Preview: Chelsea vs. Sunderland

Preview: Chelsea vs. Sunderland
© 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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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Manchester CityMan City24212170185265
2Manchester UnitedMan Utd24165349163353
3Chelsea24155445162950
4Liverpool24138354292547
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs24136547222545
6Arsenal24126645311442
7Leicester CityLeicester249783632434
8Burnley249781921-234
9Everton2477102639-1328
10Watford2475123344-1126
11West Ham UnitedWest Ham2468103042-1226
12Bournemouth2467112536-1125
13Crystal Palace2467112237-1525
14Huddersfield TownHuddersfield2466121941-2224
15Newcastle UnitedNewcastle2465132234-1223
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton2458111733-1623
17Stoke CityStoke2465132550-2523
18Southampton24410102435-1122
19West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom24311101931-1220
20Swansea CitySwansea2455141535-2020
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