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It's the first of two pre-Christmas trips to Wearside with the league fixtures taking the Blues there on this occasion. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton work out what to make of the Mackems…

Jose Mourinho has suggested the next flurry of matches may 'clarify' the positions of the six current title contenders. The way the fixtures have been ordered has already irked the Chelsea manager several times this season.

This week it does seem odd that some teams (notably Arsenal and Manchester United) will now play two games with home advantage in rapid succession while rivals (Chelsea and Man City) play twice on the road.

The arrangement is all the more galling, of course, because of Chelsea's self-inflicted disparity between home and away form. The Blues have dropped just two points at the Bridge but to date on our travels just two of the six games have produced all three points.

On the positive side both away venues over the next four days have been happy hunting grounds in recent years. The Blues have not lost at Stoke City since April 1975 and have netted 15 goals in the last five Stadium of Light trips, an average of three per game.

Chelsea are hoping for a ninth successive Premier League victory against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

Sunday's match was proof that if you hope to prosper in the cut-and-thrust of the Barclays Premier League you've got to pick a Pochettino or two. After conceding so early to Southampton it took an astute tactical switch to crucify the Saints.

This one was classic Special One: Demba Ba on to make two upfront, two-on-two in the centre, with the defence pushing up. The change meant Southampton were pinned in their own half, unusually for them, and outnumbered in danger areas.

Ba crowned an impressively aggressive performance with a flicked goal - his first in the league since March. Two of centre-backs hit the target in the same top-flight match for the first time since Fulham away in April.

Surprisingly Gary Cahill had not scored in the league since Spurs away in October 2012. Was that, as he told MOTD2, a 'duck off his back' or did he break his monkey? Who cares - it was a superbly agile header from the Yorkshireman, almost dolphin-like.

John Terry is now the highest-scoring defender (penalties excluded) since the Premier League began in 1992. He also eased past 1960s-1980s stalwart John Hollins into fourth on the club's list of all-time appearance makers with 593 in all competitions.

Another symbol of Sunday's turnaround was Juan Mata battling the ball away from impressive full-back Luke Shaw shortly before Chelsea's second goal - from his assist.

People are probably still rightly swooning at the Spaniard's half-volleyed defence-splitting pass to Eden Hazard during the Blues' best spell. It was his work off the ball as well as on it that really helped shackle the Saints, though.

Chelsea are top class retrievers this season. The Southampton result was the Blues' second win from a losing position this season. Coupled with two draws salvaged from similar positions, Chelsea have reclaimed eight points this campaign - more than any other team, and testament to the character and resourcefulness of the squad.

Only Man City have scored two-plus goals in a game more often than the Pensioners' nine in 13 matches. Leaders Arsenal and Southampton have the joint tightest defences in the top flight having conceded 10 times. Chelsea have let in 11; the tally of tonight's opponents Sunderland is 24 - almost two a game.

However former Stamford Bridge idol Gus Poyet appears to have stopped the rot since taking over as manager a month ago. Two of their last three games ended in clean sheets and they are off the bottom of the table, albeit five points from safety.

If a Premier League table was produced from when Poyet took over on 8 October to the present, Sunderland would be 12th with seven points from six games. In the next five days the Uruguayan's 100 per cent home record will come under threat from his two former playing clubs, Chelsea and Tottenham.

The attacking midfielder had already established himself as a Chelsea fans' favourite before scoring one of the great opening day goals seen at Stamford Bridge, a dramatic volley from Gianfranco Zola's sublime scoop, in August 1999.


The man who moved Poyet on from the Bridge in summer 2001, Claudio Ranieri, was in charge the last time we failed to win at the Stadium of Light - a 0-0 draw in December 2001.

