Sunderland hosts Chelsea on Saturday in a vital game for both the sides in different ways.
What : Sunderland vs Chelsea
Where : Stadium of Light, Sunderland
When : Saturday,8th December 2012
Time : 15:00 GMT
Sunderland is currently on 17th place and has lost 4 of their last 6 games. They are in desperate need of points and their season has been below par so far. On the other hand, Chelsea is yet to win a premier league game under their new interim manager Rafa Benitez. Chelsea themselves are winless in their last 6 premier league games.
Team News :
Their new striker Steven Fletcher had a great start to the league scoring 6 goals so far this season. Sunderland has been heavily dependent on his performance. But reports suggest that Feltcher will be missing the game due to injury. Another player who is in good nick is also a new buy. Former Man City player Adam Johnson has 1 goal and 3 assists to his name. If the Black Cats are to get anything from this game, it will come down to him to fill in the shoes of Fletcher. After a slow start to the season, Seb Larsdon and Stephane Sessegnon also seem to be finding their form.
Probable Starting XI :
Bardsley, Cuellar, Kilgallon, Rose;
Larsson, Gardner, Cattermole, Johnson;
Rafa’s appointment has just not worked out for the Blues so far, but with a thumping 6-1 victory against minnows Nordsjaelland is a start. Though the Blues are out of the Champions League despite that victory, Rafa cannot take the blame because the situation was created under ex manager DI Matteo.
With Torres scoring two goals in that game, it will be interesting to see whether he continues that form in the Premier League.
Once again, Mata and Hazard will have to do the hard work up front in either scoring or helping Torres to score. After a storming start to the season, Hazard has gradually lost his form and needs to get back his form.
With a very fickle defence at the back, one cannot predict how they play from match to match. Maintaining 2 clean sheets in the first 2 games under Rafa, people were under the impression that the rigidity of Chelsea’s back line was back to its full strength. But the Blues had let in 3 goals in the last half an hour in the 3-1 loss to West Ham last weekend. That result again put pressure on Rafa and he most importantly needs to get his starting back four right for this game.
A final good news for the Blues is that their midfield maestro, Frank Lampard is back from a long injury and could make a start.
Probable Starting XI :
Prediction : Sunderland 1-3 Chelsea
After scoring 6 in the midweek, Chelsea will be high on confident and this is where they will finally win their first Premier League game under Rafa.