Sunderland welcome 2nd placed Chelsea to the Stadium of Light this evening. The Black Cats had lifted themselves off the bottom of the Premier League table after taking a point from Aston Villa on Saturday but Crystal Palace’s 1-0 victory over West Ham last night means they’re propping the table up once again. They haven’t lost a game at home since Gus Poyet’s arrival though.
Chelsea have an incredible record against Sunderland, they’ve won 16 out of their last 17 Premier League meetings. The last time Sunderland beat them at home was back in 2001 when they won 1-0. If they were to repeat that result tonight it would be only their third win of the season.
Fernando Torres has scored more goals against Sunderland than any other team, racking up six in his last seven. So Poyet will be happy to have John O’Shea back in defence having recovered from the groin injury he picked up at Villa Park.
Chelsea come to Wearside on the back of two wins and with only four points between them and Arsenal they are within touching distance of the league leaders. Despite their lofty league position they have struggled away from home, they’re looking for their first back to back away wins since Jose Mourinho re-joined the club. Only seven of the 24 goals they’ve scored this season have been on the road. Their last trip to the North East ended in a 2-0 defeat at Newcastle.
Poyet will be taking charge of his first competitive match against his former club. The Uruguayan spent three years at Chelsea and they are the club he is most associated with. But he will have to put emotional ties to one side this evening if Sunderland are to pick up some vital points.