Barclays Premier League fixtures
Arsenal v Hull 7.45pm
Fulham v Tottenham 8pm
Liverpool v Norwich 7.45pm
Manchester United v Everton 7.45pm
Southampton v Aston Villa 7.45pm
Stoke v Cardiff 7.45pm
Sunderland v Chelsea 7.45pm
Swansea v Newcastle 7.45pm - BT Sport
West Brom v Manchester City 8pm


Barclays Premier League top eight
Top Pld Gd Pts
1 Arsenal 13 +17 31
2 Chelsea 13 +13 27
3 Man City 13 +25 25
4 Liverpool 13 +9 24
5 Everton 13 +8 24
6 Newcastle 13 +1 23
7 Southampton 13 +6 22
8 Man Utd 13 +5 22
20 Sunderland 13 -16 8

Click on the tabs above for more briefing.

- Join Gigi Salmon, Pat Nevin and Michael Duberry on Chelsea TV this evening as they bring you exclusive build-up ahead of the game with interviews, plus live commentary.


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Jose Mourinho is wary of the scheduling this week and has already said several times that Sunderland are a better side than the points they have suggest. Under former Stamford Bridge icon Gustavo Poyet, Sunderland have won their last three games at home in league and cup.

With another testing visit to Mark Hughes's Stoke to come on Saturday before the Steaua game a week today, he is certain to mix the starting 11s considerably. Ashley Cole is training and may play in one of the league games this week.

David Luiz is still not training but could return soon to break up Sunday's goalscoring central defensive partnership of Gary Cahill and John Terry. Fellow Brazilian Oscar will also miss out tonight after injuring his ankle at the weekend.

Centre-forward Samuel Eto'o has returned from the groin problem suffered against Basel and could figure this evening. Although Demba Ba earned a rave review as substitute on Sunday, his strike partner Fernando Torres looked menacing throughout the match against Southampton despite not scoring.

The Spaniard enjoys playing against Sunderland, though, with six in nine games over his career. In fact, the only teams against whom he has netted more are Barcelona and Chelsea.

Ba will hope to extinguish the memory of a crucial late own goal in last season's Tyne/Wear derby at the Stadium of Light. It remains to be seen whether Mourinho elects to use the 4-4-2 system from the start of games or as a variation when the match requires it.

With Oscar absent the Portuguese will almost certainly rotate another of the attacking midfield three who have played the most this season. Willian, Andre Schurrle and Kevin De Bruyne will hope for involvement either tonight or Saturday.

Poyet has been setting his team up in a 4-1-4-1 formation with Swansea's on-loan Ki Sung-Yueng occupying the defensive midfield slot and Steven Fletcher, without a goal in five, ostensibly the lone striker last time out.

Former Blues prodigy Fabio Borini (pictured below), Emanuele Giaccherini and Adam Johnson have contested the wide roles in a system designed to allow more patience and possession than previous Mackem sides.


Much of Sunderland's play stems from South Korean Ki, with full-backs Phil Bardsley and Andrea Dossena pushing up to provide wide passing options. Sebastian Larsson likes a long shot, and he's not alone.

Sunderland attacks rely heavily on crossing but they are themselves vulnerable in the air. Chelsea's first two goals against Southampton derived from dangerous set plays and could be influential again tonight. They also tend to allow the opposition shooting space on the edge of the box.

The Uruguayan has used a lot of different players in various positions in his quest for the right formula. At the weekend he started with anyone who has scored a goal this season (five players) in a vain quest to improve a record of just eight goals from 13 matches to date.

Combative Lee Cattermole has returned from his latest suspension but sat on the bench at Villa Park.

Wes Brown has been the Mackems' star turn in defence since his recent return from extended absence through injuries. Despite concerns about overplaying the 34-year-old, Poyet has said he could feature again tonight after his recent red card was overturned.

Doubt also surrounds Brown's former teammate at Old Trafford, John O'Shea. The Sunderland skipper struggled through the final 10 minutes of Saturday's 0-0 draw with a groin strain. Twenty-six-year-old French defender Valentin Roberge may step in as Carlos Cuellar has a hip problem and Modibo Diakite has also been sidelined recently.

Poyet will check goalkeeper Keiren Westwood's recovery from neck injury before deciding whether to stick with Vito Mannone, who was Arsenal's keeper in our 2-1 Emirates win last season.

