Sunderland v Chelsea Preview

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Updated: September 9, 2011

Sunderland will welcome a new look Chelsea side to the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon looking for their first win of the season. Steve Bruce’s men lie in 13th spot after a poor start to the season despite bringing in as many as ten new faces in during the summer. The pressure is certainly on Steve Bruce and if Chelsea could have selected any ground in the league to go to then it would be Sunderland’s Stadium of Light. The Blues are seven games unbeaten there and it’s 11 years since their last defeat in Sunderland.

The stats don’t bear well for Bruce and his side and their inability to score goals in the opening games of the season won’t hold them in good stead against a Chelsea side who have started the season well and have plenty of new exciting players. It is just the second time in a Premier League campaign that Sunderland have failed to secure a win in their opening three games, the previous occasion coming in the 2004/05 season although the Black Cats did secure an impressive 3-0 victory at Stamford Bridge last season but they are now without Welbeck and Bent.

New striker Nicklas Bendtner will need to hit the ground running if they have any hope of picking up a much needed three points. Despite the Dane’s arrival, it seems as though Bruce will have to contend with one striker again after Asamoah Gyan injured himself whilst playing for Ghana during the week.

Chelsea haven’t been at their fluent best this year and nervous home wins over Norwich and West Brom will give Sunderland hope. Their defence doesn’t seem to be as solid as usual but Petr Cech should return in goal while David Luiz could return to the heart of the defence to add much needed solidarity. New signings Raul Meireles and Juan Mata are unlikely to start for the Blues but the ever increasing pressure on Torres could allow one of them a shot in the team sooner then expected. Didier Drogba is out with a head injury so Mata could make his first start for the Blues.

John O’Shea is also expected to miss out for the Black Cats but he has said that last year’s win at Chelsea has given his new club a lot of confidence ahead of the game.
“It was a fantastic display and the confidence and ability they showed against such a strong team means they should hold no fears coming into the game this weekend.”

Match Odds: Sunderland 7/2, Chelsea 9/5, Draw 15/2

It could be a very tight affair with both sides struggling to hit the right notes going forward so far, one goal might separate the sides but Chelsea’s quality should see them through. My prediction is 2-1 Chelsea.

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