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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: SUNDERLAND V CHELSEA

TACTICAL BRIEF
On the back of a hefty victory Chelsea seek a first league win since Tottenham away. Clive Walker, who played for Chelsea and Sunderland, tells us what to expect.

Key battles
'One thing is for certain it will be absolutely freezing! I worked out very quickly after signing there that it's not when the wind blows, but how hard!' he says.

'The people who trained at Chelsea's old training ground Harlington talk about wind. They have no idea what it is like to train in north Sunderland by the North Sea. I can see a high gloves count.

'The Chelsea boys will be battling the elements but I think the crowd on this occasion will be a little more subdued than normal because of the run they've been on. We need to keep them that way.

'Sunderland are hovering a point above the relegation zone. Martin O'Neill's initial good start has gone and they've struggled really all season.

'That provides an opportunity for us to act on the positives from Wednesday night's game. Fernando Torres managed the most attempts on goal in his Chelsea career: nine in that game.

'I said this in the TV commentary - when we realised Juve were 1-0 up and it looked like we were going out - that match was about racking up goals and building confidence. Rafael Benitez got his first win and it was a healthy one.

'Eden Hazard was buzzing down the flanks again, using his pace. I like to think he can do exactly the same at Sunderland but he didn't have a great deal of defending to do against the Danes. That's a difference.

'When he does have to drop deep and help out, that is another time he can be at his most effective, running with speed from deep - that's when he looks at his best.

'Benitez likes the shifts that Victor Moses puts in and he seems to like Hazard and Moses to stay wide. Both players like to come inside and we might be seeing the players learning things, adapting.

'Of course we have to cope with the suspension to Mikel. You could argue that's why the manager tried out David Luiz in centre midfield for the last part of the game against Nordsjaelland. That could be an option.

'Frank Lampard is available and I'm sure Rafa would love a player of his experience and quality back in the side, but has indicated Frank will be a sub. He is not ready to start yet.

'If David Luiz stays in the back four we keep it settled, against a Sunderland attack that may well be without their key man Steven Fletcher.

'He suffered an ankle injury and is being given a late fitness test. He would be a big miss as he scores goals and there's only a handful of sides who have scored fewer than Sunderland. Connor Wickham is a powerful forward but doesn't quite carry the same threat on goal.

'They've been playing a 4-4-1-1 system and Stéphane Sessègnon (pictured below) has often looked quick and sharp behind Fletcher.

Sessegnon

'Chelsea can exploit the fact they usually play with a high defensive line that sometimes becomes a wavy line. They have Simon Mignolet in goal who can play brilliantly but is liable to make the odd howler and I wonder how that can make defenders a little wary.

'They will want to close Chelsea's creative players down quickly, much like West Ham did. Lee Cattermole is ruled out and they will miss his presence there.

'We need to be aware of raiding full-back Danny Rose, who was probably their best player in the defeat at Norwich, and the wingers James McClean and Adam Johnson.

'I still have contacts up there of course but have not heard much from them lately, probably because of this bad run. I bet they hated seeing Chelsea bang in six goals this week - it was only a few seasons back we put seven past them at the Bridge.

'Hopefully we will take some Wednesday's spirit into the game and maintain the positivity and concentration over both halves.'

Squad fitness news
Frank Lampard returns to the squad but John Terry (knee) and Daniel Sturridge (hamstring) are still out.

Sunderland have doubts over defender John O'Shea (calf) and striker Steven Fletcher (ankle). Captain Lee Cattermole is out for two months with a knee injury.

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PRE-MATCH BRIEFING: SUNDERLAND V CHELSEA

CHELSEA STATS
Our win against Nordsjaelland was our third in the last 12 matches in all competitions including five defeats.

Our run of seven Premier League games without a victory is the worst run since 1995 when Glenn Hoddle's team were unable to win in 10 matches.

Chelsea have won just four points from the last 21 available.

The Blues are five points better off after 15 games compared with the corresponding games last season.

West Ham was the first occasion this season, out of nine; we have opened the scoring in the Barclays Premier League and went on to lose the game.

Only Stoke, with seven, have kept more clean sheets than Chelsea's six.