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Chelsea have won 16 of our last 17 meetings over the last 12 years. Sunderland's only win was in November 2010 when three goals from Nedum Onuoha, Asamoah Gyan and Danny Welbeck without reply secured the three points at a stunned Stamford Bridge.

The Mackems last beat us in the north-east in October 2000 when they won 1-0 at the Stadium of Light. Kevin Phillips was the lone scorer with a penalty just after the hour. Graeme Le Saux and Kevin Kilbane were both shown the red card a few minutes later.

Jos Mourinho's first visit to the Stadium of Light came in mid-January 2006, during his second title-winning season with Chelsea. The Blues had responded to defeat at Old Trafford in early November by blazing through a nine-match winning streak heading up to Wearside.

Mick McCarthy's newly promoted side were bottom of the table with no league win since September but a 3-0 FA Cup victory the previous weekend, albeit against lowly Northwich Victoria, had given them something to build on at last. 'Bring on Chelsea,' declared McCarthy, only half joking.

In the event it was referee Chris Foy would be in the spotlight at the end of the game.

The Mackems took a surprising early lead when John Terry's clearing header fell kindly for midfielder Liam Lawrence to half-volley past Petr Cech from just inside the area. Mourinho afterwards lamented his side's 'sleeping' start and saw Sunderland's goal as a turning point.

The setback fired Chelsea into action and Hernan Crespo went close to connecting at point-blank range as the visitors dominated possession. Before the half-hour mark the Blues were level through the Argentinean. William Gallas, playing at full-back, tricked his way behind the back line and crossed deep. Joe Cole headed the ball back into a danger area and Crespo headed past Kelvin Davis (pictured below).


Just before the break winger Arjen Robben was booked for a clumsy foul on Lawrence, a sign of frustration. With the cornered Black Cats fighting for their lives, the goal that might win the game was hard to come by, Davis saving well from Frank Lampard and Robben. Lawrence and Julio Arca, though, were regular threats down the flanks in a pulsating match.

There were 20 minutes remaining when Robben again burst past a few players, cutting inside and firing a goal-bound shot that deflected off Dean Whitehead, giving Davis no chance.

The massed Blues fans behind the same goal celebrated wildly and when a delighted Robben ran to the barrier to celebrate with them Foy reached for a second yellow and dismissed the Dutchman.

The Blues held strong for the remainder of the game to record a 10th win on the spin.

Our last 10 Premier League games against Sunderland at Roker Park and the Stadium of Light.
2000/01 - Sunderland won 1-0
2001/02 - Drew 0-0
2002/03 - Chelsea won 2-1
2005/06 - Chelsea won 2-1
2007/08 - Chelsea won 1-0
2008/09 - Chelsea won 3-2
2009/10 - Chelsea won 3-1
2010/11 - Chelsea won 4-2
2011/12 - Chelsea won 2-1
2012/13 - Chelsea won 3-1



Other match last season
7 April 2013 Barclays Premier League
Chelsea………..……2 Sunderland………..….1
Kilgallon og 46            Azpilicueta og 45
                                    Ivanovic 54
                Att: 41,500

Sunderland v Chelsea in all competitions
Games played 116
Chelsea wins 56
Sunderland wins 39
Draws 21

Head to head in the League at Roker Park and the Stadium of Light
Games played 56
Chelsea wins 19
Sunderland wins 28
Draws 9

Biggest league win at Sunderland for each team
Sunderland 4-0 Chelsea - 30/10/1909, 08/02/1913, 08/09/1934
Sunderland 2-4 Chelsea0 - 1/02/2011

Chelsea failed to win at the Stadium of Light: 4,378
Sunderland beat Chelsea at home: 4,799
Arsenal won a trophy: 3,119
Liverpool won the league: 8,614


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Only Arsenal and Southampton with 10 have conceded fewer than Chelsea's 11 goals in 13 league outings.

The Blues have won eight points from a possible 18 away from Stamford Bridge this term.

