Chelsea could have a key effect on the fight to stay in the Premier League as they face struggling Sunderland at the Stadium of Light tomorrow afternoon (15:00 GMT KO).
Sunderland are currently in 18th, one point off rivals Newcastle, and one point ahead of 19th-placed Norwich City as the three toil to remain in the top flight. However, they have lost just one of their last eight league games – to Premier League champions Leicester – but that being said, six of those games have bee draws.
They come up against a Chelsea side who earlier this week were key in deciding the title race, Eden Hazard’s 83rd minute curler denying Tottenham any hope of the title. The Blues however have only won once in their last four matches.
In the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge, goals from Branislav Ivanovic, Pedro and Oscar were enough to secure a comfortable three points in a tense atmosphere inside the ground. The first game since the sacking of Jose Mourinho, banners were displayed all round but a Fabio Borini goal was not enough to deny Chelsea a strong start to the post-Mourinho era.
Last six games:
– Sam Allardyce has just one injury concern – defender Billy Jones is set to be out with a hip problem.
– Thibaut Courtois completes his two-match suspension, whilst Loic Remy (groin) and Kurt Zouma (knee) remain out.
– Eden Hazard looks to be recalled after his exceptional performance as a second half substitute last Monday.
– Neither team has no other injury concerns.
– Sunderland have won just two of the last 23 meetings with Chelsea in the league – they have lost 19 of those.
– The Black Cats have scored more than one goal in only two of their last nine matches.
– Allardyce has fielded the same starting XI for the last five matches.
– The home side have also scored just 17 goals at home this season.
– Chelsea have lost just two of their last 19 league games, winning eight.
– They have taken 19 points from eight away games in 2016.
– However, they have kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 games.
Starting XI last time out in the Premier League:
Chelsea (home vs. Tottenham Hotspur, drew 2-2): Begovic, Ivanovic, Terry, Cahill, Azpilicueta, Matic, Fabregas, Willian, Mikel, Pedro, Costa.
Tottenham Hotspur (away vs. Stoke City, drew 1-1): Mannone, Yedlin, Kone, Kaboul, van Aanholt, Kirchhoff, Catermole, M’Vila, Borini, Khazri, Defoe.