Sunderland v Chelsea

6 May

Jermain Defoe


Sunderland forward Jermain Defoe scored a late penalty against Stoke last weekend

TEAM NEWS

Sunderland have just one injury doubt, with defender Billy Jones hampered by a hip problem this week.

Manager Sam Allardyce has fielded the same starting XI for the last five matches but could make changes for the visit of Chelsea.

The Blues will have goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois available again after a two-match suspension.

Eden Hazard could be recalled after his superb second-half performance as a substitute against Tottenham on Monday,

MOTD COMMENTATOR’S NOTES

Simon Brotherton: “Sunderland slipped into the bottom three last weekend despite a late equaliser at Stoke, but they do have a game in hand over Newcastle who went above them.

“Their destiny is still in their own hands, though the margin for error is small and they haven’t beaten Chelsea at home in the league for 16 years.

“Scoring goals continues to be a problem, despite the best efforts of Jermain Defoe.

“Sunderland haven’t scored in their last three home games and that will likely need to change if they’re to get anything against opponents who’ll be in good spirits after Monday’s comeback against Spurs.”

Twitter: @SimonBrotherton

WHAT THE MANAGERS SAY

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce: “What happened to Tottenham mentally, we cannot afford for that to happen to our team. We have to stay focused from start to finish.

“Tottenham lost a goal then lost the plot mentally, so then all of a sudden all the talent they have in that side just went by the way and they ended up not only losing the game but doing the strangest thing I’ve ever seen a Tottenham side do, and that’s get nine players booked and make some quite ferocious tackles at the same time.”

Chelsea manager Guus Hiddink on his side continuing to give everything: “It’s important for ourselves, for our pride and for our enjoyment of football.

“Second, we want to have the same approach for all the teams who are still fighting to avoid relegation. They deserve the same approach in our seriousness, with no guarantee that we can win, but we will go for the win of course.

“Given the situation it wouldn’t be fair of us to have a serious approach for the Spurs game and not have a serious approach for the other games.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

The important thing for Sunderland is not to lose on Saturday because four points from their next two games would put them level on points with Newcastle – and probably put Sam Allardyce’s side above them on goal difference with one game to play.

Lawro’s prediction: 1-1

Lawro’s full predictions v world darts champion Adrian Lewis.

  • Think you can do better than Lawro? Predict the score for this match and the rest of this round’s Premier League fixtures in our Predictor game.
Jermain Defoe has scored 14 goals this season, his second best tally in a Premier League season - he scored 18 in 2009-10.<!–

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Sunderland have won just two of the last 23 Premier League meetings, losing 19.
  • The Black Cats’ 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge in April 2014 was the first of a four-match winning streak which preserved their Premier League status.
  • Sunderland’s last home league victory over Chelsea came in October 2000, when Claudio Ranieri was the Blues’ manager.

Sunderland

  • Sam Allardyce’s side have only won one of their last nine league games (D6, L2). They have scored more than one goal in just two of those matches.
  • Only Aston Villa have scored fewer (14) home league goals than Sunderland’s 17 this season.
  • Only three of Jermain Defoe’s 14 league goals this season have come at home. His best goal tally in a Premier League season is 18, for Spurs in 2009-10.

Chelsea

  • Chelsea have only lost two of their last 19 league games (W8, D9).
  • Their record of 19 points from eight away games in 2016 is the best in the division.
  • The Blues have kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 league fixtures.
  • A Premier League-high 19 different players have scored for Chelsea this season.

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