We have gained five points with late goals against Norwich, Man City and West Brom.

The Blues have an identical points record to the corresponding 13 fixtures last season.

Chelsea have not lost any of the seven games we have opened the scoring (six wins, one draw).

Last six results
Nov 2 Newcastle (a) L 0-2
Nov 6 Schalke (Champions League h) W 3-0
Nov 9 West Brom (h) D 2-2
Nov 23 West Ham (a) W 3-0
Nov 26   Basel (Champions League a) L 0-1
Dec 1 Southampton (h) W 3-1


Premier League scorers (24)
Oscar 5, Hazard 4 (1 pen), Lampard 3 (1 pen), Eto'o 2, Terry 2, Ba 1, Cahill 1, Ivanovic 1, Mikel 1, Schurrle 1, Torres 1, Willian 1, own goal 1

League games since
An away win: 0
An away draw: 3
An away defeat: 1

Chelsea's next three games
Sat 7 Dec Stoke away 3.00pm
Wed 11 Dec Steaua Bucharest (Champions League) home 7.45pm
Sat 14 Dec Crystal Palace home 3.00pm

Petr Cech's next clean sheet will be his 150th in the Premier League.

Michael Essien's next league start will be 150th in the Premier League while Ramires is set to make his 150th in all competitions.


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

Last season
Premier League - 17th
FA Cup - Third round
Capital One Cup - Fourth round

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.

Sunderland have won six points from a possible 18 at the Stadium of Light this term. They lost their first four home games against Fulham, Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United and won their two most recent home league games against Newcastle and Manchester City.

The Black Cats have lost all eight league games in which they conceded the opening goal. They have also not gained any points from losing positions.

Sunderland have conceded 24 goals, together with Fulham the most in the top flight.

Only Crystal Palace have scored fewer goals than the Black Cats' eight.

Manager Gus Poyet
Days in charge: 57
Played 7
Won 3
Drawn 1
Lost 3


Sunderland's last 10 year league history
Pts Pos Division Level
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
2012/13 39 17th Premier League 1

Last six results
Oct 27 Newcastle (h) W 2-1
Nov 2 Hull (a) L 0-1
Nov 6 Southampton (Capital One Cup h) W 2-1
Nov 10 Manchester City (h) W 1-0
Nov 23 Stoke (a) L 0-2
Nov 30 Aston Villa (a) D 0-0

Premier League scorers (8)
Fletcher 2, Gardner 2 (1 pen), Giaccherini 2, Bardsley 1, Borini 1.



League games since
A home win: 0
A home draw: 6
A home defeat: 2

Cabral (Basel, free), Modibo Diakite (Lazio, free), Valentin Roberge (Maritimo, free), David Moberg Karlsson (IFK Gothenburg, £1.5m), Vito Mannone (Arsenal, £1.5m), Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar, £6.5m), El Hadji Ba (Le Havre, £380,000), Emanuele Giaccherini (Juventus, £6.5m), Ondrej Celustka (Trabzonspor, loan), Charis Mavrias (Panathinaikos, undisclosed), Ki Sung-Yueng (Swansea, loan), Andrea Dossena (Napoli, undisclosed), Fabio Borini (Liverpool, loan)

Titus Bramble (released), Matt Kilgallon (Blackburn, free), Ryan Noble (Burnley, free), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool, £9m), Ahmed Elmohamady (Hull, £2m), Danny Graham (Hull, loan), Alfred N'Diaye (Eskisehirspor, loan), James McClean (Wigan, undisclosed), Ben Wilson (Accrington Stanley, undisclosed), Stephane Sessegnon (West Brom, £5.5m), David Vaughan (Nottingham Forest, loan), Billy Knott (Wycombe, loan), Connor Wickham (Sheffield Wednesday, loan)

Referee Phil Dowd takes charge of his second Chelsea match this season. The previous was our 2-0 success at Arsenal in the Capital One Cup.

There are no suspensions. Branislav Ivanovic is one domestic booking away from a suspension having received four yellow cards this season.

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