Saturday, April 19, 2014

Chelsea vs Sunderland - Competition: Premier League
Match date: 19 April 2014
Kick Off Time: 15:30 GMT
Venue:  Stamford Bridge (London, England) 

Chelsea enter matchweek 34 of the Premier League still holding onto very realistic title ambitions. At 2 points adrift surprise leaders Liverpool, Chelsea need to win their remaining 4 league games (includes a road trip to Anfield next Sunday) to lift the trophy. The Blues flirted with disaster last time out when a stubborn, 10-man Swansea team put the Blues attack to the test. But it was Demba Ba to the rescue once again, netting in the 68th minute and keeping his side in the race. The Senegalese international hasn’t seen much playing time under new manager Jose Mourinho, but his preparedness has shown through after this week’s heroics. In addition to the match-winner against Swansea, he smartly finished late on in their Champions League quarterfinal match to eliminate PSG, and that form could earn him the start here for Saturday. But this team’s bread-and-butter is their defence, which ranks first in the Premiership. Led by captain John Terry, the Blues have conceded just 3 goals in their last 8 league games. Stud winger Eden Hazard will be forced to miss here.
Probable lineups Chelsea: Cech – Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Azpilicueta – Matic, Lampard – Salah, Oscar, Schurrle – Demba Ba.

Sunderland team couldn’t have picked a worse time to travel to the seemingly impregnable Stamford Bridge. In league action, the Blues haven’t lost at home all season—not to mention Jose Mourinho’s ridiculous 77-game unbeaten streak at the Bridge in league play—and the Black Cats sit mired in the basement of the Premiership with just 26 points from 33 games. With fellow relegation-battlers Fulham, Cardiff, and West Brom all picking up valuable points last week, Sunderland are in dire straits and need to start bagging points now. However, the Black Cats did manage to pluck a road draw from Man City on Wednesday, which may end up proving pivotal come May 11th. Connor Wickham was the hero in that contest, striking two goals in 10 minutes to take the late lead and will likely be handed another start here. But in typical fashion of 2014 Sunderland, they missed a massive opportunity for all 3 points and instead conceded in the 88th minute to Samir Nasri. Nonetheless, it was a promising result and one they can build on for the run-in. The visitors do still have Cardiff, West Brom, and Swansea on their remaining schedule, but that means little if Gus Poyet can’t keep his troops focused. Bad news comes in the form of a Phil Bardsley suspension.
Probable lineups Sunderland: Mannone – Bardsley, O’Shea, Brown, Alonso – Johnson, Cattermole, Colback, Giaccherini – Wickham, Borini.

You can watch the match here: Link 1 , Link 2 [Live Scores]

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