Date: Wednesday 14th December, 2016
Venue: Stadium of Light
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
After our well-fought 9th successive win at the weekend, where we really had to dig in to get something from a resilient West Brom, tonight it’s a trip to the Stadium of Light to take on Sunderland.
Of course, this is another game where the weight of expectation is all on us to win given its top against bottom but there’ll be plenty of us who know what a potential banana skin this fixture is – and it wouldn’t be the first time either. Not only do Sunderland seem to do ok against top four opposition when they’re not expected to, they’re also unbeaten at home against us in the last 3 and beat us in this fixture in May.
Definitely not a forgone conclusion here.
Going into tonight’s game, Sunderland manager David Moyes says “We were on a good run and we wanted to keep it going. It wasn’t to be. We’re now back at home and we’ll try to pick points up. People will try and find a way of beating Chelsea’s system, but it’s not just the system – they have real quality players. If we can get an atmosphere like last season against Chelsea it will give us every chance, and it would be terrific.”
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte meanwhile, says “We all know Sunderland are at the bottom of the table, but if you look at the last five games you can see Sunderland are fifth in the table. They took nine points and for this reason it’s important to pay great attention, to be focused, and to be concentrated from the start of the game until the end. I know this league and it’s very tough to win every game. To have nine wins in a row is fantastic. I hope to continue this.”
For Sunderland, David Moyes will be without the likes of Rodwell, Borini, Watmore, Cattermole, Gooch and McNair, and Didier Ndong also serves a one-match ban.
For Chelsea, Oscar is still out with a virus although John Terry may be available again.
SUNDERLAND (Possible line-up). Pickford; Jones, Kone, Djilobodji, Aanholt; Larsson, Ndong, Denayer, Pienaar; Defoe, Anichebe
CHELSEA (Possible line-up): Courtois; Azpilicueta, Cahill, Luiz; Moses, Matic, Kante, Alonso; Hazard, Pedro, Costa
Sunderland 3-2 Chelsea (7th May 2016)
~ Chelsea have won 19 of the last 23 Premier League meetings
~ Sunderland beat Chelsea 3-2 in May to end an 11-game run without a home win in this fixture
~ Chelsea haven’t lost successive games against Sunderland since March 2001
~ Sunderland are currently unbeaten in three home games against Chelsea in all competitions
~ Sunderland will be going for three Premier League games in a row at home for the first time since February 2012.
~ Sunderland have the worst home record in the division, with seven points from seven games
~ Sunderland have kept just one clean sheet in their last 16 Premier League games.
~ Chelsea have won nine successive Premier League games for an unrivalled fifth time.
~ Chelsea could win five consecutive away games for the first time since April last year.
~ Chelsea have kept a league-best nine clean sheets, just one shy of their total for the whole of last season