A week ago, most Chelsea fans would have thought that the Chelsea vs Sunderland Premier League match this weekend will be easy. Sunderland were in a rotten run of form that culminated in the 1-0 defeat against Manchester United. As the saying goes, one week is a long time in football; Sunderland have managed to sack Martin O’Neill and replace him with Paolo Di Canio all in the space of one week.
Sunderland’s rotten run of form saw them win just two Premier League matches in 2013 so far. As a result, they find themselves perilously close to the drop zone. The arrival of a new manager, though, significantly changes the outlook of the team.
The arrival of a new manager produces results – at least for a few matches – more often than not. This could especially be true in the case of Di Canio, who is one of the enigmatic figures in football. He could be considered as the poor man’s José Mourinho. His first press conference as the Sunderland manager went without a lot of fireworks, but one can fully expect it to ignite on Sunday.
Fernando Torres’ two goals against Rubin Kazan may have sparked talk of a return to form, but he is unlikely to start the match after having played just two days ago. Demba Ba, who scored the winner against Manchester United, is likely to start.
After two consecutive matches, Mata is likely to be dropped to the bench. Eden Hazard and Oscar can expect recalls to the starting line-up.
“We are away from home against Chelsea, where obviously I have good memories and scored when I was a footballer.”[/quote]
Sunderland’s major absentees will be Steven Fletcher and Lee Cattermole – probably their two best players, which is good news for Chelsea.
Kick-off: Stamford Bridge, Sunday 7 Apr 2013, 15:00 GMT
Chelsea vs Sunderland 2012/13 Projected line-up: