Chelsea’s outrageously weak defence of their Premier League crown continues, as the Blues were beaten 2-1 by Leicester City on Monday. It was the ninth league defeat of the season for the now sacked Jose Mourinho’s side and the result left Chelsea a whopping 20 points below league leaders Leicester City. With hopes of securing a top-four finish fading quickly, it is imperative that the Blues stop the rot when they face Sunderland at Stamford Bridge.
Sunderland had claimed impressive back-to-back wins against Crystal Palace and Stoke City respectively last month, but have been beaten by both Arsenal and Watford since then and the Black Cats are still part of a relegation battle.
Sunderland seems to be suffering majorly as far as scoring goals are concerned, with Allardyce’s side having scored just 17 goals in 16 Premier League fixtures thus far this term. It seems likely that the visitors will attempt to frustrate Mourinho’s side at Stamford Bridge and, with Chelsea struggling in front of goal themselves, a tight match can be anticipated here
Last season’s winners Chelsea will look to avoid relegation to the Football League Championship as it faces Sunderland. Chelsea continued its plunge into oblivion this season after suffering from their fourth winless effort in their last six games, dropping a heartbreaking 1-2 decision to current league leaders Leicester City at the King Power Stadium on Monday.
The squad made a gallant effort to fight back as substitute winger Loïc Rémy scored at the 77th to put his team on the board. However, it was all they could do against the unbeatable Foxes. The defending champions now dropped to 16th place in the overall standings, only two spots above and a point away from the relegation bottom three.
Meanwhile, Sunderland dropped a 0-1 decision to Watford at the Stadium of Light last Saturday.
Hornets’ striker Odion Ighalo scored at the fourth minute of the game then both teams went goalless after that as the Black Cats failed to capitalize on the chances given to them.
It was the second straight loss for Sam Allardyce’s team after winning two straight.
• Chelsea have lost four of their last seven Premier League home games having lost just one of the 99 Jose Mourinho had managed beforehand.
• The only team to defeat Chelsea in their opening 99 Premier League home games under Jose Mourinho were Sunderland; 2-1 in April 2014.
League Head to Head
24/05/2015 Premier League 2014/2015 Chelsea 3 – 1 Sunderland
29/11/2014 Premier League 2014/2015 Sunderland 0 – 0 Chelsea
19/04/2014 Premier League 2013/2014 Chelsea 1 – 2 Sunderland
17/12/2013 League Cup 2013/2014 Sunderland 1 – 1 Chelsea
04/12/2013 Premier League 2013/2014 Sunderland 3 – 4 Chelsea
07/04/2013 Premier League 2012/2013 Chelsea 2 – 1 Sunderland
CHELSEA – Eden Hazard
Although Hazard picked up an injury in the game against Leicester City, he is likely to play and in that case, he will definitely prove to be a key player for Chelsea. The Belgian went down after a challenge from Jamie Vardy and despite needing the help of two physios to get to his feet, the Belgian was encouraged by manager Jose Mourinho to carry on.
Hazard attempted to play on but soon stormed off the pitch and headed straight down the tunnel at the King Power Stadium.
In the game against Norwich, Hazard seemed to rediscover his old mojo. As Hazard left the pitch after 89 minutes there was a pointed standing ovation from the home fans, returned warmly by Chelsea’s No10 after a performance of twirls and flicks and, as Norwich sat doggedly deep, even a little swagger on the ball.
Hence, he will be a vital player in this game against Sunderland, because if he gets going back to his old flow, then nothing can stop him.
SUNDERLAND – Sebastian Coates
Coates was one of the main reasons that Sunderland continue to play in the Premier League this season. His connection with John O’Shea and performances in the draw against Arsenal and in the 2-0 victory away at Everton were fantastic.
In the game against Chelsea, Sunderland would benefit if they have 3 defenders at the end instead of 4, as Coates performs better when its just 3 defenders. If Hazard can get going, then Sunderland will need its defences to be strong.
The predicted result is a tough 2-1 victory for Chelsea. Now that Mourinho has gone the players may want to actually play football, amid rumours of unrest, again and that may be ominous for Sunderland. It won’t be easy but I Chelsea should win here.