SUNDERLAND v CHELSEA: Preview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Venue: Stadium of Light

Date: 4 December 2013

Kick-off: 19.45 GMT

Well, we had a dodgy first half against Southampton at the weekend after being stunned by their early opener courtesy of Essien’s gift of a back pass but with the sort of fighting spirit we know Jose Mourinho has a habit of instilling in his teams, it really was one of those games ‘of two halves’. 

This evening it’s a trip to Sunderland to face Chelsea old boy Gus Poyet, whose arrival has yielded 3 wins from 3 at the Stadium of Light and given the home crowd some renewed optimism. So, let’s hope we can knock that out of them tonight.

 

MANAGER’S VIEWS

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho meanwhile, doing a bit of reflection on Chelsea’s position in his absence for the past few seasons, says “They must feel the responsibility to play for Chelsea.  Feeling that Chelsea cannot be in December – like it happened in a few seasons – completely out of the title race.  I can’t establish targets. I can’t say ‘now I want to win five consecutive matches, now I want to be top of the league’.  One of the things these boys have to learn is to cope with the responsibility of being there. We cannot be 15 points behind by December, we have to be there.

We now have two matches away (Sunderland and Stoke City) and then Crystal Palace at home, we are playing three teams who need points because of the position they are in, so we will have three very difficult matches.”

 

SQUAD NEWS

For Sunderland, Carlos Cuellar (hip) is definitely out, whilst John O’Shea (groin) and Keiren Westwood (shoulder) are doubts.

For Chelsea, David Luiz (knee) may not be ready to return, while Samuel Eto’o (muscle strain) is set to miss out once again and Marco van Ginkel (knee) is a long-term absentee.  Oscar limped off late in the first half against Southampton after going over on his ankle, so his fitness will be monitored ahead of the trip to Wearside.

 

TEAMS

SUNDERLAND (Possible line-up): Mannone; Bardsley, Dossena, Brown, O’Shea; Ki, Gardner, Larsson, Giaccherini; Borini, Fletcher

CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Cech; Cole, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic; Mikel, Ramires; Mata, Hazard, Schurrle; Ba

 

LAST MEETING

Sunderland 1-3 Chelsea (8 December 2012)

 

PREDICTION

We’ve won our last eight top-flight games at Sunderland, so it’s a fairly happy hunting ground for us really. We’re also sitting second in the table after a decent win against Southampton at the weekend but we looked a bit casual in the first half against the Saints and with our away form looking particularly fragile (2 wins from the last 6), the faintest sign of complacency could leave us with another fight on our hands for the points.

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