Sunderland - Chelsea Preview: Blues continue to search for first league win under Benitez

Having picked up their first victory under their interim boss in the Champions League, the west London club travel to the Stadium of Light looking for a much-needed three points


Bardsley, Kilgallon, Cueller, Rose
Larsson, Gardner, Johnson, McClean


Ivanovic, Cahill, Luiz, Cole
Ramires, Romeu
Mata, Oscar, Hazard

Black Cats striker Steven Fletcher was withdrawn at half-time during their loss to Norwich last time out with an ankle knock, but should be fit to start this game.

John O’Shea’s recovery from a calf problem is going slightly slower than expected, but he may be fit to make the bench for this game.

Otherwise, Sunderland have no new concerns, with Wes Brown (knee) and Lee Cattermole (knee) remaining long-term absentees.

For the Blues, John Obi Mikel begins a three-match suspension for using threatening or abusive words against referee Mark Clattenburg after Chelsea’s game against Manchester United in October.

Stalwarts John Terry (knee) and Frank Lampard (calf) are both on the road to recovery from injuries, but this game will probably come too soon for both of them.

Daniel Sturridge’s recovery from a hamstring problem is ongoing, but he will also miss this game.

  • Sunderland have only won one game at home all season in the Premier League, with that victory coming against Wigan on September 29th.
  • The Black Cats have only had five different goalscorers in the league this term, with Scot Steven Fletcher being the only player that scored for them other than a Demba Ba own goal until November 10th.
  • Sunderland only adopted their nickname of the Black Cats in 1997 after suggestions were sent in by their fans, with the name coming from the so-called “Black Cat” gun battery stationed on the River Wear in 1805.
  • Last season, the Blues won both games between these sides by a margin of just one goal in each match.
  • Fernando Torres (pictured, right) attempted nine shots in Chelsea’s Champions League match against FC Nordsjelland, the most he has ever attempted in a game for the Blues.