May 21, 2017 at 3pm UK at ​Stamford Bridge
Attendance: 41,618
Willian (8'), Hazard (61'), Pedro (77'), Batshuayi (90', 92')
Costa (38')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Manquillo (3')
Jones (48')

Preview: Chelsea vs. Sunderland

Sports Mole previews Chelsea's final-day clash with Sunderland as the Blues prepare to be officially handed the Premier League title at Stamford Bridge.

Champions Chelsea welcome the visit of relegated Sunderland to Stamford Bridge on Sunday as Antonio Conte and his charges prepare to officially lift the Premier League title.

As for David Moyes and his Black Cats, the visitors will be hoping to at least give their travelling supporters something to remember at the end of a tumultuous campaign.


Antonio Conte celebrates Chelsea's Premier League win over Watford on May 15, 2017© SilverHub

Conte's charges head back to Stamford Bridge on Sunday preparing to be officially handed the Premier League winners' trophy, after putting together a remarkable campaign that has seen the Italian coach claim the title during his first season in England. Should Chelsea win on Sunday, the club would break the Premier League record for most wins in a 38-game season which currently stands at 29.

The Blues' onward march towards clinching the remarkable feat started in earnest following some shrewd tactical changes from Conte having seen his side struggle in the early stages of the season. The coach's adoption of a 3-4-3 setup proved to be decisive throughout their tilt towards the title, and the 47-year-old deserves much credit for that switch.

What has been even more impressive, however, has been Conte's ability to muster the best from a starting XI that was pieced together after a testing summer in the transfer window. Over the past 37 games the Chelsea boss has helped to turn the likes of Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso into match-winning full-backs in a system that has quickly been mirrored by a number of other coaches in Europe.

At times the Blues have been worked out by some sides, including both Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United at different points of the season, but Chelsea have always responded in kind by ensuring a return to winning ways just when onlookers might have thought that the wheels could come off.

A victory on Sunday would be a fitting end to a memorable league season for a side that were initially written off as potential winners last summer. There is incentive from elsewhere too, as the Blues prepare for an FA Cup final clash with Arsenal in the coming weeks, and Conte will likely want his side going into that game off the back of a winning send-off at the Bridge.

Recent form: WWWWWL


Sunderland's Jermain Defoe during the Premier League match against Everton on February 25, 2017© SilverHub

The final few games of the season have proved difficult tasks for Sunderland, having been relegated from the league as early as the end of last month.

Much has been debated surrounding the efforts of David Moyes and his charges this campaign, following a testing run that has seen them pick up just six wins from 37 games, alongside six draws and a problematic 25 defeats.

At times the Black Cats have shown glimpses of resistance, especially when Jermain Defoe and Victor Anichebe linked well together earlier in the season, although that proved far from enough to prevent Moyes and his men producing a muted slide towards the Championship.

Aside from lacklustre tactics and poor recruitment, most Sunderland fans will be frustrated at a number of players' efforts, especially when considering that the Black Cats went on to produce a comfortable 2-0 victory away at fellow strugglers Hull City just one week after being sent down at home to Eddie Howe's Bournemouth.

The pressure will be straight back on a club the size of Sunderland's to ensure a return into the league next season, and should Moyes remain as coach he will be hoping to at least leave travelling Cats fans with something to smile about on Sunday following a bleak season under his stewardship.

Recent form: LLWLLD

Team News

Diego Costa is rested during Chelsea's Premier League match against Watford on May 15, 2017© SilverHub

Conte will be aiming to keep his players fit ahead of the forthcoming FA Cup finale with the Gunners, but that may not prevent him from giving most of his title-winning side a run-out in their last home fixture.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek remains the club's only doubt with a back issue, while Thibaut Courtois may stay on the sidelines following recent ankle troubles.

Sunderland are the side with more problematic injury news, given that Anichebe and Jason Denayer are likely to be missing following respective knocks.

Jan Kirchhoff, Duncan Watmore and Paddy McNair are all long-term absences for Moyes, but both George Honeyman and Steven Pienaar could feature at some point.

Chelsea possible starting lineup:
Begovic; Zouma, Terry, Ake, Azpilicueta, Kante, Chalobah, Kenedy, Willian, Hazard, Batshuayi

Sunderland possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Jones, O'Shea, Kone, Manquillo, Ndong, Cattermole, Larsson, Oviedo, Borini, Defoe

Head To Head

Chelsea have enjoyed slightly more of the success against Sunderland in recent years. The Blues have produced three victories over the Black Cats in their last six Premier League contests, leaving Sunderland to pick up two victories and one draw in those games since 2014.

Looking at the wider context of meetings between the two clubs, Chelsea have won a mammoth 20 of their last 24 Premier League matches against Sunderland.

Chelsea could also equal the league's record for most doubles completed over different teams in a single campaign with a win at the weekend.

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We say: Chelsea 2-0 Sunderland

This final-day fixture presents two sides that have produced completely polarising campaigns and it is evidently hard to see beyond the Blues producing a fitting win to crown off their season. Sunderland have nothing but pride left to play for and even some would argue that was lost long before this fixture came into view.

Who will win Sunday's final-day clash between Chelsea and Sunderland?

Jack Rodwell of Sunderland during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Tottenham Hotspur at the Stadium of Light on September 13, 2015 in Sunderland, United Kingdom.
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Rodwell ruled out with ligament injury
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