Sunderland will be hoping to further distance themselves from the Premier League relegation zone this weekend with a win, but they will need to overcome league leaders Chelsea to do so.
The Wearsiders are currently sitting in 14th place but are only three points above the bottom three and will be hoping they can avoid the similar struggles of last season during the Christmas period. They do have history on their side against Chelsea and have proven to be a bogey team for the visitors, but this time round they face an even more difficult challenge to defeat Jose Mourinho’s unbeaten side.
Chelsea are leading the league with a six point cushion over their closest rivals Southampton and will be aiming to at least maintain that lead this weekend. At this point, it is hard to think of any team beating Chelsea and even then, it is more likely to be one of the bigger clubs. However, there is always the danger of slip-ups against the Premier League’s smaller clubs and this weekend will be no exception.
There are a few injuries in Gus Poyet’s team. Patrick van Aanholt is still out of action for the foreseeable future, while Billy Jones and Emanuele Giaccherini won’t be able to return from injury for another two weeks at least. Ricky Alvarez could return for Sunderland this weekend if he can pass a late fitness test.
Nathan Ake is the only player who will definitely miss this game for Chelsea. Diego Costa picked up an injury in the Champions League during the week but Jose Mourinho said in his post-match comments that the striker should be fit to face Sunderland.
There have been 29 goals scored in the last six fixtures at the Stadium of Light between these sides.
There have been 12 goals scored in the opening 20 minutes of the last 10 league games between Chelsea and Sunderland.
Sunderland defeated Chelsea 2-1 the last time they played each other in the league.
Diego Costa has scored 11 goals in 10 league appearances this season.
This means he has scored 38 goals in 45 league matches since the start of last season. Only Christiano Ronaldo has scored more in Europe’s top five leagues in this time.
Cesc Fabregas has scored four goals against Sunderland, more than he has managed against any other team.
Larsson has been one of Sunderland’s better players this season. The midfielder has been one of the club’s most consistent players and if they win, it is likely that he has been a contributing factor. The midfielder has appeared in all 12 of Sunderland’s league games this season and has scored two goals of his own in that time. From nine attempted shots at goal, Larsson has been able to average a 56% shot accuracy.
He has also managed to create 25 chances for his team mates, although only two of these have resulted in assists. He has attempted 441 passes in total with 370 of them finding a team mate, meaning he has a passing accuracy of 84% so far this season. However, he has only been able to win 42% of his duels and this is something he will have to work on in preparation for taking on Chelsea’s midfield.
Chelsea have been the Premier League’s best team so far this season and this is in no small amount down to the presence of the league’s best player, Cesc Fabregas. He has played in all 12 of Chelsea’s league games this season and has played a major part in Chelsea’s goal scoring. While he has only scored one league goal of his own, he has created 37 chances for his team mates that have resulted in 10 assists for him so far.
The Spaniard has attempted just over 1000 passes in the league and has completed 896 of them, meaning he has an accuracy of 90% when it comes to passing. However, he has been less successful than his Sunderland counterpart when it comes to duels, winning just 39% of them. That being said, Sunderland’s defence will have to make sure they have a plan to stop Fabregas taking control if they are to stand any chance of winning the game.
With 10 assists to his name so far this season, it is reasonable to expect Fabregas to set up another goal against Sunderland this weekend. If you think he can, you can bet on him doing so at odds of 2.92 with Tailorbet, here.
I’m sorry Sunderland fans but I just can’t see yours or any other team beating Chelsea any time soon. I think Jose Mourinho’s side will win the game 2-0.