Last six results
Nov 17 West Brom (a) L 1-2
Nov 20 Juventus (Champions League a) L 0-3
Nov 25 Manchester City (a) D 0-0
Nov 28 Fulham (h) D 0-0
Dec 1 West Ham (a) L 1-3
Dec 5 FC Nordsjaelland (Champions League h) W 6-1

 

Premier League scorers
Mata 5, Torres 4, Hazard 3 (1 pen), Ivanovic 3, Lampard 3 (2 pens), Cahill 2, Cole 1, Moses 1, Ramires 1, Sturridge 1, Terry 1. Total 25


League games since
An away win: 3
An away draw: 2
An away defeat: 0

Chelsea's next three games
Thu 13 Dec Ulsan Hyundai or Monterrey - Yokohama (FIFA Club World Cup semi-final) 10.30am UK time
Sun 16 Dec FIFA Club World Cup final or 3/4 play-off - Yokohama kick off TBA
Wed 19 Dec Leeds United (Capital One Cup quarter-final) away 7.45pm

 

MILESTONES
Petr Cech's penalty save on Wednesday was his eighth for the Blues and has put him equal top of our all-time list with Reg Matthews and Bill G Robertson.

Frank Lampard is now equal with Bobby Tambling as our top league scorer in top-flight matches, with 129 goals.


SUNDERLAND STATS
Formed
1879

Major trophies
6 League championships, last in 1936
2 FA Cups, last in 1973
1 FA Charity Shield in 1936

Sunderland's last major piece of silverware was the FA Cup in 1973 when Ian Porterfield scored the winner for the Second Division side against Leeds.

The last time Sunderland won a league game against a team which finished with 11 men was against Liverpool in March. Their three wins since then against QPR last season, and Wigan and Fulham this term, were all against teams that finished with 10.

The Black Cats have won six points from a possible 18 at the Stadium of Light this term and scored just five goals. They have beaten Wigan, drawn with Liverpool, Newcastle and QPR and lost to Aston Villa and West Brom.

They have won one of their last 10 Premier League home games.

They have only gained one point when going behind in a match.


Manager Martin O'Neill
Days in charge: 371
Played 47
Won 16
Drawn 16
Lost 15



Sunderland's last 10 year league history
Pts Pos Division Level
2002/03 19 20th Premier League 1
2003/04 79 3rd Championship 2
2004/05 94 1st Championship 2
2005/06 15 20th Premier League 1
2006/07 88 1st Championship 2
2007/08 39 15th Premier League 1
2008/09 36 16th Premier League 1
2009/10 44 13th Premier League 1
2010/11 47 10th Premier League 1
2011/12 45 13th Premier League 1


PMB

 

Last six results
Nov 3 Aston Villa (h) L 0-1
Nov 10 Everton (a) L 1-2
Nov 18 Fulham (a) W 3-1
Nov 24 West Brom (h) L 2-4
Nov 27 QPR (h) D 0-0
Dec 2 Norwich (a) L 1-2

 

2012/13 Premier League scorers
Fletcher 6, Gardner 2, Sessègnon 2, Cuéllar 1, Johnson 1, own goal 1. Total 13.


League games since
A home win: 4
A home draw: 0
A home defeat: 1


SUNDERLAND'S MAJOR SUMMER MOVES
Ins
Steven Fletcher (Wolves, £15m), Adam Johnson (Manchester City, £10m), Louis Saha (Tottenham, free), Carlos Cuéllar (Aston Villa, free), Danny Rose (Tottenham, loan)
Outs Asamoah Gyan (Al-Ain, £6m), Kieran Richardson (Fulham, £2m), Michael Turner (Norwich, £1.5m), Craig Gordon (released), George McCartney (West Ham, free), Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull, loan), David Meyler (Hull, loan)


THE MAN IN THE MIDDLE
Mark Halsey handles a Chelsea match for the first time since our home defeat to Newcastle last May. Since 1999 we have won 22 of the games he has officiated, drawing eight and losing nine.


OTHERWISE ENGAGED
John Mikel Obi is suspended (first of three domestic matches).

Ramires is one yellow card away from a one-match domestic suspension. He is on four bookings.

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