Sunderland v CHELSEA: Preview

Date: Saturday 7th May, 2016
Venue: Stadium of Light
Kick-off: 15:00 BST

Today’s game sees us travel to the Stadium of Light and after the fun of putting Spurs’ dreams to bed Monday night, it might be difficult for our players to get themselves quite as ‘up’ for this one. The reality is we’re just seeing out the season, having got ourselves as far up the table as we can now. Whilst Hiddink is ‘satisfied’ we haven’t ended up in a relegation dog-fight, the rest of us probably just want to get the season over so we can put it behind us as soon as possible.
For Sunderland, sitting in the relegation places, it’s a different matter. They do have a game in hand over Newcastle and whilst I’m sure most of us would be much happier to see Benitez drop out of the Premier League this season, we won’t be so happy to see our players under perform in quite the way they have all season, after the game they gave us Monday.

Going into today’s game, Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce says “What happened to Tottenham mentally, we cannot afford for that to happen to our team. We have to stay focused from start to finish. Tottenham lost a goal then lost the plot mentally, so then all of a sudden all the talent they have in that side just went by the way and they ended up not only losing the game but doing the strangest thing I’ve ever seen a Tottenham side do, and that’s get nine players booked and make some quite ferocious tackles at the same time.”
Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink meanwhile, after our fighting spirit made a reappearance on Monday night, says “It’s important for ourselves, for our pride and for our enjoyment of football. Second, we want to have the same approach for all the teams who are still fighting to avoid relegation. They deserve the same approach in our seriousness, with no guarantee that we can win, but we will go for the win of course. Given the situation it wouldn’t be fair of us to have a serious approach for the Spurs game and not have a serious approach for the other games.”

For Sunderland, Billy Jones (hip) is Sunderland’s only doubt through injury. Lens should be back and Allardyce has plenty to choose from.
For Chelsea, Zouma and Remy remain out, whilst Coutois is available again after his two game ban.

SUNDERLAND (Possible line-up): Mannone; Yedlin, Kone, Kaboul, van Aanholt; Kirchhoff, Cattermole, N’Doye, Watmore, M’Vila; Defoe.
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois; Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic; Mikel, Matic; Willian, Fabregas, Hazard; Costa.

Sunderland 0-0 Chelsea (29th November 2014)


~ Sunderland have lost 19 of our last 23 Premier League meetings
~ Sunderland’s last win against us at home in the league was in 2000
~ Sunderland have won just one of their last nine games
~ Chelsea have lost just two of their last 19 games in the league
~ Chelsea have kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 league games.

Before Monday night, given Hiddink’s record this season and our below par performances, I’d have predicted a draw. In spite of my renewed belief, I can’t help thinking that knowing Chelsea this season that may still be the case, particularly with Sunderland fighting for survival.


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