Chelsea v Sunderland - Match Preview, Stats & Team News

To be played on Saturday 19th April 2014 at 17:30. Venue: Stamford Bridge, London.

Odds: Chelsea 1/5, Draw 13/2, Sunderland 18/1

Last season: 2-1

Preview & injury news

So much for ruling his side out of the title race after their loss to Crystal Palace three weeks ago, Jose Mourinho's Chelsea side just have to win their remaining games and they could be champions in his first season back at the club. He does have the distraction of the Champions League semi-final against Atletico Madrid following this game but first they have to take care of bottom side Sunderland. Since their loss to Palace, Chelsea have won their last two Premier League games to stay within two points of league leaders Liverpool, who they face at Anfield next week.

Sunderland are not be taken lightly, though, especially after their display at the Etihad Stadium this week where they came away with a 2-2 draw against Manchester City. Prior to that, their Premier League form was retched having lost seven of their last eight games. Chelsea should know not to take Gus Poyet's side lightly from their meetings earlier on in the season, where the Blues edged a seven goal thriller, and were knocked out of the League Cup in extra-time at the Stadium of Light. Also, Sunderland know they can make life uncomfortable for the top sides, despite being six points from safety at the bottom of the table with five games to go.

On the injury front, Chelsea are still sweating on the fitness of Eden Hazard. There are reports that he is close to returning from a calf strain but given the big week that follows this game for Chelsea - with the Champions League semi-final and potential title decider at Anfield - Jose Mourinho may not risk the Belgian this weekend.

For Sunderland, Steven Fletcher and Kieren Westwood are still sidelined with ankle and back injuries respectively. Ki Sung-Yeung missed the draw against Manchester City with a knee problem whilst Carlos Cuellar has been struggling with a hamstring injury.

Key stats

Here are the top scorers from the two teams in the Premier League this season:

Eden Hazard Chelsea FW 14 33 2,761
Samuel Eto'o Chelsea FW 8 20 1,232
Adam Johnson Sunderland MF 8 31 2,086
Oscar Chelsea MF 8 31 1,994
Fabio Borini Sunderland FW 3 27 1,693
Emanuele Giaccherini Sunderland MF 3 20 1,280

Their average possession statistics:

  Possession PercentagePlayed
Chelsea 54.68 34
Sunderland 45.58 33

And the amount of clean sheets they've kept:

  Clean SheetPlayed
Chelsea 16 34
Sunderland 8 33

5 players to watch

Demba Ba - Chelsea have been criticised for not having enough firepower up front this season but Ba seems to be finding the net at important times for the Blues, such as in the Champions League against PSG, and against Swansea City last weekend. It's an important stage of the season, so can Ba come up with the goods again?

Connor Wickham - Wickham gave Manchester City a torrid time in midweek as he scored twice in the 2-2 draw, and he may have found his form at the right time for Gus Poyet's men as they look to beat the drop. The Black Cats will be hoping that the big striker can come up with another great display that leads to another positive result against a side challenging for the title.

Nemanja Matic - What Sunderland did so well against City was expose the space between the lines of the defence and midfield, and that kind of space of Chelsea is often occupied by Matic, so if he has a good game, Sunderland may have a tough job in the middle of the park.

John O'Shea - Like with any game when you're in a relegation battle, you need a big performance from your defenders with experience. O'Shea has plenty of experience and will be hoping to keep Chelsea quiet for as long as possible.

Oscar - If Hazard does miss out this weekend, then there will probably be more onus on Oscar being the creative force in the final third of the field for the home side. He's actually had a pretty good season, but has been overshadowed by the wonderful performances of Hazard, so here is his opportunity to show how good he is, with less risk of being upstaged.

Earlier on in the season

Sunderland 3-4 Chelsea, December 2013

It was a thrilling encounter at the Stadium of Light as Jozy Altidore opened the scoring for the hosts at in the 14th minute, only for Frank Lampard to head the visitors level two minutes later from a Juan Mata cross. Eden Hazard scored the first of his two goals after curling in a shot from 20 yards 10 minutes before half-time but five minutes after the break John O'Shea capitalised on some poor defending from a corner to level the game up from close range. Hazard restored Chelsea's lead with another eye-catching finish after receiving the ball from Lampard before Phil Bardsley put through his own net to give the visitors a two goal cushion, after he tried to clear a Demba Ba ball six minutes from time. Bardsley scored at the right end two minutes later to set up a nervy finish but Chelsea managed to see the game out.

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