Sunderland vs Chelsea Preview, Team News, Likely Line-ups & Predicted Score
Chelsea play Sunderland on Saturday afternoon looking to close the gap on the top two. Here’s a preview with team news, likely line-ups and predicted score
Chelsea play Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon looking to close the gap on the top two.
Interim boss Rafa Benitez will be hoping to secure his first Premier League win since taking over from Roberto Di Matteo last month, having registered two draws and a defeat in his three games in charge so far.
The Spaniard did taste victory in midweek as Chelsea beat Nordsjaelland 6-1 on Wednesday, however despite the impressive win the Blues crashed out the Champions League at the group stages becoming the first defending champions to fail to reach the last 16 in the competitions history.
Their poor recent run in the league has seen Chelsea slip to third place, level on points with Tottenham and West Brom, so defeat could see the West Londoners drop to sixth by the end of the weekend if results don’t go their way.
However, Sunderland are in desperate form themsleves having won just two of their last 22 matches and the Blues have won 14 of their last 15 encounters with the Black Cats.
Sunderland are sweating on the fitness of top marksman Steven Fletcher after the Scot was forced off at half time during last weekend’s defeat to Norwich, but the striker is expected to overcome his ankle injury to face Chelsea on Saturday.
Defender John O’Shea is also a major doubt with a calf injury but may only be fit for a place on the bench, but captain Lee Catermole is facing another two months on the sidelines with damaged knee ligaments.
Chelsea welcome back Frank Lampard who has recovered from a calf problem but may only be on the bench. Striker Daniel Sturridge remains out with a hamstring problem while John Terry is also missing with a knee injury that has kept him out for nearly a month.
Midfielder John Obi Mikel will start his three-game ban so Oriol Romeu is likely to step in alongside Ramires in midfield.
Chelsea’s record against Sunderland is excellent in recent years and with Martin O’Neill’s men on a poor run of late, we can see the Blues edging this one. Sunderland 0-1 Chelsea.
What would your team be and what’s your predicted score for the game? Get involved in the comments section.
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