Sunderland - Chelsea Preview: Crucial clash for the relegation-threatened hosts

The Black Cats will host the Blues at the Stadium of Light this weekend, looking to relieve some of the pressure on them at the wrong end of the table.

Sunderland - Chelsea Preview: Crucial clash for the relegation-threatened hosts
Photo source: VAVEL UK

Sunderland's late draw against Stoke City last weekend means they occupy 18th place in the table ahead of this weekend's games, and they will be looking to fight their way back out of the drop zone when they face Chelsea on Saturday.

The facts and figures

The Black Cats have lost nine of their last 11 home Premier League games and the last time they beat the Blues was back in October 2000.

Nineteen different players having scored for Chelsea in the Premier League this season, meaning Sunderland can't just focus on keeping one man quiet either. They can't leave anything to chance and have to be defensively sound, with the Blues losing just one of their last nine away matches and conceding just four times.

Jermain Defoe will be keen to get on the scoresheet this weekend, having scored just four of his 14 league goals on Wearside this season, but former Chelsea man Fabio Borini will be danger too having scored in two of his three appearances against the club for Sunderland.

Mike Jones will be the man in charge on the pitch on Saturday. He was also in charge in 2009 when Darren Bent scored a famous goal for Sunderland; his shot against Liverpool cannoning in off of a beach ball and being allowed to stand by Jones.

Sunderland have no injury concerns for this fixture, whereas Kurt Zouma and Loic Remy are expected to be absent for Chelsea.

Defoe warming up for the Black Cats. (Photo: Sunderland AFC)
Defoe warming up for the Black Cats. (Photo: Sunderland AFC)

Last Meeting

The last time these two met was a week before Christmas, with Sunderland losing 3-1 at Stamford Bridge at the back end of last year.

The Blues were 3-0 up at half time though, in the 53rd minute, the clean sheet that Chelsea were trying hard to keep was ruined by Borini. Nonetheless, it didn't matter in the grand scheme of things as the London-based outfit secured the three points.

Surrounding teams

This weekend, Sunderland have no choice but to play with their hearts on their sleeves. They must beat the Blues to stay in contention for survival, as Newcastle United will travel to face Aston Villa which is a game they will likely win due to their increase in good form.

Norwich City host Manchester United on Saturday for an early kick off, knowing a possible win could take them above Sunderland and one step closer to being out the relegation zone. However, that will be a much tougher fixture than the Mags'.