Written by: @theshedender
Following on from their 3-1 win over Southampton in the Premier League it is vital for Chelsea to their momentum over the next three fixtures before a showdown with table toppers Arsenal later this month.
The first of these three matches will be against Sunderland and a familiar face in former Chelsea midfielder Gus Poyet will welcome Jose Mourinho’s side to the Stadium of Light.
Poyet’s side are currently scrapping at the foot of the table but have proved to be more resilient since Poyet replaced the disastrous Paolo Di Canio and have picked up a couple of big results, including a derby victory over bitter rivals Newcastle United and a shock win over Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City.
The Blues were victorious up in the north east last December with a 3-1 victory with goals from Fernando Torres and Juan Mata, and will be after a similar result on Wednesday night. Both Mata and Demba Ba will hope to make the starting XI after their impressive performance against the Saints on Sunday, whilst the likes of Ashley Cole will hope for opportunities as Mourinho vowed to keep his squad fresh over a busy festive period.
Chelsea haven’t been receiving the sort of praise or playing the sort of football that league leaders Arsenal have so far this season but are just the four points behind Arsene Wenger’s side and will be ready to pounce on top spot just as long as they can stay within touching distance in the meantime.
It’s a long trip for Chelsea to be making midweek but I fancy them to take all three points at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland v Chelsea Match Stats
Sunderland have scored just 12 goals in their last 14 Barclays Premier League matches at the Stadium of Light.
Chelsea have won 16 and lost one of their last 17 Barclays Premier League games against Sunderland.
Fernando Torres has scored six goals in seven Premier League starts against Sunderland – against no side has he netted more in the competition.
Torres has scored three goals in his last three Premier League appearances at the Stadium of Light.
Chelsea have only won back to back Premier League away games once in 2013.
Sunderland have attempted fewer shots on target than any other team in the top flight this season (30) and attempted just one in their last PL game versus Aston Villa at the weekend.
Chelsea have scored three times in each of their last two games, they have not managed 3+ in three successive Premier League games since October 2011 and have only done it four times in total so far.
Sunderland have conceded more own goals than any other Premier League team this season (3).
Against Villa at the weekend, Sunderland became only the second team in Premier League history to name four Italians in the starting line-up (after Chelsea in 2000).
Chelsea have been caught offside more often than any other Premier League side this season (43 times).