Preview: Chelsea vs. Sunderland

Craig Gardner, John Terry
© PA Photos
Chelsea welcome Sunderland to Stamford Bridge on Saturday, but face a tough battle against Martin O'Neill's side.

Chelsea face a stern test against a rejuvenated Sunderland side under new manager Martin O'Neill this weekend.

Blues captain John Terry was rumoured to be a doubt for the Premier League clash following a knee injury picked up during FA Cup duty against Portsmouth last weekend. However, the England skipper is confident that he will be fit to face the Black Cats.

While Michael Essien is on the road to recovery, the midfielder is unlikely to be in contention to feature for Andre Villas-Boas this weekend as he targets a return to action at the end of the month.

Daniel Sturridge could be chosen ahead of Florent Malouda in order to partner Fernando Torres up front if he recovers from a slight leg problem.

Martin O'Neill still has a number of injuries to deal with, which rules out Wes Brown and Titus Bramble. However, Sebastian Larsson is expected to start for the North East side following his goal against Peterbrough in the FA Cup last weekend.

Current form:

Chelsea: WDDDLW
Sunderland: WLWDWW

Possible lineups:

Chelsea: Cech; Bosingwa, Terry, Luiz, Cole; Ramires, Lampard, Meireles, Mata; Torres, Sturridge

Sunderland: Mignolet; Bardsley, Kilgallon, O'Shea, Gardner; Richardson, Cattermole, Larsson, Vaughan; Sessegnon, Bendtner

Sports Mole says: 1-1

Michael Essien
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