Stamford Bridge side travel to the Stadium of Light to take on the off-form Black Cats.
Sunderland fans are growing impatient with Martin O’Neill, whose reign at the Stadium of Light seems to be gradually turning into that of his predecessor Steve Bruce.
Still, he will not be the most unpopular manager in the dugout for this match. His Chelsea counterpart Rafa Benitez awaits his first win since being appointed (interim) manager at Stamford Bridge, though he did preside over the ultimately fruitless 6-1 UEFA Champions League victory in midweek.
Venue Stadium of Light
Last season Sunderland 1 Chelsea 2
Referee Mark Halsey
This season’s matches 7 Y14, R2, 2.29 cards per game
Odds Sunderland 18-5 Chelsea 8-11 Draw 13-5
Subs from Westwood, Kilgallon, Bramble, McClean, Vaughan, Wickham, McFadden, Campbell, Ji
Doubtful Fletcher (ankle), O’Shea (calf)
Injured Cattermole (knee, Feb), Brown (knee, unknown)
Form guide LDLWLL
Disciplinary record Y23 R0
Leading scorer Fletcher 6
Subs from Turnbull, Blackman, Hilário, Ferreira, Ivanovic, Bertrand, Lampard, Oscar, Marin, Piazon
Injured Sturridge (hamstring, 16 Dec), Terry (knee, 19 Dec)
Suspended Mikel (first of three)
Form guide LDDLDD
Disciplinary record Y21 R2
Leading scorer Mata 5
Chelsea have won 14 out of the last 15 meetings between the teams, including the last three.
Sunderland’s only win against Chelsea since October 2000 was the 3-0 triumph at Stamford Bridge in November 2010.
The last time Sunderland got anything out of a home game against Chelsea was back in December 2001 when they earned a point from a 0-0 draw. Their last home win over the Blues came the previous year in October 2000.
Sunderland have won one of their last nine league games.
The Black Cats have won only one league game at the Stadium of Light this season. Only bottom-of-the-table QPR have a worse home record.
Sunderland are yet to win against a side from the top half of the table this season (D4, L3).
Martin O’Neill’s first match as Sunderland manager took place almost a year ago – a 2-1 win over Blackburn on 11 December 2011. O’Neill has now had the equivalent of a season (38 league matches) in charge. His record is W11, D13, L14, Pts 47.
Chelsea have not won any of their last seven league matches (D4, L3). It is their longest run without a victory in 18 years since a 10-match streak from December 1994 to February 1995.
Rafael Benitez is the first Chelsea manager to fail to win any of his first three Premier League matches since Gianluca Vialli in 1998.
The last time he took a team to Sunderland, Benitez’s Liverpool lost 1-0 thanks to Darren Bent’s infamous “beach-ball” goal.
Fernando Torres provided his first Premier League assist in 22 matches last weekend, but he has gone 12 hours and 19 minutes without a Premier League goal.
SOURCE: BBC Sport