Sunderland v CHELSEA: Preview

Venue: Stadium of Light
Date: Saturday, 29 November
Kick-off: 17:30

After a great win against Schalke in the Champions League midweek, this evening’s game sees us travel to the Stadium of Light to face a Sunderland team who already have a win against us in the Premier League this calendar year.
This season though, we’ve looked a different side to the one that lost points to Sunderland at Stamford Bridge in April. We’ve played with confidence, energy, flair, and the sort of belief that’s associated with a Jose Mourinho squad.
With two successive wins against us though, the Black Cats won’t necessarily be fearing our arrival. We’d better make sure they don’t go away with a hattrick though.

Going into this evening’s game, Sunderland boss Gus Poyet says “Three wins in a row against Jose? No I couldn’t believe that. We’re usually on the wrong end of stats. We hadn’t won for ages on a Monday night and we didn’t beat someone for 50 years, but now we’re on the right side. Let me enjoy it a little bit! We’ll see on Saturday. If there’s rain and wind it could make the game very ugly.
Chelsea defend better than any team in Europe. They defend better than Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern. As a team Chelsea are very difficult to play against, they are special and they are unique, they pass the ball well and they’ve always got options. They’re really, really strong and if they’d keep everyone fit, they are going to be close to going unbeaten (for the season). At the start of the season I thought they were favourites. Now, they’re massive favourites to win the league. If nothing strange happens, they’re going to win the league. I’m convinced of that. They’re going to win it without losing, or maybe lose one on the way, we’ll see but they’re the best team in the country by far now.
Chelsea are better than us technically, physically without any doubt and they’ve been outstanding as a team so we need to be very strong mentally and of course have a good day as well. If we don’t cope with the inferiority then we’ve got no chance. You can combat that with your own mental strength, now that’s not easy but it’s a good feeling that we’ve been there and somehow we’ve done it.”

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho meanwhile, insists “Complacency is not a risk we have. It’s not a profile of this group in this moment. We have all the other risks. The risks that belong to football – the risk of a bad period, injuries, unlucky matches, other teams growing up and becoming stronger. We were winning 5-0 against Schalke and (in) minute 88 Eden Hazard made a sprint to defend. There was a clear evolution and I don’t think the group as a group can be complacent.”

For Sunderland, Emanuele Giaccherini (ankle), Billy Jones (hamstring) and Patrick van Aanholt (shoulder) are all out, whilst Ricky Alvarez (knee) and Sebastian Coates (calf) are back in contention.
For Chelsea, Nathan Ake (hamstring) is the only absentee.

SUNDERLAND (Possible line-up): Pantilimon: Reveillere, Vergini, Brown, O’Shea; Cattermole; Rodwell, Johnson, Larsson, Wickham, Fletcher
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois; Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta; Matic, Fabregas; Willian, Oscar, Hazard; Costa

Sunderland 3-4 Chelsea (4 December 2013)

• A win for Sunderland today would make it 3 successive games against Chelsea although defeat would set a Premier League record for consecutive home losses to the same opposition.
• Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 10 Premier League games at the Stadium of Light
• Sunderland have failed to score in five of their last eight Premier League games.
• Sunderland have won just two of their last 13 Premier League matches
• Chelsea’s last league defeat was the 2-1 loss at home to Sunderland in April.
• Chelsea are unbeaten in 19 games this season, winning 15.
• Chelsea have set a club record of 12 matches unbeaten from the start of a top-flight season.
• Chelsea have not kept a Premier League clean sheet away from home since April

If you were looking at current form alone, this should be a straightforward game for us but our last two encounters with the Black Cats have been anything but easy. In true Chelsea fashion then, we can expect the unexpected today!


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