midfield maestro Lampard is fit for this game which will be a boost to the team’s confidence.
Sunderland have had their own problems this season with only 2 wins (1 home win against Wigan and an away win against Fulham). Manager Martin O’Neill has come under intense scrutiny with his side’s performance this season and would be desperate to turn the table and get a few wins.
Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole is expected to be out for another two months after damaging knee ligaments. Whereas defender John O’Shea and top scorer Steven Fletcher are both in contention for this game.
Head to Head:
Jan 14, 2012 Chelsea 1 – Sunderland 0
Sep 10, 2011 Sunderland 1 – Chelsea 2
Feb 1, 2011 Sunderland 2 – Chelsea 4
Nov 14, 2010 Chelsea 0 – Sunderland 3
Jan 16, 2010 Chelsea 7 – Sunderland 2
Chelsea have won 14 out of the last 15 games against Sunderland and have won on their last 5 visits at The Stadium of Light. Although something to note is that Chelsea have just won 1 out of their last 19 away games in the Premier League.
Predicted Line Ups:
Sunderland - Mignolet; Bardsley, Cuellar, O’Shea, Rose; Larsson, Gardner, McClean, Johnson; Sessegnon, Fletcher.
Chelsea - Cech; Azpilicueta, Luiz, Cahill, Cole; Romeu, Oscar; Hazard, Mata, Moses; Torres.
Prediction – Sunderland 1-2 Chelsea.